The Thrifty Quilter System

Controlling the Chaos

“I can’t do it!”

I’ve heard it before, and not just from my quilting buddy, Vina.

In fact, I’ve said it myself, right here on this very blog.  While many…maybe most…quilters can sew two random pieces of fabric together, and come up with a perfectly wonderful scrap quilt,  many of us struggle to overcome an inner drive to make it somehow match.

In this case, Vina and I were making scrap blocks for a raffle quilt our guild is making for the local senior citizen’s center where we hold our meetings. The quilt we are making is on the cover of the Oct/Nov 2017 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. For the record, I did manage to make my blocks really random, as called for in the pattern.

My poor friend loved the quilt, but couldn’t bring herself to slap scraps together, so we came up with a compromise block. I like to keep stacks of 2.5″ squares by my machine and sew them into 4-patches as “leaders and enders,” so I always have a batch of 4.5″ 4-patches waiting to grow into a quilt.

IMG_2165To make a 4 by 4-Patch block, you will need:

Eight pairs of medium 2.5″ print squares

Four 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles of a dark tone-on-tone print,

Twenty 2.5″ squares of a light print for the background. (I used two background prints, so I cut ten squares from each.)


IMG_2166First, sew the medium print squares into 4-Patches and sew the 4-Patches into a Double 4-Patch.






Use the light squares and dark rectangles to IMG_2168make four flying geese, using the Stitch-and-Flip method.

Notice that because I was using two different light prints, two of my geese have print A on the right and print B on the left, and the other two have print B on the right and print A on the left.



IMG_2170Sew a light square to both sides of two of the geese. Sew these to the sides of your double 4-patch.

Sew pairs of light squares to the other two geese. Sew these to the top and bottom of the double 4-patch.

Notice that, because I was using two light prints, I made sure that they alternated clear around the block.


So now we’ve turned a devil-may-care scrap block into one that is still scrappy, but a little more reserved about it.

I spotted this same block on Pinterest the other day, and that quiltmaker had taken the control one step farther.  In each block in the quilt, medium and dark pieces were all one color…yellow in one block, orange in another. Red, blue, green, each assigned to their own blocks.

Ready to play, Thrifty Quilters? Grab your scraps and see what variation(s) you can come up with. Send your photos to: .




Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Wild Geese Christmas

It’s been my pleasure this month to contribute two 6″ quilt block patterns to the Moda Bake Shop’s “Countdown to Christmas” – Wrapped Up on December 17th, and today’s Christmas Eve post, Christmas Geese.

This is one of those blocks that looks a lot more complicated than it is, and the 12″ (finished size) version is totally TQable, which means it can be made entirely with self-made precut scraps from my Thrifty Quilter scrap system.

WGC PiecesFor each Wild Goose Chase block, you will need:

16  2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles. I used four sets of four matching rectangles.

32  2.5″ x 2.5″ white squares

1  4.5″ x 4.5″ print square. This may be a fussy-cut


WGC Step 1Step 1 is to make sixteen Flying Geese units, using the white squares and print rectangles. I used the same Stitch-n-Flip method as in the Moda Bake Shop post.



 FG PairsStep 2 is to sew the Flying Geese units together. I sewed my green geese into pairs, and sewed the red geese into strips of four.



RowsStep 3 is to sew three rows.






Wild Goose ChaseStep 4 is to sew the three rows together to complete your Wild Goose Chase block.

So you now have a 6″ version of this block, and a 12″ version.

If you want an even quicker quilt, use 3.5″ squares of white and 3.5″ x 6.5″ print rectangles to make your Flying Geese, and a 6.5″ center square, and you’ll have 18″ finished blocks!


So far, I have contributed two quilt “recipes” to the Moda Bake Shop: Big Sky and Stargazer . There are two more coming in January. Be watching for Snowbirds on January 4th, and Anne’s Windy Day Quilt, scheduled for January 20th.

Merry Christmas from Sweetgrass Creative Designs!

