Tag Archives: economy block

Fun and happy Laurel Burch quilt top – finished!

Lately, my weekends have not allowed me to spend much time quilting.  However this weekend was the winner!  I was finally able to get back to my quilt top made with some Laurel Burch fabrics and I’m really happy with the result.

LB quitl top 02

For some reason my pictures have been turning out really “soft” lately.  I think my old camera is finally getting worn out. 🙂  Another thing that I don’t feel is clearly shown is the fact that many of the fabrics I used have patterns and texture to them.  In person, that makes this quilt top even more fun to me!

LB Fabrics

So there you have it.  I started with making a few “Economy blocks” for an online sew- along then morphed it into this quilt top.

Here is some information on how I made this quilt top if you are interested in doing something similar. I put instructions for how to make the blocks at the end of these directions.  This is not an extremely detailed tutorial but I hope you find it helpful:

This finished to 47″ x 47″

LB quilt directions image

Center A = 9 – 7 ½” x 7 ½” *Economy blocks – sew together 3 rows of 3 blocks for a 9-patch center.

Surround that by 4 -2 ½” wide strips the length needed to surround your nine-patch center (measure the right and left sides, sew on those strips, then measure the top and bottom, then sew on those strips)

Border B = 48 –2 ½” half square triangle blocks. Sew 12 together for the right side, then 12 for left side and sew both sides on first.  For the top and bottom borders sew a 2 ½” square at the beginning and end of each 12 block row for a total of 14 blocks for each row.

Surround that with 4 – 2 ½” wide strips the length needed (measure the right and left sides, sew on those strips, then measure the top and bottom, then sew on those strips)

Border C = 28 – 5 ½” x 5 ½” *Diamond in Square blocks and 4 – 5 ½” x 1 ¼” spacer strips.

Make border C as follows:  sew end-to-end 3 blocks, sew on 1 – 5 ½” x 1 ¼” strip then sew on three more blocks to make your right side border.  Repeat to make your left side border.  Sew those on to your quilt.  The bottom and top borders are made up of 4 Diamond in Square blocks, then the spacer strip, then 4 more Diamond in Square blocks.  You can see that I changed things up a bit by changing the color of the first and last block on the top and bottom border rows.

After you’ve sewn on Border C surround that with 4 – 3 ½” wide strips the length required for the final border (measure the right and left sides, sew on those strips, then measure the top and bottom, then sew on those strips).

*How to make the easy Diamond-in-Square and Economy blocks for this quilt size:


  1. Cut three 4 inch squares (one for your center, two for the outer triangles).
  2. Cut the two squares in half diagonally to get 4 triangles.LB Step 2
  3. Sew two of the triangles to your center square along the opposite sides (right sides together).  The triangles will be larger than your square.

LB Step 3

4. Press the triangles open then trim their sides down to meet the sides of the square.

LB Step 4

5.  Sew the other two triangles to the opposite sides of your square.

LB Step 5

6.  Press the triangles open, then square up your block to equal 5 ½”.

Diamond in Square

For the Economy block you follow these same steps but add one more layer of triangles.  Cut two squares 6”.  Cut those squares diagonally to get 4 more triangles.  Sew them to the squared-up 5 ½” block, then square that up to 7 ½”.

LB Economy Blocks


Progress on Laurel Burch Quilt

As usual, when I don’t really have a full plan but get the urge to start another quilt, time marches on while I’m staring at blocks on my design wall.  I finally made a little progress with my square in square (AKA Economy Block) quilt using my Laurel Burch fabric.  This might not look like much progress, but here’s what I’ve done so far:

Laurel Burch Quilt1

I think I’m going to add another pieced border all around then another solid or small print around that before staring at it again.  I just have to decide what kind of pieced pattern I want to use.  At this point it measures 31″ x 31″ square.  I haven’t decided how big I really want to go with this.

