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Stepping Stones Quilt Block Tutorial

Posted on: January 18th, 2015 by Lorna McMahon
Today I am sharing a tutorial for the Stepping Stones quilt block designed in EQ7. I next had to decide on a positive or negative setting.

 I drew these up on my EQ7 quilt program.

I asked my son Russell for his opinion.  He favoured the one on the left in the positive setting.  But I really liked the one on the right in the negative setting!  It was just too hard to chose one over the other.  So I decided to make both!

Before we dive right in to the tutorial, there are a few points I would like to make….
First, the piecing of the diagonal seams went quickly using a piece of masking tape as a guide. This tape shows the center line and there was no need to draw a line on the pieces.  So simple and such a time saver!

After chain piecing, taking the pieces to the cutting board and trimming them all in a row made quick work of the trimming.  Then the pieces were brought to the ironing board and then snipped apart from each other before pressing.  I pressed ALL my seams open.

Second, the ability to sew an exact quarter inch seam, or even better, a scant quarter inch seam, will make the piecing of this block so much more enjoyable.  This is a tough block – a real skill builder.  Although I was wondering why I had chosen this block for my project without first considering how difficult it would be….  I did not resort to “Cry Me A River“, but persevered and accepted my less than perfect points and the wonkiness of my blocks.  For assistance in achieving a 1/4” seam, please check out this post from my Top 10 Tips for New Quilters series.
Third, this block uses 1″ finished strips.  Therefore, the use of a solid or a “reads like a solid” print is best suited to this design.  Using a directional print or any large scale print may result in less than appealing results.
For each block, you will need:

Making the Blocks:
Step 1:
Sew a white 3.5” x 12.5” rectangle to a print 1.5” x 12.5” rectangle.   Sew a print 1.5” x 12.5” rectangle between a white 2.5” x 12.5” rectangle and a white 1.5” x 12.5” rectangle.   Press the seams open.  Then crosscut each completed unit into (8) 1.5” wide strips.
Step 2:
Arrange these strips as shown and sew together.  Make (2) of each of these units.  Press the seams open.

Step 3:
Place a white 1.5” x 2.5” rectangle and a white 1.5” x 1.5” square onto the ends of a print 1.5” x 3.5” rectangle.  Mark the diagonals, shown by the black line and sew along this line.  Trim the corners as shown in red.  Press the seams open.  Make a mirrored unit, as shown below, and sew these units together.  Press the seams open.   Make (4).
Step 4:
Arrange your units made in steps 1 to 3 around a print 2.5” square, as shown.  Sew units into rows. Press seams open.  Sew the rows together to complete the block.  Press seams open.

Block should measure 10.5” square

This tutorial is now listed on my tutorial page here.

As you can see from these pictures that I shared on instagram…. My points are not good.  My seams are oversized.  And my blocks turned out kinda wonky.

But I took my own advice as outlined at the beginning of this tutorial and adjusted my needle, giving me a scant 1/4″ seam.  The second set of blocks turned out so much better.  No more wonky!  The points were matching much more easily.  And the blocks were laying nice and flat.

The completed quilt tops overall dimensions were surprisingly different as well.  The first quilt blocks made using an inaccurate 1/4″ seam resulted in a finished top measuring 38.5″ x 48.5″

Positive setting with inaccurate 1/4″ seam finished at 38.5″ x 48.5″

The second quilt blocks made using an accurate 1/4″ seam resulted in a finished top measuring 41″ x 51″.  This is a 2.5″ difference in both the width and the length.  That’s Incredible!  Absolutely astounding!

Negative setting with accurate 1/4″ seam finished at 41″ x 51″

Hoped you enjoyed the tutorial!
If you are interested in making these twin baby quilts, the pattern is available in my pattern shop here.

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29 Responses

  1. Vicki says:

    Just beautiful! Your hints and suggestions make so much sense.

  2. Both look great, Lorna, but I'm with Russell. The one on the left is stunning!!! Pinning…

  3. Thanks for tutorial, I love them both but I agree with you, the one on the right appeals to my quilt it to death mind.

