Radiant Splendor ~ A Quilt Block Tutorial

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

It’s been quite some time since I’ve been able to sit down, relax and look through my favorite block reference books. A couple weeks ago, I pulled out Nancy Cabot’s Quilt Collection, complied by Rose Lea Alboum. You can see more about it on my blog here and ordering information here. This time as I was flipping through the pages, this block caught my eye, Cubes and Tiles (1933).

Cubes and Tiles Quilt Block - Nancy Cabot 1933

I decided to see if I could find a bit more information about it, so I search for it in my other favorite block reference, Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. (Which by the way, is now available to buy as a PDF download!) It turns out, this block has been, well, around the block a few times! It was listed under 5 different names, from 5 different publications. The oldest I saw was a Ladies Art Company quilt pattern catalog from the late 1800’s, under the name Stars and Cubes. Pretty cool! And since everyone else came up with their own name for this block, I decided to call mine Radiant Splendor. :)

I sat down to do a little photoshop work to see if I could figure out how to put this block together. Turns out it’s not that hard – as long as you love making flying geese! I’ve put together a tutorial for anyone interested in making one of their own.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts


Radiant Splendor ~ A Quilt Block Tutorial

20-1/2″ x 20-1/2″ unfinished quilt block

We are going to follow the below construction diagram to make this block. We will begin with the flying geese, then piece center star, followed by the border stars and finally sew those components together to make the final block.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Cutting Instructions

Pattern Piece Fabric
Background Cut 4 6-1/2” x 6-1/2″ White
Background Cut 12 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” White
Background Cut 20 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” White
Center Star Cut 1 4-1/2” x 4-1/2” Purple
Center Star Cut 8 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ Purple
Border Stars Cut 4 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” Yellow
Border Stars Cut 32 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ Yellow

Block Instructions
This block contains 20 flying geese components. Let’s make those first.

Step 1: Using a marking tool (disappearing ink pen, pencil, hera marking tool, chalk, etc), mark your (8) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ Purple Squares and your (32) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ Yellow Squares from corner to corner on the wrong side of the fabric, along the diagonal.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 2: Gather your (20) 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” White Rectangles. Take (1) 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” White Rectangle and place (1) 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” Purple Square, right sides together as shown, lining up the fabric on the short end of the rectangle. Stitch along the marked diagonal line.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 3: Using a quilting ruler, trim the stitched 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” rectangle 1/4″ past your stitch line, as shown.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Press your fabric open.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 4: Place your next 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” Purple Square, right sides together as shown, lining up the fabric on the other short end of the rectangle. Stitch along the marked diagonal line.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 5: Once again using a quilting ruler, trim the stitched 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” rectangle 1/4″ past your stitch line, as shown.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Press your fabric open.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

You now have a 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ Flying Geese unit.

Step 6: Repeat the above instruction to piece a total of (4) Purple flying geese units and (16) Yellow flying geese units.

Now that you’ve made your 20 flying geese units, we will make the Purple Center Star.

Step 7: Take your (4) Purple Flying Geese Units, (1) 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ Purple Square, and (4) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ White Squares, and lay them out as shown.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 8: Stitch together the segments into three rows as shown.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 9: Stitch your rows together to form a finished 8-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ block, as shown.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Set aside. We will now assemble the Yellow Border Stars.

Step 10: Take (4) of your Yellow Flying Geese Units, (1) 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ Yellow Rectangle, and (2) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ White Squares, and lay them out as shown.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 11: Stitch the top row of (2) 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ White Squares and (1) flying geese unit together, as shown. Stitch the center 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ rectangle to (1) flying geese unit, as shown.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 12: Stitch the remaining (2) flying geese units to the center pieced unit, as shown.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 13: Piece the assembled top row to assembled bottom section, as shown, resulting in a 6-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ Yellow Border Star.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 14: Repeat the above steps to make 3 more Yellow Border Stars, for a total of 4 Yellow Border Stars.