I apologize to my daughter in Alaska for whom I have a quilt top all finished, but I’ve neglected to try to complete the whole quilt because I’m distracted with this project.  Maybe while I’m in my staring mode I should just finish that other quilt!

Hopefully more to come on this one sooner rather than later.  Suggestions are welcome!

Homage to Laurel Burch

A couple of years ago I came across some bright, colorful, whimsical fabric that really made me smile.  Of course I had no idea what I’d make with it but I had to buy it, plus some complimentary fabrics, for whatever project would eventually evolve.

Laurel Burch Fabric

The fabric designer was Laurel Burch who overcame great physical challenges to express her art and discover a way to make a living for herself and her family.  I found her story very inspiring.  Although she is deceased, she licensed her work for a variety of uses and I think you can still find things made with her designs today. Here is a link to learn more about her.

Laurel Burch

In an earlier post I wrote about making Economy blocks and my desire to participate in a sew along (although joining late).  It struck me that this block style was a perfect way to showcase my Laurel Burch fabric.  The large piece of fabric with squares featuring winged bugs, butterflies, and hummingbirds would be perfect for fussy cutting then framing with fabric in the Economy block style.  Here are some examples I’ve made so far.

LB Blocks example

However I found out the hard way that I needed to fussy cut the printed squares in different sizes to avoid cutting off too much, beak, wing, etc. within the seam allowance as I’m sewing these together.  So now I need to settle on one acceptable size to fussy cut to be consistent with my finished square sizes.  I’ll just be creative with how I incorporate the odd-sized ones I’ve already made into my quilt.  But who knows, I may decide to continue to make them different sizes as I sew a little and think a little about what this is going to look like when I’m done.

I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this quilt, but I’ll keep you posted as I make progress!

Comparing Exploding Pineapple Blocks and Square in Square

As I’m still very much a newbie to the world of quilting, I spend a lot of time online researching different block styles and construction techniques.  I really love the fact that there are so many creative people who show new ideas for tackling block construction or design new block styles from experimentation.

After posting a tutorial on how I made an Exploding Pineapple block using a technique developed by Karin Halleby (which unfortunately she asked me to remove), I received questions about constructing that same block style with triangles or in a manner where you could retain “points” a bit better.  During my research I came across a great tutorial on the Economy Block (or Square in Square) posted on Red Pepper Quilts blog, by Rita Hodge.  She also has a quilt along for this block which I’m joining as well.  Here is a link to her tutorial, http://www.redpepperquilts.com/2013/08/economy-block-quilt-in-progress-tutorial.html.

Following Rita’s tutorial I made an Economy style block of my own but used different measurements for the triangles and added a third set of triangles around the center square rather than just two.  I wanted a big block as the end result (as now I’m into making big blocks that help me make bigger quilts a little faster 🙂 ) and the center square to be on point.

Economy BlockSample

I measured and cut my squares as follows:

Center – 4 1/2″

Squares for first round of triangles – 4 1/2″ (then after sewing them on squared up my block to 6″ but added 1/4″ for a seam allowance)

Squares for 2nd round of triangles – 6 1/2″ (then after sewing them on squared up my block to 8 1/2″ and added a 1/4″ for a seam allowance)

Squares for 3rd round of triangles – 9″

I trimmed my block to finish at about 14″, leaving a rather wide frame around it. My Exploding Pineapple block was about that same size after I added the sashing.  Here are pictures of my Exploding Pineapple block compared with the other block I made.  I think the two have very similar looks and those who would like something with more distinct points would enjoy the end result of the Economy block construction.  You could easily start with a smaller center square and more rounds of triangles than what I did to get a little different look.

Economy Block Comparison

One thing I really liked about Rita’s technique was she cut over-sized triangles for easier sewing.  There was no worrying about getting tiny points stuck under your foot as you’re sewing them on.  I’ll put up with a little more waste for a lot less stress when I’m sewing!

I hope you check out this technique.