Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

Pat Speth Workshop…

Today I had the privilege of spending the day with Pat Speth of “Nickel Quilt” fame. 

 DSC02460 She is a wonderful teacher, with the perfect mix of organization and improvisation!!  She gave us lots of excellent ideas, advice  and techniques and then set us lose to work on our own quilts.

Her “Nickel” method is this…..

Start with two 5 inch squares, one light and one dark..

Draw a diagonal line on one of the fabrics and then sew a scant 1/4 inch seam on each side of the diagonal….


Cut along the diagonal…..DSC02459

Press open to form 2 half-square triangle blocks and trim them to 4-1/2 inchesDSC02461 Now for the important part…..slice this block in half from top to bottom at the 2-1/4 inch mark….


And, without moving the two cut pieces, cut horizontally  at 2-1/4 inches…..DSC02463

And look what you get…..DSC02464 …..two PERFECT 1/2 square triangles, one dark square and one light square.

The VERY best part about this method is that you only square-up ONE square and yet end up with four perfectly sized patches.

These can be used for any block that uses this combination of squares.

My first block came out looking like this…..

DSC02457  and Pat sweetly pointed out that I had a rogue patch facing the wrong direction.  Oh well, I know how to un-sew!!

At the end of the day, I had put together 10 blocks and am happy with this start to my next project…..DSC02493 Pat also showed us how to use her 5 inch squares to make picket fence blocks, hourglass blocks and combination blocks with half square and quarter square blocks.


In looking at this technique, I really like the idea, but think that I might prefer to start with 5-1/2 inch squares, trim to 5 inch and make the sub-cuts at 2-1/2.  This seems to be a format  and size that fits me better.


Now for this next photo, we couldn’t decide if this was cute or just creepy.   Sherry had a stuffed bear that her Mother had made many years ago.   Not really knowing what to do with it, she turned it into a pincushion……


2 thoughts on “Pat Speth Workshop…

  1. I do like it when a bit of judicious cutting produces something that looks quite complex. Your blocks look great. I have to say that using teddy as a pincushion must be a bit like having a voodoo doll in the sewing room.

  2. Great technique. And I really like your idea of changing the size. That make it very useable for a lot of patterns. Thanks!

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