Our tutorial continues with the traditional piecing
Our Harmony Square quilt block tutorial continues with traditionally pieced corner units and sides.
If you missed printing anything, use these links:
Now back to our block!
Corners - Traditional Method
We use the same Patch numbers as for the paper pieced version of this Harmony Square unit.
To fine-tune your seam allowance, take a Sewing Test. It's simple to do, takes just a couple minutes and helps you avoid ripping.
After adding each patch, press flat to set the seam and then open with the seam allowance toward the one you just added, i.e. sew #1 to #2, pressing toward #2, etc.
It's easy to get the #4s, #5s, and #6s confused—I was a clueless numpty and mixed them up making the sample—so I strongly recommend that you lay out the patches for each corner like this.
With RST, align a short side of a #2 to #1.
Stitch from the flat end of the patches and not the point. You get a much better seam that way.
SA are pressed to #2.
#2 extends just a wee bit past the bottom end of #1. That's how it should look.
With RST, add the short side of a #3 to the adjacent side of #1.
Take a second and check that when you open the patches, the dark #1 is the corner and the #2, #3 forms a long straight line.
Sew from the flat edges again starting at the blue arrow.
At your ironing board (this is on the absolute best pressing mat called The Magic Pressing Mat), the long edges of #2 and #3 should form a long straight line after pressing. :)
If they don't make a straight line, check your 1/4" seam allowance for wiggles.
If your seam allowance is spot-on, then when you align #4 to this #1/#2/#3 unit, they will be exactly the same size.
Here's how they line up from the #1/#2/#3 side.
This is the side we'll stitch from. That's because we can see where the seams all intersect at the corner of #1 (dark pink).
This time we have no choice BUT to sew starting at a point.
To keep your sewing machine from chewing it up, start your stitching on a scrap of fabric. (You can see a bit of orange and white fabric behind my presser foot...that's my scrap. A different one this time. I keep several at my machine.)
Just past the halfway point in our piecing.
It's a good idea to check your accuracy at this point. Use the chart below to find the size this #1/#2/#3/#4 unit should measure from edge-to-edge.
Dimensions after Joining #1-#4
|5"||1-1/2" x 1-1/2"|
|7-1/2"||2" x 2"|
|10"||2-1/2" x 2-1/2"|
|12-1/2"||3" x 3"|
Make any necessary adjustments now. Trim away the dog ears with a scissor.
Remember our original fabric layout? Here the trimmed #1/#2/#3/#4 is put back in position.
Add the #5 and #6 patches to the sewn unit, just as you added the #2 and #3—short side of each to the #4.
Here it is after adding #5 which is a bit longer than #4—just like the #2 was. It's normal. Don't worry.
After sewing #6 but before removing my friends, "The Pins".
You can see how the stitching cuts right through the middle of the valley formed by the gray #5 and #6 at the bottom edges.
At the iron, the #5 and #6 form a straight line just like our #2, #3 triangles did earlier.
And just like #4, #7 should line up exactly with the stitched patches.
Here from the #7 side...
Here on the other side, the one to stitch on.
Pin as needed to hold the pieces together as you stitch.
Check to see that your unit is the correct dimension. Line up the diagonal line on your ruler with the center diagonal seam—just like you would for half square triangles.
Make any adjustments and trim away the dog ears.
My sample's corner needed just a slight haircut.
Here's a quick look at the backside. You can see how all the SAs are pressed towards the patch last added.
Repeat these steps for a total of four units.
Now you're ready to make the sides for our Harmony Square.
Simple strip piecing is used to construct these units—quickly and accurately.
With RST, sew #8 to #9 along the long edge.
Press the SA towards #8.
With RST sew the #10 to the opposite side of #9.
SA are pressed away from #10.
Use the chart below to check that your #8/#9/#10 strip set is the correct width. It should match the stitched corner's width.
|Stripset Width after stitching||SubCut Width|
|5"||2 1/2"||1 1/2"|
|7 1/2"||3 1/2"||2"|
|10"||4 1/2"||2 1/2"|
|12 1/2"||5 1/2"||3"|
Make any necessary adjustments.
At your cutting mat, straighten the short edge of the strip set with your rotary cutter and ruler.
Referring to the chart, find the SubCut Width that corresponds with your Finished Block Size. For our 10" sample block the this is 2-1/2" .
Cut four patches.
Lay out your sewn patches and cut center square to form the Harmony Square patchwork design.
The largest HSTs are in the outside corners. The largest patch in the sides is also on the outside edge.
With RST, sew the patches in each row together. If you've followed the highlighted pressing instructions, the seams all nest. Use pins to hold things in place if you need them—I sure do! :D
Press these seams toward the #8/#9/#10 sides in each row.
Stitch the rows together, again pinning as needed to hold the units in position.
This is the finished Harmony Square quilt block still hot from a final pressing.
Here is our Harmony Square from the back. You can see how the SAs are all pressed away from the first #1 square regardless of which technique you used.
Nice and neat, isn't it!
These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas.
Can you tell?
It's in color.
It's got a ton of blocks.
What's not to love?
Next on my 'must-have' list is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
Unlike the Maggie Malone book, the blocks in this volume are hand-drawn and in black and white—no color—personally, I prefer colored drawings to work with.
This book is no longer in print.
If you can come by a copy expect it to be wickedly expensive. Once in awhile you can find it here on Amazon.com.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020.
However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.
BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.
It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.
In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.
This is terrific news.
Finally there's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.
Lots of detail and in color, it is a beautiful volume. That said, I check it out of my local library on a regular basis instead of purchasing it—can you see the library sticker on it's spine. Yep, it's from the Plainfield Public Library.
Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.
And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!
Click any image or link for more info