Diamonds in Squares
Here is one of my favorite ways to use up scraps. Making a quilt with a
diagonal set takes a lot more time than a regular quilt. However, when you
put sides on a square, it turns the square so that it is on point, and looks
like a diamond. This gives the quilt more movement, and is as effective as a diagonal set.
There are many ways to use these blocks. The snowball technique is
easy, but uses more fabric. See the
snowball page for instructions. Below is the more traditional way to do it.
How to make the Diamond in a Square Quilt Block
Step 1: This is a very easy block to make. First determine what size
you want to make your center squares. Let's make this quilt with center
squares that finish at 5 1/2 inches. So the first step is cutting all your
squares at 6x6 inches.
Step 2: Now you will add the triangles around the sides. You will
cut the 4 triangles from 2 large squares. Take the finished size of the
block, and add 1/4 inch to make the large squares. Since the squares are
finishing at 5 1/2 inches, add 1/4 inch to 5 1/2 inches. Using precise
measurements, your squares would be cut at 5 3/4 inches. However, cut
them at 6 inches, as you are going to have to trim them anyway, and this way you
have some wiggle room. This block will be trimmed to 7 1/2 inches.
When you add the side triangles, add opposite sides first, and then trim.
Make sure the centers are even by finger pressing the triangle and square in
half or using the iron. After doing the first 2 sides, do the last 2 sides. Press, and
square up the block and you are done.
Illustrated Instructions




Marking the centers and laying out
first two sides. 

Sewing the first two sides to the center block.
Sew with the triangles on the bottom. 





Pressing the sewn sides with the seams facing
away from the center 

Trimming the triangles 




Sewing the final two sides to the center block.
Again, sew with triangles on the bottom 
Pressing open with the seams again facing away
from the center 


The diamond in a square quilt block after
trimming. 
In order to make sure your trimming is accurate, always
be sure and put the 45 degree line on your quilting ruler one of the outside
edges of the center block. Then slide your ruler until you have the 1/4
inch seam allowance outside the points of the center square.
Your final match point is one of the horizontal or vertical
lines on the ruler to one of the outside edges of the quilt block.
However, when you first begin trimming, the lines on the outside edge of the
block will not be straight.
As a final note, when you make a scrappy quilt, try not to match
your colors and patterns too closely, as in the illustrated instructions.
Notice how much better the blocks look at the top of the page where the colors
and patterns are more varied.
Note: It can be tricky to determine the final size of the
block from the cut square. Here is a table to give you a few standard
measurements of finished quilt blocks. Remember that you are always better
off cutting a little larger, as you will be doing a lot of trimming.
Size of finished BLOCK 
Size to CUT center square 
3 inches 
2 5/8 inches 
4 inches 
3 3/8 inches 
6 inches 
4 3/4 inches 
8 inches 
6 1/8 inches 
10 inches 
7 5/8 inches 