This project starts with squares. You can use any size square you want, depending on what size you want your hour-glass block to be. I started with 5″ squares -a perfect project for Charm Packs – and ended up with a 3 1/2″ (finished) block. So the finished hour-glass block will be about an inch and a half smaller than your original square.
This little table topper measures 24″ x 24″. I wanted it 7 blocks x 7 blocks. The number of pre-cut squares is the exact number of finished blocks you will have. That part is easy. I needed one charm-pack consisting of 40 different squares + 9 more 5″ squares. I actually added a 50th square, because I wanted an even number of lights and darks, but if you’re going super scrappy, even numbers don’t matter. Does that make sense? Are you still with me?
I promise that the block itself is super simple.
I used lovely dark brown thread so you could see both seams.
At this point I just throw all of these pieces into a pile to match-up after all the cutting is done.
This part is purely optional!! Now, if you want to get really technical, here is a pressing method where four seams intersect, to make it not so bulky where all that fabric overlaps each other in the middle. Once again, this is purely optional. So if this sounds confusing, don’t stress about it.
Before you open up the block, pull the right side and left side of the folded blocks in opposite directions. This will loosen up the seam a little.
Now press the four intersecting seams in a rotating pattern. This will create a little mini four-patch on the back side of the block where all the seams meet. This just makes the block flatter and less bulky to quilt through later. Okay, we are done with that little trick.
Once you have pressed all your blocks from the front to make sure they lie flat, now is the time to square-up. I know some people think this is tedious and unnecessary. I used to be one of those people. But now I am a squaring-up convert. It makes the quilt come together so much easier and look SO much nicer in the long run.
I squared these blocks up to 4″ exactly. A ruler with a diagonal line really helps in this case. You can line-up the diagonal line on your diagonal seam. Then put the middle measurement of the size you want to square it to on your center point. So, for example since we are squaring this block to 4″ I centered the 2″ mark on the center of my block and trimmed the sides. Then I rotated the ruler and trimmed the other two sides. If I was squaring-up a 6″ block, I would place the 3″ mark at the center of my block, etc.
And that is how you make a quick Hour-Glass block with no pre-cut triangles. Pretty nifty, huh? From there you can assemble them or do with them any thing you want! I’d love to see if you do something. Be sure and let me know! Also, PLEASE tell me if something needs clarification in this tutorial. I’m so happy to do it.And now, we are off to celebrate Pioneer Day today – our state holiday here in Utah. It commemorates the first Mormon pioneer settlers arriving in a barren wasteland. People celebrate with parades, 10K’s, rodeos, BBQ’s, and fireworks. Our family is going with friends to some nearby mountain lakes to relax for the day and get out of the heat. Yee-haw! We should celebrate by having to walk barefoot over the sagebrush in ankle-length skirts, just to make us more grateful. Or spend the night in snake-infested dug-outs with no air conditioning. Or making quilts. [I should suggest this to my husband.] Pioneers did that too. I think that’s why it’s in my genes.