Project: Diffraction Quilt Block | OLFA - Craft OLFA – Craft

Project: Diffraction Quilt Block

By Yvonne Fuchs

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I love all the angles included on the OLFA 6” x 24” Frosted Acrylic Ruler, and they inspired me to create the dramatic Diffraction Quilt Block.

The Diffraction Quilt Block is created using a repeated slice and insert progression. Careful trimming after each sewn seam is the key to accurately piecing the block.

One possible 40” square quilt design using the Diffraction block is shown above. This project tutorial has detailed step by step instructions on how to create a 10” finished Diffraction Quilt Block and yardage requirements for you to create the quilt top.

Materials

 

General Tips:

  • Skill level: Confident Intermediate to Advanced
  • Sew all seams with a scant ¼” seam allowance
  • Press all seams toward the Ray Fabric
  • Read through the entire project instructions prior to beginning
  • WOF = Width of Fabric
  • RST = Right Sides Together

Fabric Required for (1) Diffraction Quilt Block

  • Background Fabric (Kona Cotton Nightfall)
    • (1) 12” square
  • Ray Fabric (Kona Cotton White)
    • (1) 1” x 17 ½” rectangle
    • (2) 1” x 14” rectangles
    • (2) 1” x 12 ½” rectangles

Fabric Required for 40” Square Diffraction Quilt

  • 2 ½ yards of background fabric (Kona Cotton Nightfall)
    • (4) 12” x WOF strips
      • Subcut (12) 12” squares
    • (2) 10 ½” x WOF strips
      • Subcut (4) 10 ½” squares
    • 1 ¼ yards of ray fabric (Kona Cotton White)
      • (25) 1” x WOF strips
        • Subcut (11) 1” x 17 ½” rectangles
        • Subcut (22) 1” x 14” rectangles
        • Subcut (22) 1” x 12 ½” rectangles
      • 2 ¾ yards of backing fabric
      • ½ yards of binding fabric

OPTION A – Make (1) Inverted Block as shown

In addition to the fabric requirements and cutting directions above, also cut:

  • Background Fabric
    • Cut (2) 1” x WOF strips
      • Subcut (1) 1” x 17 ½” rectangles
      • Subcut (2) 1” x 14” rectangles
    • Ray Fabric
      • Cut (1) 12” square

OPTION B – Make all blocks with the same background / ray fabric

In addition to the fabric requirements and cutting directions above, also cut:

  • Ray Fabric
    • Cut (3) 1” x WOF strips
      • Subcut (1) 1” x 17 ½” rectangles
      • Subcut (2) 1” x 14” rectangles
      • Subcut (2) 1” x 12 ½” rectangles

 

 

 

Ray 1

With the 6” x 24” ruler, align the 45° line along one side of the Background 12” square.

 

 

Make sure that the corner of the 12” square aligns with the edge of the 6” x 24” ruler and 45° line. The 6” x 24” ruler should pass through opposing corners of the 12” square.

 

Using a rotary cutter, cut the along the 6” x 24” ruler to cut the 12” square in half on the diagonal, making 2 triangles.

Right sides together (RST), align one edge of the Ray Fabric 1” x 17 ½” rectangle with one background triangle (along the edge that was just cut). Sew together with a scant ¼” seam allowance and press the seam toward the Ray Fabric.

Note that the edges of the cut background fabric are bias cuts, so care should be taken not to stretch or distort the block as it is sewn. The 1” x 17 ½” rectangle is generous, so aim to have an even amount of fabric overhanging each edge when aligning.

 

Using the 12 ½” Square Frosted Acrylic Ruler, align the top and left-hand side of the pieced unit with the 12” lines. Use your OLFA Rotary Cutter to trim the Ray Fabric on the right and top.

 

 

Rotate the pieced unit and align the bottom and right-hand side with the ruler’s 12” lines. Trim the Ray Fabric on the right and top.

 

 

 

Align the edge of the second Background Fabric triangle RST with the Ray Fabric rectangle such that the second background triangle is centered on the ray fabric triangle. Sew together with a scant ¼” seam allowance and press the seam toward the Ray Fabric.

 

After pressing the seam open, verify that the sewn Ray Fabric strip is ½” wide.

 

 

Using the 6” x 24” ruler, align the ¼” marks with one edge of the Ray Fabric strip and using a fabric safe marker, mark the center of the Ray Fabric.