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, Moda Bake Shop, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

It’s only mid-November and we’ve already had our first bout of sub-zero nights here in northern Montana. There will be more of those nights to come over the next few months, and many colder still. Winter weather puts me in a mood to bake cookies and play with plaid scraps. No cookies today, but I did whip up a Bear Paw quilt block I call “Bear Footin’.”

For each 12″ (finished) block, you will need: Pieces

  • Two 4.5″ squares each of two novelty prints.
  • Four 3″ or 3.5″ squares of a light-medium coordinate
  • Four 3″ or 3.5″ squares of a dark-medium coordinate
  • Eight 3″ or 3.5″ squares of a light tone-on-tone
  • Four 2.5″ squares of light tone-on-tone


Sewn HSTsStep 1: Cut all of the 3.5″ squares in half diagonally, and sew the medium triangles to the light triangles. you will have a total of eight half-square triangles (HSTs) in light and light-medium, and eight in light and dark-medium.


Trim 1Step 2a: Trim the HSTs to 2.5″ squares. Use a square ruler. Lay the diagonal line on the ruler on the diagonal seam. Notice the HST extends beyond the 2.5″ lines on the ruler. Trim the right and top edges.




Trim 2Step 2b: Rotate the HST and lay the ruler on the diagonal line again. This time the edges you just cut should line up with the 2.5″ lines on the ruler. Trim the right and top edges again.




HST PairsStep 3: Sew the HSTs into pairs. Make two pairs of each color that “point” to the left, and two pairs of each color that “point” right.




PawsStep 4: Sew a 2.5″ light square to the right end of each of the “point left” HST pairs. Sew the “point right” HST pairs to the right side of the 4.5″ novelty print squares. Sew the HST strips to the novelty print squares to make four “paws”.


You have three options for setting these Bear Paw units into a 12″ block:

Option 1

Option 1

Option 2

Option 2

Option 3

Option 3

Bear Footin

“Bear Footin'” – 2017 by Anne Wiens

I made these blocks 12″ (12.5″ as shown). If I start with 6.5″ novelty prints, 4.5″ coordinates, and 4.5″ and 3.5″ squares for the background pieces, I would have 18″ blocks, and it would only take a dozen of those larger blocks to make a toasty warm 54″ x 72″ afghan-size quilt. That, a cup of hot chocolate (perhaps with a bit of Irish Cream), a good book and a snugly cat would be a perfect solution to a chilly evening, don’t you think?

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, 6" TQ Blocks, HST's, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Born to Be (Not Quite) Wild

A few weeks ago, my friend Diane Harris (a.k.a. “The Stash Bandit“) posted a blog, then asked her Facebook followers, “Are you brave enough to combine fabrics with wild abandon?” This was the quilt she showed as an example:

“Wild Abandon” by Diane Harris – Photo used by permission

“Pffft” sez I, “I can do that!” Turns out it isn’t as easy to be random as you’d think it would be. Don’t get me wrong…I make scrap quilts all the time, and I have no problem combining fabrics within the quilt that just “don’t go together.” However, the fabrics almost always coordinate with in the individual blocks.

So, I can do “wild.” It’s the “abandon” I will have to work on.

While I was playing, I came up with a block to show you. It finishes 10″ square.

I’m calling it “Happy Scraps”

For each 10″ (finished) block you will need four 4.5″ squares. Mine match, but yours do not have to. You will need a total of seventeen 2.5″ squares. I have eight lavender, four deep red, four splattered, and one orange. If you want to throw caution to the wind, just make sure you have one medium value square, four dark squares, and the remaining fourteen squares should be light.




Use the stitch-n-flip method to put light triangles on two opposite corners of each of the 4.5″ squares. Set these squares aside.

Sew four light 2.5″ squares to four dark 2.5″ squares.

Before we sew these units together, let’s consider our options:

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4


“Happy Scraps” by Anne Wiens – 2017

In the end, I chose Option 2, though I’m pretty fond of Options 1 and 4.

This is why I am never bored, for every quilt I make, I come up with several more ideas. Fortunately, my scrap bin overfloweth!

