Minimal Day Sampler – Block Five: Facets
One of the most unique things my great uncle made was something he called “table jewelry”: small architectural sculptures of various metals that incorporated beautiful stones. They were made so the negative space within the sculpture was a part of the design itself and helped show off the stones.
Such a perfect concept for a modern quilt, no?
So for this month’s block, I chose three facets of an emerald cut stone as our design, with plenty of negative space surrounding and supporting them. Each piece has points of varying degrees, which are perfect for practicing the techniques we learned last month. The way the facets line up gives us an opportunity to overlap appliqué pieces and to butt two points together. They are also the first pieces that are free-floating within the block. So we’ll use an overlay to help with placing them.
Begin by printing out a copy of the templates, making sure the scaling on your printer is turned off. The longest template should be around 3/4” x 7”.
Before cutting the templates apart, you’ll need to make the overlay. You can use any see-through material that you can write on and is flexible- clear vinyl, a ziploc bag, a sheet protector, etc. (I’ve used a sheet of transparency film because I happened to have some.) Lay it over the printed template page and use a Sharpie to trace the 3 appliqué pieces as well as the horizontal and vertical dashed registration lines. You’ll notice also that the pieces are numbered, indicating the order in which we’ll sew them.
Whether you are making the wall or lap sized quilt, this month’s block is the same for both.
- From background fabric: Cut one 10 ½” square
- From appliqué fabric(s): Trace around and cut one of each of templates 2 and 3, leaving a fat 1/8” seam allowance on all sides. Do the same for template 1, except make the seam allowance a full ¼” on the bottom edge (which will go under piece 2).
Press your background block in half and press a crease into the center. Open it, fold it in half the opposite direction and press another crease. Your block should be equally divided into 4 quadrants. Now place your overlay on the background, lining up the dashed lines with the creases you just made.
Lift up one edge of the overlay and slide appliqué piece #1 into position. The drawn stitching line should fall directly beneath the matching lines on the overlay.
You can pin the overlay to the background along one or two sides if you like, but I am frankly too lazy to bother. I typically just hold it in place with one hand while I adjust the appliqué with the other.
Tip: I finger pressed all of my seam allowances under on each piece before stitching, just to make it a bit easier to make the lines straight (or at least straight-ish).
Begin stitching at the bottom of the right side of the appliqué, below the drawn line at the bottom of the template. Stitch up the right side, across the top, and back down the left side. Do not stitch across the bottom. That edge will be hidden beneath piece #2.
Tip: Refer back to the “Stitching” section in the May post for more details on stitching points if you need a refresher.
Tip: Whenever appliqué pieces overlap, always begin with the piece on the very bottom, working up layer by layer. To avoid as much bulk as possible, do not turn under or stitch any seam allowances that will be covered by another piece.
Put the overlay back on the block, lining up the dashed lines with the creases and place piece #2 in position just like you did with the first piece. This piece will overlap and enclose the raw edge on the bottom of the first piece. Since we made the seam allowance wider on that side of piece #1, we’ll have more wiggle room in covering it up with this second appliqué. And a bit of wiggle room is always good.
Begin stitching in the CENTER of the upper right side, a half inch or so from the top point and work your way counter-clockwise around the triangle. When you get to the portion that overlaps piece #1, simply treat that first appliqué as part of the background and stitch through it right along with the background fabric.
Tip: NEVER begin stitching on an appliqué at a point or corner. If you do, you will end up back at that point with the opposing side already stitched and no way to tuck that last point’s worth of seam allowance under it. Which will totally make you swear and reach for your seam ripper. Trust me on this one. Always start on the straightest edge or gentlest curve of the piece.
Once again, align the overlay with the creases and place piece #3 in position.
Notice how this piece touches only at one point on the previous piece? Any time two pieces touch without actually overlapping, it is called “butting”.
Stitch counter-clockwise around piece #3 beginning at the lower left side, a half inch or so from the point. This will allow you to immediately anchor the corner that butts up to piece #2, minimizing the impact if the piece shifts out of place slightly as you stitch around the rest of it.
Tip: If you find that the points of pieces #2 and #3 don’t quite touch as you’re stitching them, don’t worry. Just make a longer, visible stitch (in a matching color) connecting both pieces at the contact point.
When you’ve made your way around piece #3, your finished block will look something like this:
It will go here in the final quilt layout (wall, then lap size):
Next month we go back to curves and will learn how to stitch a deep “v”.