Diamonds on the Run!
Updated: Sep 12, 2020
Many experienced quilters already know, either intuitively or experientially, that diamonds are quilted discontinuously. The pattern starts in one corner. It is zig-zag down to the opposite corner and back-tacked to end. Then the same pattern is repeated in the opposite corners, Figures 1 & 2. This pattern works regardless of the number of parallel lines drawn between opposite corners AND it simultaneously completely quilts the inner edge of the inner border.
But did you know that when an even number of parallel lines are marked on the quilt top between opposite corners, diamonds can be quilted continuously, even if the space between lines changes to create different diamond patterns?
Notice in Figure 3 that there are no diagonal lines connecting opposite corners. This is one indication that there is an even number of parallel lines between opposite corners.
With a tiny bit of math and one extra marking step, this quilting pattern is fast and easy.
So, which is the best one to use? Well for QFK quilt kits, the ODD method illustrated in Figures 1 and 2 is the best when the lines are marked 2 1/2" apart. But, if you want to get creative with different quilted border patterns, then the EVEN method illustrated in Figure 3 is the best. Both are provided in preparation for Diamonds on the Run part two.
Tools You Will Need:
A temporary making pen or pencil for fabric
A yardstick or long straight edge
A 24" long or longer see-through rotary ruler.
First The Math:
Measure the distance between two opposite corners along the longest diagonal and divide this measurement by an even interval of your choice. For our quilt kits, 16 is the best even interval to use. This interval is the number of parallel lines that will be quilted between opposite corners. Smaller intervals will create larger diamonds and longer sections that won't be quilted by this
Round the result obtained in 1. DOWN to the nearest marking found on a long rotary cutting ruler. This is how far apart all but the center two parallel lines will be marked on the quilt top.
Subtract the number one from the even interval you chose in 1. above then multiply this number by the result obtained in 2. above.
Subtract the number obtained in 3. above from the measurement taken in 1. above. Divide this result by 2 to get the distance the two center parallel lines will be marked.
Draw the Pattern on the Quilt Top:
Draw a dashed line between both pairs of opposite corners. These two lines will form an "X" in the center of the quilt and they are for reference only. Remember to erase these two reference lines after the next step is completed.
On both sides of both reference lines, draw one parallel line that is the distance obtained in 4. above away from the reference line. Use these four new lines in the next step.
Use the rounded result obtained in "First the Math:" item 2. above to mark the remaining parallel lines from the four center lines and out towards the corners. You will have a quilt that looks like Figure 3.
Now Let's Quilt the Continuous Pattern:
Starting near the top left corner, stitch in the ditch following the arrows to round the corner. Continue in the direction of the arrows to quilt only the parallel lines illustrated in Figure 4. Stitch in the ditch every time the needle arrives at the inner edge of the inner border.
Round every corner by stitching in the ditch to travel to the next quadrant of parallel lines. Then continue following in the direction of the arrows.
Once the 3rd quadrant is started, the previously quilted lines of stitching can begin to look confusing. To avoid confusion, tell yourself to keep the corner that you have just rounded always behind the sewing machine. This means the quilt should only be swung from side to side as it is maneuvered during the quilting process.
When the last of the four sections have been quilted the needle should land at the same point it started. There will be short sections along the inner edge of the inner border that have been quilted twice and short sections that have not been quilted at all. If these unquilted sections are longer than 2", please quilt all the way around the inner edge of the inner border. That's why 16 is the best even interval to use for QFK kits. That interval makes these unquilted sections small enough that they don't need to be quilted as an extra step.
Borders & Binding
Stitch in the ditch around the outside edge of the inner border.
Stitch in the center of the outer border.
Bind the quilt with your preferred method.