Categories: 10" TQ Blocks, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns | 3 Comments

Twinkle, Twinkle, Scrappy Star….

My, how colorful you are!

      Recently I was cutting some fabric leftovers and discovered I was winding up with a lot of 4.5″ and 2.5″ squares. a few months ago, I finished a quilt with Sawtooth Star blocks made with fabrics from each of the projects I’ve made over the past couple of years.


“My Colorful Life” 2016 by Anne Wiens

      After I finish a project, I cut up any leftover strips of fabric less than a quarter-yard into Thrifty Quilter pieces for use later in scrap quilts. I decided to go ahead and make up an 8″ Sawtooth Star or two, and set them aside, adding to the stack until I had enough for a quilt. All the rest of the pieces went into my TQ bins. I was surprised at how quickly I collected the 35 blocks I needed for this 44″ x 60″ quilt!

     I like this little quilt. It’s really a material diary of my projects for 2015 and 2016!

     I decided to do another star quilt “diary” for this year’s projects, which will include class samples, demo samples, a challenge project, and charity quilts.

     Looking at my growing collection of 2.5″ squares and 4.5″ squares, I decided on a variation of the classic “Ohio Star” block. I’m thinking this quilt will become a class for the Tucker Trimmer® rotary cutting tool, because I’ll be making a lot of half-square triangles (HSTs) and quarter-square triangles (QSTs).

For each block you will need:IMG_1356

Two 4.5″ sq for background (White-not shown)

Two 4.5″ sq for star points (Dk Teal)

Three 4.5″ sq for star background (Lt Teal)

One  4.5″ sq for accent diamond (Lt Orange)

One 3.5″ sq for star center (Red)

Four 2.5″ sq for optional corner accent (Dk Orange)

Let’s begin construction by making the HST. For this, you need the two 4.5″ background (white) squares, and two of the 4.5″ star background (light teal) squares. Cut each square diagonally and sew into two HSTs.


Step 1. Lay the Tucker Trimmer® on the HST, aligning the diagonal line with the seam line. Be sure the HST extends beyond the 3.5″ vertical and horizontal dashed lines on the tool.


Step 2. Trim the right and top edges.


Step 3. Rotate the HST, line the diagonal line up on the seam again. This time the cut edges snug right up to the 3.5″ vertical and horizontal dashed lines. Trim the right and top edges.

You now have four perfect 3.5″ HSTs. To be honest, you can do this with any small ruler that has a diagonal line in the corner.

IMG_1360The Tucker Trimmer® earns its keep when we make QSTs, and we’ll do that now. Cut the remaining 4.5″ star background (light teal) square, the 4.5″ accent diamond (light orange) square, and two star point (dark teal) squares diagonally twice, and sew into four QSTs as shown.

When you look at the tucker trimmer, you’ll notice that in addition to the solid diagonal line from corner to corner, there are dashed diagonal lines running in the opposite direction.


When making QSTs, you line the solid diagonal line with one diagonal seam, and the appropriate (3.5″ in our case) dashed diagonal line with the other seam. Trim two sides, rotate and trim the other two sides, as you did before.


Ohio Star – Variation 1

Lay out your center square, star point units and corner units as shown at right. This would be one variation of this block, and you may decide this is the look you want.

I’m going to set my blocks side-by-side, which will leave large white diamonds in the corners where the blocks come together. If I were going to send this quilt to a certain longarm artist I know, I’d leave that as a canvas for her to show off her mad skills. Instead, I’m going to add accent triangles to those white corners.

We’ll use the stitch-and-flip method for these accent triangles.


Step 1. Draw a diagonal line on the back of the 2.5″ accent (dark orange) squares. Align the square with the white corner on the HST, and sew on the drawn line.


Step 2. Trim 1/4″ outside the seam line.


Step 3. Press the corner into place.

Now you can lay out the center square, corner units and star point units. Sew into rows and sew the rows together to complete your Ohio Star block.