Now we are going to assemble all your pieced components into a finished block.

Step 15: Lay out your (4) 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ White Squares, (4) Yellow Border Star components and (1) Purple Center Star as shown.

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Step 16: Stitch each row of blocks together, as you would a 9 patch. Stitch your rows together.

Congratulations! Your block is now finished!

Radiant Splendor Quilt Block Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

A Holiday and A New Block

Sewn Studio, Cincinnati

I’m home from a Thanksgiving trip to Ohio, trying to get back into the swing of things. (Always a struggle with kids I think!) While I was in Cincinnati, I made my usual stop in at Sewn Studio. I just love that shop. This is owner Julie – she is just great. The picture above is part of their ribbon collection. It’s so beautiful.

Sewn Studio, Cincinnati

Today I spent the morning cleaning my disaster of a sewing room. I have a hard time working in a mess and it had gotten way out of control. Now that I have a tidy space, I’ve cut into my Oakshott Cottons.

Oakshott Cottons + Becoming a Confident Quilter : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I choose a pattern from Elizabeth Dackson’s Becoming a Confident Quilter and paired the Oakshotts with some Essex Linen.

Oakshott Cottons + Becoming a Confident Quilter : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I think I’m going to make about four of these blocks and turn them into a mini quilt. The blocks are larger (17-1/2″ unfinished). I love the classic look!

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks

It’s always a fun opportunity to submit a block for Quiltmaker‘s 100 Blocks magazine series. Volume 7 was just released and I’m very excited to have a design included on this round! It will probably come as no surprise to regular readers here that I created a paper pieced star design. I’m nothing if not predictable, right? (You can find my paper piecing tutorial here.)

When I was selecting the fabrics for this star, I was torn. Blocks can always look so different depending on fabric placement. I really wanted to showcase this variety by making another block with the same templates, but using another fabric layout. Over the weekend I created this block.

Same pattern, but the effect is totally different. Cool, right? These blocks have 8 paper pieced components. Here is one quadrant sewn up:

I hope you will check out the magazine at your local craft and bookstore! It’s also available as a digital download.

Partial Seams Tutorial

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

This tutorial is a long time coming. Last year at the Sewing Summit, I taught some of you how to sew partial seams. I’ve been using this technique quite a bit lately, between writing the Starfall quilt pattern and my upcoming book. I hope you will find this tutorial helpful – if not today, then in the future when you run across a block needing this technique.

My usual disclaimer…this is how I personally sew partial seams. I am self taught, I’m sure there are a thousand ways to do this. This is mine.


Partial Seams Tutorial

The partial seams technique allows you to partially sew one piece of fabric to another, and then come back at a later point to finish the seam.

For example, at first glance this block looks like a log cabin. But upon closer inspection, you see that each of the “logs” is the same length (and longer than the center piece). Using partial seams, you can easily sew this together.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

If you’d like to work along with this tutorial, cut 1 square and 4 strips as listed below. (These are the cut sizes, not the finished sizes.)

Center Square – Cut (1) 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″
Side Rectangles – Cut (4) 1-1/4″ x 5-1/4″

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

1. You can start on any side of the block. I started on the left side and worked clockwise. Place your left strip, right side together with the center block. Align the top edges. As you can see, the strip will hang off the bottom of the block.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

2. Sew your seam down the block, stopping and backstitching about 1″ before the end of the square.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Your block should look like this so far:

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Press your seams as desired.

3. When you lay your top rectangle against the top edge of the block, you should notice it is now the exact length of the block.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

4. Right sides together, sew the top strip on as normal.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Press your seams.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

5. Repeat this usual piecing process for the right and bottom strips.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

6. Now we are ready to finish the original seam. Fold your unsewn left rectangle back over the sewn block, aligning the unsewn edge. Pin into place.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Starting where you backstitched in Step 2, finish sewing down the seam to complete it. Press your seams.

Partial Seams Tutorial by Fresh Lemons Quilts

Congratulations! You just finished your first partial seam block!