Square-in-a-Square Beginner Project – Brilliantly Simple
Let’s make Square-in-a-Square quilt blocks! This is a fun, easy project for newbies and shows how fabulous Inklingo is for machine piecing. It combines printed and unprinted shapes.
There are a few extra-special clues (like Easter Eggs) to make fussy cutting super simple, so please read on . . .
I am using the FREE Diamond Triangle Square shape collection to make Square-in-a-Square blocks because everyone has it. This same method can be used for ANY size, any time of year.
The triangles for Square-in-a-Square blocks require straight grain on the two short sides, so they are HST (Half Square Triangles). (See the free Triangle Tips PDF if you need a refresher.)
These simple Square-in-a-Square blocks are a great project to do with children during the Easter holiday. This method is not as messy as decorating easter eggs and is almost as good as chocolate.
Hop along . . .
Print the HST (Half Square Triangles)
The HST in the free Diamond Triangle Square shape collection is 1.86 inches.
Quilters who are new to Inklingo are sometimes surprised by the precision of Inklingo shapes—1.86????—because quilters have been using approximate measurements for decades.
Traditional triangle measurements require “trimming up afterward.” (Monkey says Yuck. More work. Wasteful. Even dangerous.) Inklingo quilters make triangles the right size.
1.86 inches may seem to be an odd size but it is absolutely perfect for the yellow HST in this block, so I included it as a bonus in the free shape collection. Inklingo shapes are named with the finished size to make it easy. (No need to add 0.5 or approximations like 7/8 or 1.25 for seam allowances.)
Printing 4 HST for each Square-in-a-Square block is easy peasy.
You can print 8 at a time or 16 or 24. Many Suggested Custom Page Sizes are included in every shape collection and you can also make up more.
There are 3 layouts of 1.86-inch HST in the free shape collection and you can use any of them for this design. Sometimes one layout fits on your scraps better than another.
Cut Precise Squares Simply – Without Printing!
So far, so good, but what size is the square to match this odd size of HST for my frog?
Good News! There is a simple way to get a square that will fit the triangles perfectly—using an upside-down ruler—the same technique we use for Flying Geese.
According to the Catalogue of Shapes in the free shape collection (described on pages 60-65), we need a square that is 2.63 inches to match the long side of the HST. Good grief, Charlie Brown.
I do NOT want to measure .63 of anything!
I could check the Index of Shapes and see if I already have a 2.63-inch square to print on fabric in one of my shape collections but do I really need to print a simple square? NO. I don’t need lines when I sew by machine and I already have lines on my triangles. Sometimes lines are essential, sometimes they aren’t.
I prefer to cut the squares without printing.
Add Ordinary Masking Tape for Tactical Ruler
It is ridiculously simple to cut precise squares!
Turn the ruler over and position one HST (paper or fabric, with the corners trimmed, as illustrated. (Precision corners are marked on Inklingo shapes.) I’m using my new favorite ruler from Quilters Select, 8.5 x 24 inches. (No affiliation.)
Position at least one layer of masking tape on the underside of the ruler, as shown in green.
Flip the ruler right-side up and you have a perfect guide for rotary cutting strips and squares—in the usual way—without measuring. Brilliant.
Add some Fussy Cutting
So, that’s all good but what if you want to fussy cut some of the squares?
This is simple and fun with your MTR (masking-taped-ruler OR Monkey-Tactical-Ruler)
Use your MTR to cut a freezer paper template the same way you cut fabric squares. This FP template includes the seam allowances.
Fold the FP diagonally twice, so it looks like a triangle.
Cut the point off the folded FP triangle (4 layers) to create a window (below).
FP Window Template Tips
1. Leave approximately 0.5 to 0.75-inch around the edge so that the template won’t be too flimsy.
2. Make a mark to indicate the paper side (blue squiggle), so you don’t put your iron down on the plastic coating by mistake.
3. Remember that the square will be positioned on-point in the block, so the bunny is facing up (above).
Position the FP over a design in the fabric. Use the diagonal creases to make sure it is centered.
Press the FP into position and trim around it with a rotary cutter or scissors in the same way we trim when we prepare fabric sheets for printing.
Monkey whispers: If the design means the fabric is not on grain, be careful not to stretch the bias when you remove the FP. Heat the FP again to make it easier to remove, if necessary.
Do you like this method? I would love to see your comments.
Inspiration – Baseball Opening Day and a Roman Floor
Today is Opening Day for baseball in North America. I know some quilters are celebrating! (You know who you are.)
You can consider the square to be a baseball diamond if that’s your thing.
Chain piecing allows you to run all four bases. As usual, sew immediately beside the line in the seam allowance for a “scant” quarter-inch seam allowance.
According to Monkey, baseball is just two guys playing catch.
A great and memorable baseball game is one where absolutely nothing happens, aka a “perfect game.” This is great news for any quilter who can set up a sewing station within view of the TV. You can be with family and not miss a thing. (Or deliberately miss things like spitting and scratching.) If anything good does happen-to-happen, you can always re-wind.
Continuous-action sports like hockey and soccer make sewing during games more challenging but it can be done. (Voice of experience.)
This blog was also inspired by the ancient Romans who left a spectacular marble floor in a villa in southern France. Lovely marble Square-in-a-Square.
Other Sizes for I Spy Quilts
Do you know anyone who needs an I Spy Quilt? You can do it. With or without children. No templates, no measuring, and no special tools—unless you count masking tape.
This same method for Square-in-a-Square works for any size. You can see all the Inklingo sizes of HST in the Index of Shapes.
With the HST in the free shape collection, the finished Square-in-a-Square blocks will be 1.86 x 2 = 3.72 inches, finished (4.22 unfinished)) and they will all fit perfectly with each other.
New to Inklingo? Make Square-in-a-Square with the free shapes!
1. DOWNLOAD, SAVE, and OPEN the Free Diamond Triangle Square shape collection first. You can use the free HST to make your first Square-in-a-Square blocks.
2. VISIT the Welcome Page on the website.
3. SUBSCRIBE for occasional updates.
Any comments? I would love to see what you think of my Square-in-a-Square method. Thank you for visiting!
Linda & Monkey