Ohio Star Variation 2 – 2016 by Anne Wiens

My plan is to make and collect these Ohio Star blocks until I have about twenty. I have a pretty interesting border treatment in mind that would be kind of traditional, but kind of modern. In my mind, it’s a great quilt. Time will tell if it translates to fabric!


Categories: 9" TQ Blocks, Quilts, Scrap Quilts, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, Tucket Trimmer (Studio 180 Designs) | 4 Comments

Starflowers for the 4th of July

I spent part of my holiday weekend designing and making these 12″ blocks that I’m calling “Starflowers”.

Here is the recipe:


Pieces for 1 Starflower block

For each block you will need:

  • Two 4.5″ brown squares
  • Four 3.5″ x 6.5″ brown rectangles
  • Two 4.5″ green squares
  • Four 3.5″ gray squares
  • Four 3.5″ x 6.5″ blue rectangles
  • Four 2.5″ yellow squares

Note – The “blue” rectangles are for the flower petals, so they can be any color you’d like. I used brown for my background color because the quilt i”m planning for these blocks will be a flower bed. You can use white or another color for your background. Likewise, I chose gray for the corners, to make stepping stones in my flower bed. Feel free to use another color here, too.


Step 1

Step 1 – Cut the brown and green squares in half diagonally and sew into four half-square triangles (HSTs). Trim them to 3.5″.  (If needed, you can read how to do this HERE.) Then draw a diagonal line on the back of each HST from the brown corner to the green corner.

Step 2a                                                Step 2b

Step 2 – Align a HST to the left end of a 3.5″ x 6.5″ blue rectangle (Photo 2a). Notice that the green is to the upper right and the brown is to the lower left. Repeat with the other HSTs and blue rectangles.

Sew on the drawn line (Photo 2b). If you start in the center of the rectangle, you won’t have an issue with your machine trying to “eat” that brown corner.

Step 3                                                    Option

Step 3 – Trim 1/4″ outside the seam and press open.

Option – If you don’t want to discard those cutaway triangles, go ahead and draw a second seam line 1/2″ outside the first. Sew on this line, then cut between the seam lines. We can make use of those “waste triangles” later, so set them aside.

Step 4a                                             Step 4b

Step 4 – Draw a diagonal line on the 2.5″ yellow squares and align with the upper right corner of the blue pieces. Sew on the line, trim away 1/4″ from the seam and press open.

Your “petal” units are finished, so set them aside.


Step 5

Step 5 – Draw a diagonal line on the back of each gray square, align with the right end of a brown rectangle, with the line running from the upper left to lower right corner as shown. Sew on the line and trim 1/4″ from the seam and press open. Again,  you may want to sew a second seam and save the resulting cutaway HSTs for later use.


Step 6

Step 6 – Almost done. Sew the petal and background units into quarter units as shown. Make four quarter units.


“Starflower” – by Anne Wiens (2016)

Lay the four quarter units out as shown, so the yellow corners meet in the middle, as sew together to complete your Starflower block.

I am working on a very simple setting idea for these blocks. It should take 12 blocks to make a crib-size quilt, 20 for a lap-size. A twin size quilt generally takes 35 12″ blocks, and a full/queen would need 49. I hope to have that for you in the next few weeks.

Enjoy your 4th of July celebrations!

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, HST's, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Now I KNOW It’s Spring…

My sinuses tell me that the weather around here has finally caught up with the calendar. It is indeed spring, and of course, in the end, the beauty of it outweighs a stuffy head and sore throat. So enough with feeling sorry for myself.

Let’s “plant” some Morning Glory blocks!

This block uses the same “split rectangle” units we used in last week’s Crocus block. However, this time we’re going to use the Split Recs® tool from Studio 180 Design to make the units. Let’s get started.

TQ pieces for the Morning Glory block

TQ pieces for the Morning Glory block

For one Morning Glory block you will need:

Print for flower petals (orange): two 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangles

Print for flower center: one 2.5″ square

Green for leaves: two 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangles and one 3.5″ square

Background (off-white): Two 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangles, one 3.5″ square and five 2.5″ squares.

