Super-sized 10-Minute Block

A super smart quilter thought up a great way to make a diamond in square block not require cutting and sewing triangle and facing bias. Suzanne McNeill is a genius. Go buy her book. She also has a 5-minute block book.

So, I bought her book several years ago. Then, I decided to watch a few videos and remind myself about the construction. I found this great video blogger who changed up the size of the center to make a more cathedral window look.

I decided to make my individual batik squares 10″ and the center 19″ {(10″ + 10″) – 1″}. I used all my random batiks with a blue or blue-green theme — with a bit of purple for some life.

As the center of each diamond would have a character fabric to represent my sister’s likes, I make the 19″ background/frame in white.


Here’s the basic layout I came up with sitting on my king sized bed.


Here are a few of the themed fabrics I gathered focused on cats, tea, and asian-inspired fabrics. I used my bed again after cutting these to fit into the center of each diamond. I found 11″ squares worked well. I used A LOT of spray-starch as many of these fabrics seemed to have a stretchy mind of their own.

I followed the instructions from the video to to sew the cathedral windows edging. Then, I cut batting bigger than the squares and quilted the center of each cathedral window with point to point swoops in matching thread to the background.


Then, I sewed each group of 4 squares into one large block. I sewed the blocks with batting directly together with no backing. I pressed the seams open over a wood dowel. Then, free motion quilted a flower and spiral theme avoiding all the white. So, this is my second round of quilting. Why? I have a machine with a smallish harp and I find it easier to quilt using smaller pieces. But…you said no backing fabric. Why? Because my tension is not always perfect or maybe I don’t want to see the stitching on the reverse. I’ll add a backing to each of the larger center pieces after they are quilted and then run a zigzag with with a tiny width (just past 0 on my machine) and 8 length over the white cathedral windows.


I decided that the quilt needed to be bigger, so I am adding a 5-minute block border. Each background batik is 10″, and the center white is a rectangle that is 19×10″ to get the center the same size as the other ones. I am only adding size to the sides with this method.

So, you take the 19″ white fabric and fold in half on the long side. Align the fold toward the side you want to have the point. Fold=point. Since I wanted my fabrics to continue to avoid matching the adjacent color, that meant I had to keep track of the pairs to make sure my point would be meet inward to the complete cathedral window points. So, you can see here that the raw edges are up and the pen-cap is pointing toward the fold in the white fabric. That fold becomes the “point”.


These will become half-cathedral windows.


I forget more progress pictures, so here is the final quilt. I added a bookshelf at the top too.


More to come.



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