Figure 1: Block construction
Figure 1: Block construction

Blackford's Beauty

This block can be made by quick piecing or by cutting templates and is suitable for hand as well as machine piecing. This block is effective in two or more colours and if you change the tones of the diamond pieces it can look quite three dimensional.

The block is based on a four patch grid so it is suited to block sizes that are easily divisible by four. The template sizes are for a 12in block. To draw another size take a square the size of the finished block and draw an underlying grid of 64 squares (eight by eight). Mark on the lines that you need and carefully cut apart or trace onto template plastic.

Figure 2: Quick piecing squares
Figure 2: Quick piecing squares

Quick piecing squares

If you are only making one block then these are not so relevant, but if you are making a number then the time saved starts to mount up. Cut the corner squares as strips and piece light to dark. Cut these into strips and turn alternately to make the corner units. Use the same method for the rectangle and square unit. Cut a wide and a narrow strip and cut the 2in strips off after piecing. See Figure 2.

Three colour block

Follow the construction diagram in Figure 1 to piece a three colour Blackford's Beauty block.

Figure 3: Layout showing 3D effect
Figure 3: Layout showing 3D effect

The scrap block

If you grade your scraps into light and dark and use as shown in the diagram then the shapes start to appear 3D. A whole quilt could be made using scraps as long as the tones of light and dark were in the same place.

Figure 4: Quick pieced diamonds
Figure 4: Quick pieced diamonds

Quick piecing diamonds

Diamonds can be made using a strip by putting a square the same width RS down on one end and sewing along the diagonal. Press open and add another square to the opposite end ensuring the points are going the right way. See Fig 4. If you are making a lot of blocks it is always quicker to make the same stage at the same time.

This block is also known as Black Beauty.