Step 1a

Step 1a

Step 1a- We need to cut the half-rectangle triangles we need for the petal and leaf units. Layer the two background rectangles wrong-sides-together. Use the markings for a 2″ x 4″ finished unit to cut a triangle from one end of the rectangles.

Step 1b

Step 1b

Rotate what’s left of the rectangles and cut another pair of triangles from the  opposite corner. Because you had your rectangles layered wrong-sides together, you now have two pairs of mirror-image triangles.

Step 2- Repeat steps 1a and 1b with the green rectangles. You will only need one pair of mirror-image triangles for this block. Set the other pair aside for another block.

Step 3a

Step 3a

Step 3a- Sew a background triangle to a green triangle. They are a little larger than they need to be, so we use the other end of the Split Recs® tool to trim them down.

Lay the tool on the unit so that the line that reads 2″ x 4″ finished unit lines up with the diagonal seam. trim the right and top edges.

Step 3b

Step 3b

Rotate the unit, re-align the diagonal line and trim the right and top edges. Your unit is now a perfect 2.5″ x 4.5″.

Step 3c

Step 3c

The diagonal seam on the other unit will slant in the opposite direction.

Step 4a

Step 4a

Step 4- Layer the two print rectangles wrong-sides together and cut a pair of triangles from one end. Cut a 2.5″ square from the other end of the rectangles. You will only need one of these 2.5″ squares for this block. You can use the other for the flower center in another block, or toss it in your bin of 2.5″ TQ squares.

Use the print triangles and the two remaining background triangles to make a pair of split rectangle units, as in step 3.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 5- It’s time to make the Morning Glory “blossom”. Sew the 2.5″ print square and three of the 2.5″ background squares into a 4-patch, then lay out with the split rectangles and print square as shown, and sew the blossom unit together.

Step 6- Oops. I forgot to photograph this one. Use the 3.5″ green and background squares to make two 2.5″ half-square triangles (HSTs). If you don’t know how to do this, click HERE for another blog post that shows you how. It’s Step 1 in that block.

Step 7a

Step 7a

Step 7- Lay out the green split rectangle units, the HST and the remaining two 2.5″ background squares as shown. Sew the background squares to the ends of the split rectangles, and sew the HST to the green end of one of the split rectangles. Sew the leaf units to the blossom unit to complete your Morning Glory block.

Vol11-blog-tour-coming-socialmedia_66016My next planned blog post will be on day 1 of the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 11 blog tour. I’m proud to be a part of this latest edition. I think you’ll enjoy my “Telstar” block and what I’ve been able to do with it. You’ll also have a chance to win a free copy of the publication!

Categories: 8" TQ Blocks, Split Rects (Studio 180 Designs), The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns | Leave a comment

It’s Spring!

I’ve yet to see a robin, but the grass is greening up and while they haven’t bloomed, my tulips have broken ground. My rancher friends are up at all hours dealing with newborn calves and lambs. Best of all, the days are warm enough that you don’t mind being outside for more than a few minutes. It’s SPRING in northern Montana!

To celebrate, I have a fun little crocus block for you.

To make this 8″ block, you will need the following Thrifty Quilter pieces:

Pieces for one crocus block

Pieces for one crocus block

Green: two 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles

Light Purple: two 2.5″ squares and two 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles

White: six 2.5″ squares and four 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles

To construct this block, we need to make 2.5″ x 4.5″ “split rectangles”. Because we are starting with our pre-cut 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles, this is going to be a little tricky, and you will find that the diagonal seam line will not go into the corner of the finished piece. If you’re compulsive about accuracy, this may drive you a little crazy, but it’s okay. Trust me.

Step 1a

Step 1a

Layer your two print rectangles wrong sides together, so you will be cutting mirror-image pieces. Lay your ruler diagonally on the fabric so that the 1/4″ line is on the upper left and lower right corners as shown.

Step 1b

Step 1b

Make your cut. Discard the cutaway triangle. Repeat with the green and white rectangles.

