The Dark Side…or Not Layer Cake Quilt

I love half square triangles!  They are neither half squares, nor triangles (what’s up with that?) yet make an instant and dramatic impact on any quilting project.  Additionally, they are simple to make.  If you have a fabric line with roughly the same number of light fabrics as dark, it is a match made in Heaven.  HSTs were my first thought when I saw  Cinnamon Spice.

Can you say, “Wow!”  Big blocks and simple construction give each of these prints a place to shine.
This quilt is made from 68 HSTs, and 12 9.5″ squares.  It is gorgeous and simple.

Gather up your supplies and fall in love with my favorite block!

2 Layer Cakes*
1/3 yd dark fabric*
1/3 yd light fabric*
1/2 yd for binding
5 1/4 yds for backing

*You can substitute 1 Cinnamon & Spice fat quarter bundle plus 2 dark 1/3 yard cuts, and 2 light 1/3 yard cuts for the Layer Cakes and 1/4 yard cuts.  If you like a scrappy binding, this choice yields enough scraps to do it.

NOTE:  Fat quarter bundles often vary in the number of pieces.  You need a total of 80, 10″ squares to complete the project.  You can get 2 from each fat quarter.  A 1/3 yard cut of fabric will yield 4 10″ squares.   This quilt could be made with 40 fat quarters, or 20 cuts of 1/3 yard.

When using layer cakes you will have enough pieces – Moda is pretty good at keeping the quantity consistent.  Each cake has 42 pieces.  The extra yardage, 1/3 yd of light and 1/3 yd of dark,  listed above is to supplement the number of light and dark blocks if needed.

Fat Quarter method:  Follow these instructions if you are using a fat quarter bundle.  If not jump to the section labeled “Layer Cake Method”

  1. Iron each fat quarter
  2. Cut, according to diagram above,
    1. 2, 10″ squares from each fat quarter
    2. 3, 2.5″ x 22″ strips if you are interested in a scrappy binding.
  3. Cut 4, 10″ squares from each 1/3 yard cut of fabric
  4. You should now have a total of
    1.  45, 10″ squares (There are a couple extra…perhaps for a label?) and
    2. 105, 2.5″ x 22″ strips (but only if you chose to cut these)
  5. Now you have two layer cakes!
  6. Proceed with layer cake method.

Layer Cake method:

  1. Open up your layer cakes and separate the light squares from the dark ones.  (Take some time to enjoy each of the prints – they are beautiful!)
  2. Remove 4 dark squares and 8 light squares from the piles.  Trim these to 9 1/2″ square and set them aside.
  3. Draw a single line diagonally, from corner to corner, across the wrong side of 34 light squares.
  4. Pair each of the 34 light squares with a dark square.
  5. Sew a smidgen less than 1/4″ from each side of the drawn lines.  I use a 1/4″ foot on my sewing machine.  When I line up the foot and the diagonal line, the line is just to the inside of the flange.  Sewing 1/4″ from the line will work as well.  (Truthfully, I don’t know why I don’t.  Maybe I don’t completely trust that the resulting squares will be big enough.  Must be Vader calling to me.)
  6. Cut on line.
  7. Open each block and iron seams toward the dark side.  (While doing this you can chant, “Come to the Dark Side Luke,” but be careful no one is listening.  They might take away your sharp toys.)
  8. Trim blocks to 9 1/2″ square.  You should now have 68 HSTs.

Now it gets a little more tricky.  Keep your wits about you and don’t listen to Vader.  The pieces have to be arranged just right to make the pattern show up.

To make this easier I’ve split the task into four sections.  Each section is made from 20 blocks arranged in a grid of  4 x 5.   If you can get 20 blocks set right 4 times in a row then you’ve got this quilt conquered.  (Much like Vader and Luke.)

You need to make two sections which rise from the left…

The stripes in this section rise from the left.

and two sections that fall to the right.

The stripes in this section fall to the right.

This is a good place to break out your design wall/floor/bed/curtain.  Find a surface that you can display the blocks on.  (The pictures above were taken of my blocks on a design curtain!  My dear husband made it from heavy flannel, a length of  PVC pipe and some chain link.  It hangs at the end of a hall in front of and unsightly boy zone.)  I found it helpful to lay out one left and one right section at the same time.  Distribute the prints , solids, and colors as desired.  Keep in mind that this is going to be a scrappy, random looking quilt.

Sew 5 rows of 4  – one at a time so that you can keep track of what you are doing.

Sew rows together along the long edge to make a quadrant.

Sew quadrants together so that the dark stripes turn 90 degrees at their meeting.  I sewed the 5 block sides together first (I don’t like to sew really long seams.)  Then sew the resulting 8 block sides together to finish your top.

Layer and quilt as desired.

One 72 X 90 Quilt – perfectly sized for a twin bed and ample for snuggling up on the couch while watching a movie.  If you go the layer cake route it is a quick make as well.

Pop some corn and put  Star Wars in the DVD player while you stitch down the binding and “May the force be with you!”

(Don’t forget to take a picture of your finished quilt and post it in the new Tops to Treasures Flickr group.)

Cindy Sharp