Harlequin Diamonds — Some Assembly Required

We were out of town for several days, but now I’m back at it and having fun with my diamonds.

I strip pieced the block sections, creating 3-patches for the 15 9-patch blocks and 2-patches for the 8 4-patch blocks. Then I assembled the blocks from those. The colors and fabrics are distributed pretty randomly. I didn’t move many after creating the blocks and laying them out on the floor. The only balancing of color or saturation required was for the brilliant oranges and hot pinks. Even they are pretty random.

I laid it all out except the setting triangles, which I hadn’t cut yet. The fabric needed to be washed first. And once it was washed, all nine yards and more, I took it out of the washer and asked Jim to help me unfurl it. As we opened it up, we saw that there were holes. In the fabric. This is another story, another post. But suffice it to say, I didn’t use that fabric for the setting triangles and had to change plans.

The diamonds finish at 30″ long and about 17.25″ wide, so the setting triangles are unusually sized. I had to draw the arrangement on a piece of paper to make sure I could get them all from the fabric I had. Long and skinny or short and wide, I cut the side triangles similarly to how hourglass blocks are cut, with two crossing diagonal cuts on long rectangles. I always cut setting triangles too large, and trim after assembling the top.

Even with all the bias edges, assembly has actually gone pretty easily. I have each of the strips of blocks made, and some strips attached now. It is now in 4 big chunks. Some assembly still required.

A tip for assembly is to use lots of pins. I use very thin pins, so my fabric isn’t distorted even when pinning every inch or so. Another tip is to leave the “dog ears” after sewing the blocks together in a strip. Don’t trim them off. The dog ears on one strip should match up to the dog ears on the adjacent strip, making it easier to match those seams.

Tomorrow I should finish assembly and trim the edges.

Here is it laid out on the floor. It is too big to fit in the photo.




18 thoughts on “Harlequin Diamonds — Some Assembly Required

  1. norma

    Love all the colours.
    I leave the dog ears when I’m paper piecing too. It helps to get the points together accurately.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, they do. I am *neat* in my sewing. I press neatly, usually open; I trim threads and pick threads and lint; I trim corners or things sticking out. I didn’t realize how helpful they would be. Now it feels like a magic trick! 😀

  2. snarkyquilter

    I just read Judy Martin’s newsletter where she talked about cutting on the lengthwise fabric grain for diamonds especially. Is that the way you cut them? This will be a real barnburner quilt when done that will rivet every eye. Watch out all those pins don’t prick you as you sew.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I always try to cut lengthwise for piecing, but of course sometimes the fabric sizes don’t work out well for that. It’s an especially good idea for these, so you do have 2 sides of the 4 that are really stable. As to the pins, I get poked so much I rarely react anymore. And when I do it is momentary and then forgotten. 🙂 Thanks much.

  3. colorpencil2014

    It must be so difficult to get all these daimond said neatly in place!! What a glorious quilt this is, a feats of shape and color.I can see it in a rustic cabin and lightening up the whole room! Thnaks for sharing, Johanna

  4. KerryCan

    I just can’t get past how hard this looks–I’ve never pieced diamonds, I guess, and it looks like it would be hell! But the product is so visually exciting!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I’ve been surprised at how easy it is, not how hard. The only “trick” is finding your quarter inch seam. Rather than lining things up so corners meet, you line them up so you have the overlapping point showing 1/4″. I’ll have to take some pix and illustrate better.


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