Step 1c

Step 1c

Pair a white piece with each print piece and place them right sides together as shown. matching the original corners and aligning the bias edges. Your seam line should run from corner to corner.

Step 1d

Step 1d

Press open and you should have 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles again.

Step 2a

Step 2a

Make a 4-patch with one 2.5″ print square and three 2.5″ white squares.

Now you can lay out all of the pieces for the crocus “blossom” as shown and sew them together.

Step 2b

Step 2b

Once the blossom portion is finished, it’s time to add the leaves. Lay out the green split rectangles and the three remaining white 2.5″ squares as shown.

Sew a white square to the narrow green end of one leaf and sew that unit to the side of the blossom unit.

Then sew white squares to both ends of the other leaf and sew that unit on to complete your crocus block.

finished Crocus block

finished Crocus block

Perhaps you can see in the photo that the diagonal purple seam lines wind up about 1/4″ away from the corner of that rectangle. Also, the tips of the green triangles that touch the purple blossom unit are just a bit “flat”. Because it doesn’t affect the outline of the flower, and because it happens consistently in this block, it doesn’t bother me like I was sure it would. If you’re uncomfortable with it, I have another way to make those split rectangles that will solve the problem. Meet me here next week, when we’ll “plant” some morning glories!


Oh, and mark your calendar for Tuesday, May 5th when “Seams Like a Plan” will be a stop on Quiltmaker magazine’s 100 Blocks, Vol. 11 blog tour.

Categories: 100 Blocks, 8" TQ Blocks, Quiltmaker Magazine, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns | Leave a comment

My Thrifty Valentine

f44d9305d7c3efbf_4558559-480x720.previewHappy Valentine’s Day! This post is a day late because the computer ate it last evening. It’s probably my fault for including the photo of the candy hearts. ;0)  I read that they have been around for more than a century!

In lieu of candy cards or flowers, my Valentine to you is a quick and easy Candy Heart block. There are two options for making this 9″ (finished) quilt block.


Candy Hearts- Option 1

Candy Hearts- Option 1

Option 1 is the Thrifty Quilter scrap block. For each block you will need:

Print- One 6.5″ square and two 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangles

White: One 3.5″ square and four 2.5″ squares

Candy Hearts - Option 1, Step 1

Candy Hearts – Option 1, Step 1

Step 1 – Use the Stitch & Flip method to put the 2.5″ white squares on opposite corners of the 3.5″ x 6.5″ print rectangles.

Candy Hearts - Option 1, Step 2

Candy Hearts – Option 1, Step 2

Step 2 – Lay out your rectangles, the 6.5″ print and 3.5″ white squares and sew together to complete your Candy Heart block. How simple is that?

Candy Hearts - Option 2

Candy Hearts – Option 2

Option 2 is perfect for Layer Cake leftovers. For each block you will need:

Print – One 10″ square

White – One 3.5″ square, two 2.5″ squares and two 2″ squares.

Candy Hearts - Option 2, Step 1

Candy Hearts – Option 2, Step 1

Step 1 is to cut the 10″ square. Trim 3.5″ from the left edge of the square, and 3.5″ from the bottom. This lives you one 6.5″ square, two 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangles, and a 3.5″ leftover.

Candy Hearts - Option 2 Step 2

Candy Hearts – Option 2 Step 2

Step 2 – Use the Stitch & Flip method to put the 2.5″ squares on the top left corner of one print rectangle, and the top right of the other rectangle.

Candy Hearts - Option 2, Step 3

Candy Hearts – Option 2, Step 3

Step 3 – The 2″ white squares go on the opposite corners of the rectangles.

Candy Hearts - Option 2, Step 4

Candy Hearts – Option 2, Step 4

Step 4 is to lay out the rectangles, the 6.5″ print square and 3.5″ white square and sew the Candy Heart block together.

Candy Hearts

Candy Hearts – Anne Wiens 2015

I made a mess of these blocks in various candy colors. You could applique, embroider or print a little note on each one, if you want to.

