Earlier in March I jumped at the call Sariella Studios put out on instagram for people to test their latest free paper piecing pattern – the Electric Diamond. I’ve previously made patterns by @lillyella (one half of Sariella) including her butterfly charms paper piecing patterns which make an excellent quick accent block. The Electric Diamond pattern is made in collaboration with Libs Elliot and mimics the diamonds in her fabric collections.
The verdict : It’s a fun, effective block that no doubt will feature in many many mini quilt swaps! Definitely try it!
The detail: The pattern is very clear. The instructions are also clear. So if you are an advanced beginner at paper piecing you will have no trouble at all. The vital points align logically and can easily be double checked as you sew sections together.
If you are a total begineer to paper piecing this pattern is still a good one to try, just watch a couple of youtube videos to get yourself upto speed on how to paper piece. There are links in the pattern. I’d recommend starting with the 6 inch block – in my opinion it’s easier to wrap your head around the angles without wasting too much fabric if you start small.
Here’s the three blocks I made:
Tips and tricks
1. Matching points are made with pins
My secret to getting particular points of the various sections to line up when you join them is to stab through both pieces with pins. Not fancy but effective. This allows you to see if the seams and points line up, you can readjust if necessary, or if it’s right you are set to just sew. If you are worried, or the pins get in your way, wonderclips are an effective reinforcement.
My process for doing that looks something like this:
2. Test out fabric combinations
The key to making this block pop is nailing the colour contrast between the variois sections. To help you, there are colour images on the pattern and there’s a template to colour in. Plus you can cruise the hasttag. But really what helps the most is taking a picture of your fabric choices and then reviewing to see if there is enough differentiation between your choices. Compare the following pictures – I think you will see that while the black diamond is cool it doesn’t pop as well as the other two because theres not sufficient gradient in the fabrics :
3. Try directional paper piecing
Normally I am vehemently against directional fabrics in paper piecing. I’ve read a few rather unhelpful blogs, such that I still can’t get my head around the angles. And because I’m not keen on my seam ripper, life just seems so much easier without worrying about direction.
All of which was just fine until I got it into my head that I just had to use the crown fabric to surround the pink diamond.
Now, as you can see everything turned out ok.
In large part that is due to the fact in this pattern there are only two pieces that require you to add the directional background print on an angle – both are small and both are the last pieces of their respective blocks to be added ( all of which means this is a good block to practice on.)
In the end, what worked for me was setting up the fabric and the section both right side up; creasing both along the line to be sewn; drawing the angle of the line to be sewed onto the directional fabric and transferring this to the wrong side ; and finally flipping the fabric over and lining up that mark with the crease in the paper. Now that it’s a clear as mud that process looked something like this:
As I cautiously recommend trying directional prints, keep in mind the following :
- Use a fabric that’s only directional in one way (ie not checks or tartan unless you are absolutely crazy!).
- Be prepared to waste fabric (necessary to get the angles right without going crazy!).
- Have your seam ripper nearby (if you want your fabric lined up, chances are you are crazy enough to be looking for something more than ‘close enough’).
- Have a backup fabric that’s non directional – life is too short!
I turned my three diamonds into three very different but useful crafty projects.
The 6 inch #truelove diamond became the front panel of a Noodlehead Wide Open Pouch (size small). The lining is a cheeky quilting terms print, making this the perfect notions holder for an upcoming #2017igsecretpals gift exchange.
The 10 inch #eureka diamond I turned into a See Clearly Pouch (based on a size large, modified to 10 inches square). I’ve been afraid to work with vinyl but this pattern operated so smoothly! Again perfect for crafty swaps.
And finally the 12 inch #konasolids diamond became a feature front panel in my oversized Lined Drawstring Bag. It will hold knitting projects for me (oh the luxury of keeping a make!)
To explain the perhaps somewhat unusual combination, this bag commemorates our trip to London in Jan 2016 where we got engaged.
It’s such a beautiful memory, I like the idea of thinking about it every time I pick up my needles.