  4. Jasmine says:

    So beautiful. Thanks for the trimming tips and tutorial.

  5. Dayquilt says:

    Your piecing always looks so neat and precise! But my math says it's 2 1/2\” difference between the two !!

  6. Lorna I love the negative. It reminds me of snowflakes or frosted window panes here in the south:)Your wonkiness is what makes it so classy, and your tutorial is spot on. Thanks so much for sharing, Batiks are something I've only quilted with once and now, well I'll be scouring the shops for some!I've visited Jocelyn, wow ! What a stunner of a 9 patch.

  7. Oh, my gosh! You are so right! Thank you so much for bring that to my attention. That makes it all the difference all the more incredible. Sure appreciate you taking the time to comment. Wishing you a wonderful day, Dayquilt!

  8. Gene Black says:

    I love the one with colored backgrounds. That is probably because it shows more of the batiks. Very nice tutorial.

  9. A great tutorial… and two fantastic looking quilts!

  10. liniecat says:

    Not sure I can choose between them, they are stunning!A helpful tutorial too thanks!

  11. P. says:

    Beautiful quilts, Lorna! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  12. Janie says:

    Beautiful job. Thanks for sharing!

  13. It really is amazing what a difference a scant quarter inch seam can make to a quilt. I am a huge fan of very slight trimming after the press, too, with small pieces to get a crisp, straight edge to sew with for the next seam.

  14. Sewmom18 says:

    Thanks for sharing,they are both beautiful. I have trouble with a scant quarter inch seam.

  15. Susan C. says:

    That is such a beautiful block. I am in furious agreement with your son, I like the quilt on the left….if I had to choose ……because they are both wonderful. I was gifted some batiks …hmmm this could be the project to pop in the queue. however my queue is now stretching into the next century, I really need to get some focus into my life. 🙂

  16. Lovely quilts, stunning pattern, fabulous colours… What to say…GORGEOUS!Esther

  17. KMSC says:

    I love your quilts. I'm wondering how much background fabric did you purchase (or have) for one quilt?Thanks!

  18. Christine S says:

    I love them both, especially the negative! I recently discovered just being off that little bit is why I kept losing so much in my quilts. I never dreamed it could make so much difference!

  19. teachpany says:

    Great quilts. I played in EQ7, and love both blocks in one quilt, as well. Thanks

  20. Linda says:

    These are really pretty!!! I have a batik jellyroll, I wonder how it would be to make them a little bigger? Thanks for all of the hints and tips!

  21. Sharon says:

    I don't quilt but my ninety one year old mom does & we both like the one on the right better. It was hard to choose since both of them are gorgeous!

  22. nanainbfb says:

    After skimming the original info on the Star block I noted the color difference & appearance in the two quilts.I wondered on first glance at the blue background quilt why it looked slightly wrinkled – off just slightly – or crooked. Then I saw the white background quilt. Prior to reading I thought maybe it was a color issue or just not being properly pressed before pictures. Now I REALLY understand. Duly noted. Thank you.

  23. Wow what a beautiful block and quilt!

  24. Unknown says:

    I was looking for the overall fabric requirements to make this quilt before I got started. Do I need to buy the pattern and use this as a tutorial? It was not as clear as your Dog Gone Cute post…I love your patterns and your creative inspiration!!!

  25. Hi Susan Lynn,Yes, this was meant only as a tutorial for making the Stepping Stones block and is not part of a quilt along, as the Dog Gone Cute pattern was. The Stepping Stones quilt pattern does provide material requirements and full instructions for making both quilts, or a single quilt using either the positive or negative setting.

  26. Unknown says:

    Thanks, I'll pick up the pattern and get started!!! Love your designs!

  27. Cathy says:

    I'm so glad you linked back to this today because I had planned on using it in my Jolly Little Christmas quilt and wasn't sure about where to find the pattern. Thank you!!!

  28. Hello, I just purchased this pattern, do you think it can be adapted to a larger sized quilt? Thanks.

  29. Unknown says:

    Awesome advice to use masking tape!! Wish I thought of that before I stitched this weekend.