I think I will probably put my blocks together with 3″ (finished) white sashing and use those leftover 3.5″ print squares as the cornerstones. I’m not sure if I’ll set it straight or on-point. Suggestions?

Categories: Scrap Quilts, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns | 1 Comment

If At First You Don’t Succeed

In my Facebook group, Thrifty Quilters, I like to post photos that have interesting color combinations, and then make quilt blocks using those colors. Last month, I has a winter scene with a little gray and white bird on a branch with red berries. Then I got into my bins of Thrifty Quilter scraps and came up with this block:


Diamond & Pinwheel – Anne Wiens (2014)

I like the pattern, but decided there needs to be more contrast between the gray in the diamond and the gray in the corner triangles. Because you can’t see the print in the grays, you really can’t tell they are two different fabrics.

This month I posted a photo of a colorful little bird with  purple wings, yellow neck and tail feathers, and a bright orange head and then I took another run at this block, which I call “Diamond & Pinwheel”.

Here’s the recipe:



For each 12″ (finished size) block you will need:

Yellow: Four 3.5″ squares

Orange: Four 4.5″ squares

Purple: Four 3.5″squares and three 4.5″ squares

White: One 4.5″ square and four 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangles.

Step 1a

Step 1a

Step 1 – Use two 4.5″ orange squares and two 4.5″ purple squares to make four orange/purple half-square triangles (HSTs). Trim to 3.5″. You can do this with any ruler that has a 45° line in a corner. The photo shows a Tucker Trimmer®. Lay the ruler on your HST with the diagonal line on the seam and trim the top and right sides.

Step 1b

Step 1b

Rotate the piece, align the diagonal line with the seam and trim the top and right sides. Set these HSTs aside.

Step 2a

Step 2a

Step 2 – Now we need to make four units that I call “triple triangle squares” (TTSs), because they have three triangles in them…two small and one large.

Start by cutting one 4.5″ white square and one 4.5″ purple square diagonally twice. Cut two 4.5″ orange triangles diagonally once. You should now have four small white triangles, four small purple triangles and four large orange triangles.

Step 2b

Step 2b

Sew the triangles into four units that look like the one in the photo above. Be sure your white and purple triangles are in the correct positions. Trim unit to 3.5″. If you’re using the Tucker Trimmer®, notice that the solid diagonal line is on the long seam, and the broken diagonal line marked “3-1/2” is on the short seam. Trim the top and right sides.


Step 2c

Rotate the piece, align the diagonal lines with the seams, and trim the top and right sides again.

Step 3

Step 3

Step 3: Sew the HSTs to the TTSs as shown, and set these four units aside.

Step 4a

Step 4a

Step 4 – Now we need to make four “blade” units, using the stitch-and-flip method. Draw a diagonal line on the back of each of the 3.5″ purple squares and 3.5″ yellow squares. The dark lines in the photo are for illustration only. To mark my squares for sewing, I use a drafting pencil with a #4 hard lead. Your lines should be just dark enough that you can see them.

Step 4b

Step 4b

Align the yellow squares with the right edge of the white rectangles as shown above. Sew on the drawn line, trim 1/4″ away from the seam*, and press open.

Step 4c

Step 4c

Rotate the units and align the purple squares with the end of the white rectangle, sew on the drawn line, trim 1/4″ from the seam* and press open.

*Note: If you don’t want to waste those cut-away triangles, sew the bias edges and trim them to 2.5″ squares for use in other projects. You’ll find several ideas in previous posts on this blog.

Step 5

Step 5

We’re nearly finished. Step 5 is to sew the units you’ve made into four quarter-units as shown above.

Step 6

Step 6

Step 6 – Sew the four quarter-units together as shown, to complete your Diamond & Pinwheel block.

Categories: 12" TQ Blocks, Scrap Quilts, The Thrifty Quilter System, Thrifty Quilter Blocks & Patterns, Tucket Trimmer (Studio 180 Designs) | Leave a comment

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