Quilting Blog

The Fiber of My Being: Developing My Square-On-Point Pattern

I’m deliberate, rather than not, in choosing fabrics to sew together. I love seeing the interactions between two different fabrics that share a seam. I also delight in discovering simpler ways to cut and piece blocks. But one can’t see the construction backstory of a quilt. It’s invisible. But mine always have a story.

Square-on-Point quilt block

Square-on-Point quilt block

One of my favorite blocks is the Square-on-Point in part because I’m partial to the look of diagonal lines crisscrossing a quilt.

I was inexperienced when I began a quilt of these blocks. At the time, the simplest construction method for me called for four small squares and one large square. My previous column provides those instructions and addresses a slick trick for a quilter’s repertoire, bonus half-square triangles (HSTs).

Ordinarily, a 6″ Square-on-Point block calls for four triangles to be cut diagonally from a pair of 3 7/8″ squares. In this case 4″ squares would have been suitable, if not better, but I didn’t get that memo. An On-Point square is often cut to an odd size, in this case, 4 3/4″. If not, the contrary is true, the finished block will be the awkward size. I can’t help but consider these things which is what led me to draw what a millennial might call an ‘epic’ pattern…

When cut on grain, a center square is rotated to be on-point. To maintain ‘directionality’, cut it out on point. Acorn Forest fabric from Robert Kaufman; cutting sizes generated by Electric Quilt software

When cut on grain, a center square is rotated to be on-point. To maintain ‘directionality’, cut it out on point. Acorn Forest fabric from Robert Kaufman; cutting sizes generated by Electric Quilt software

The odd sizes notwithstanding, I would have been challenged to sew four stretchy triangle edges to a square. I also didn’t receive the memo to blunt pointy triangle tips.

An additional stumbling block would have been the inevitable skewing of directional fabric. It’s no wonder I used 6½” and 3½” acrylic squares as templates to cut the same size fabric squares previously detailed.

I belonged to a quilters group on CompuServe during this time. Every month we exchanged by mail, hand-cut 6″ charm squares based on that month’s theme. I stuffed a dresser drawer max with envelopes of charms. Every so often I’d open the drawer and fondle the contents. I very much wanted to make a second Square-on-Point quilt of the charms but didn’t know of a way to efficiently cut patches from them.

Leftover envelopes of charm squares

Leftover envelopes of charms

It would be wasteful, impractical and for me impossible to cut triangles, and/or squares, from the charms. I stewed over this quandary until the day came when, bound and extremely determined, I figured out how I might efficiently turn squares of fabric into Square-on-Point blocks. All that fondling came down to a few intense hours of trial, error and success. The outcome is this unique PDF which is downloadable.

Square-on-Point Cutting Guide

Square-on-Point Cutting Guide

Download This PDF »

How to efficiently cut the patches from squares:

1. Trim away excess margins to make the CuttingLines™ pattern just under 8” square

2. Center it on a stack of right-side up fabric squares that are at least 8” on each side

3. Cut through outside dashed lines

4. Cut the resulting 7¼” stack, edge-to-edge, through the four diagonal lines. That’s it.

The outcome is blunted triangles and squares cut accurately without waste or measuring. Every square of fabric yields the equivalent of one block and directional prints are cut without special consideration.

Working with four squares of fabric

Working with four squares of fabric

The construction method of the Square-on-Point is invisible but the backstory is that I cut fabric squares apart only to put them back together again. Sort of.

The book Rotary Cutting Revolution includes information about top piecing and truing-up this block. It’s available in paperback and Kindle and versions. The e-book version is included for free when you enroll Anita’s Craftsy class Traditional Blocks Made Simple as bonus material.

Start piecing in no time with innovative tips & tricks!

traditional blocks made simple

And get Anita’s e-book Rotary Cutting Revolution FREE when you join her online class Traditional Blocks Made Simple.Enroll Now »