 

 

Carefully align the 45° line on the 12 ½” square ruler with the halfway mark on the Ray Fabric, and square the pieced block to 11 ¾”. Make sure that the 11 ¾” marks on the ruler go beyond the bottom and left-hand edges prior to making the first two cuts so that the block can be rotated and trimmed on all 4 sides. Trim the block on the right and top.

 

 

Rotate the block and align the bottom and left-hand edges with the 11 ¾” lines. Trim the block on the right and top.

 

Ray 2

 

 

Align the 60° line on the 6” x 24” ruler with the left-hand edge of the block.

 

 

Make sure the edge of the ruler and 60° line intersect at the corner with the Ray Fabric.

 

 

Using a rotary cutter, cut along the 6” x 24” ruler to cut the square into two units.

 

 

Align one edge of a Ray Fabric 1” x 14” rectangle RST with the larger of the two units that were just cut. Sew together with a scant ¼” seam allowance and press the seam toward the Ray Fabric.

 

Note that the 1” x 14” rectangle is generous, so aim to have an even amount of fabric overhanging each edge when aligning.

 

 

Aligning the top and left-hand edge with the 11 ¾” lines on the 12 ½” ruler, trim the right-hand side of the block.

 

 

Align the edge of the second unit RST with the Ray Fabric rectangle.

 

 

Align the top triangle such that the “V” formed by the overlap is ¼” away from the edge, that way your needle will intersect with the point of the “V” when you stitch the seam. Sew together with a scant ¼” seam allowance and press the seam toward the Ray Fabric.

 

 

Carefully align the 45° line on the 12 ½” square ruler with the halfway mark on the Ray Fabric, and square the pieced block to 11 ½”. Make sure that the 11 ½” marks on the ruler go beyond the bottom and left-hand edges prior to making the first two cuts so that the block can be rotated and trimmed on all 4 sides, but the goal should be to trim as little from the bottom and left-hand edges of the block as possible. Trim the block on the right and top.

 

 

Rotate the block and align the bottom and left-hand edges with the 11 ½” lines. Trim the block on the right and top.

 

 

Align the 15° line on the 6” x 24” ruler with the bottom edge of the block.

 

Ray 3

 

 

Make sure that the center of the ruler and 15° line intersect at the corner with the Ray Fabric.

 

 

Using a rotary cutter, cut along the 6” x 24” ruler to cut the square into two units.

 

 

Align one edge of a Ray Fabric 1” x 12 ½” rectangle RST with the larger of the two units that were just cut. Sew together with a scant ¼” seam allowance and press the seam toward the Ray Fabric.

 

Note that the 1” x 12 ½” rectangle is generous, so aim to have an even amount of fabric overhanging each edge when aligning.

 

 

Aligning the top and left-hand edge with the 11 ½” lines on the 12 ½” ruler, trim the right-hand side of the block.

 

 

Align the edge of the second unit RST with the Ray Fabric rectangle.

 

 

Align the top triangle such that the “V” formed by the overlap is ¼” away from the edge, that way your needle will intersect with the point of the “V” when you stitch the seam. Sew together with a scant ¼” seam allowance and press the seam toward the Ray Fabric.

 

 

Carefully align the 45° line on the 12 ½” square ruler with the halfway mark on the Ray Fabric, and square the pieced block to 11 ¼”. Make sure that the 11 ¼” marks on the ruler go beyond the bottom and left-hand edges prior to making the first two cuts so that the block can be rotated and trimmed on all 4 sides, but the goal should be to trim as little from the bottom and left-hand edges of the block as possible. Trim the block on the right and top.

 

 

Rotate the block and align the bottom and left-hand edges with the 11 ¼” lines. Trim the block on the right and top.

 

Ray 4

 

 

Align the 30° line on the 6” x 24” ruler with the left-hand edge of the block.

 

 

Make sure the edge of the ruler and 30° line intersect at the corner with the Ray Fabric.

 

 

Using a rotary cutter, cut along the 6” x 24” ruler to cut the square into two units.

 

 

Align one edge of a Ray Fabric 1” x 14” rectangle RST with the larger of the two units that were just cut. Sew together with a scant ¼” seam allowance and press the seam toward the Ray Fabric.

 

Note that the 1” x 14” rectangle is generous, so aim to have an even amount of fabric overhanging each edge when aligning.

 

 

Aligning the top and right-hand edge with the 11 ¼” lines on the 12 ½” ruler, trim the top of the block.

 

 

Align the edge of the second unit RST with the Ray Fabric rectangle.

 

 

Align the top triangle such that the “V” formed by the overlap is ¼” away from the edge, that way your needle will intersect with the point of the “V” when you stitch the seam. Sew together with a scant ¼” seam allowance and press the seam toward the Ray Fabric.

 

 

Carefully align the 45° line on the 12 ½” square ruler with the halfway mark on the Ray Fabric, and square the pieced block to 11”. Make sure that the 11” marks on the ruler go beyond the bottom and left-hand edges prior to making the first two cuts so that the block can be rotated and trimmed on all 4 sides, but the goal should be to trim as little from the bottom and left-hand edges of the block as possible. Trim the block on the right and top.

 

 

Note that in addition to aligning the 45° line on the 12 ½” square ruler with the halfway mark on the Ray Fabric, the 45° line should now also pass into the seam line point of the first pieced Ray Fabric, as shown above.

 

Rotate the block and align the bottom and left-hand edges with the 11” lines. Trim the block on the right and top.

 

 

 

Ray 5

 

 

Align the 15° line on the 6” x 24” ruler with the left-hand edge of the block (rotated to appear as the bottom edge of the block as shown above). Make sure that the center of the ruler and 15° line intersect at the corner with the Ray Fabric.

 

 

Using a rotary cutter, cut along the 6” x 24” ruler to cut the square into two units.

 

 

Align one edge of a Ray Fabric 1” x 12 ½” rectangle RST with the larger of the two units that were just cut. Sew together with a scant ¼” seam allowance and press the seam toward the Ray Fabric.

 

Note that the 1” x 12 ½” rectangle is generous, so aim to have an even amount of fabric overhanging each edge when aligning.

 

 

Aligning the top and right-hand edge with the 11” lines on the 12 ½” ruler, trim the top of the block.

 

 

Align the edge of the second unit RST with the Ray Fabric rectangle.

 

 

Align the top triangle such that the “V” formed by the overlap is ¼” away from the edge, that way your needle will intersect with the point of the “V” when you stitch the seam. Sew together with a scant ¼” seam allowance and press the seam toward the Ray Fabric.

 

 

Final trim the block to 10 ½” square, starting with the corner where all the Ray Fabrics intersect.

 

 

Align the 12 ½” square ruler 45° line with the marked line on the Ray Fabric and adjust the ruler until the transition from the Ray Fabric and Background Fabric falls at 1 ½” on both the top and right-hand side of the ruler.

 

 

Make sure that the 10 ½” marks on the ruler go beyond the bottom and left-hand edges for the first two cuts so that the block can be rotated and trimmed on all 4 sides. Trim the block on the right and top.

 

 

Rotate the block and align the bottom and left-hand edges with the 10 ½” lines. Trim the block on the right and top.

 

 

To create the Diffraction quilt shown at the beginning of this project, piece (12) Diffraction blocks. You may opt to piece all your Diffraction blocks using the same background and ray fabric (Option B) or you may invert the background and ray fabric for one block (Option A).

 

 

To create the inverted block, start with a Ray Fabric 12” square and follow the steps to piece Ray 1 and Ray 2 using a Background Fabric 1” x 17 ½” rectangle and 1” x 14” rectangle. Cut the angle as indicated for Ray 3 on the inverted block and also cut the indicated angle for Ray 3 on the extra Background Fabric 12” square (see above). Sew the inverted block and background fabric together and square as indicated to finish the Ray 3 step. Follow the steps to piece Ray 4 using a Background Fabric 1” x 14” rectangle. Cut the angle as indicated for Ray 5 on the inverted block and also cut the indicated angle for Ray 5 on the remaining unused Background Fabric 12” square from earlier. Sew the inverted block and background fabric together and square as indicated to finish the block / Ray 5 step.

 

Arrange the (12) Diffraction blocks and (4) 10 ½” background squares on a design wall, rotating the blocks to match the design. Piece the blocks into rows and press the seams. Sew the rows together and press the seams to create a 40 ½” square quilt top.

 

Baste, quilt, and bind using your favorite methods.

 

View of the back of a Diffraction Quilt Block.

 

 

There are many other fun ways to combine and use a Diffraction block, and I look forward to seeing how it sparks your creativity!

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