To the modern eye, early Amish quilts can look more like bold abstract paintings than bed-topping quilts! Dating back to the mid 1800's, Amish quilts used dark jewel-toned, solid wool fabrics and uncomplicated piecing. (Here's a link to a nice gallery of older Amish Quilts. )

One of the most classic Amish piecing patterns is a center diamond where the focal point is a square turned on its corner. This simple pattern is particularly appealing because of its clear, graphic quality and its large blocks of color that seem to vibrate and sing.  Working with just solid colored wool, the early Amish conjured some truly spectacular color schemes (like this one!).

In homage to these vibrant and wild combinations, we chose for our October Mini Quilt of the Month an eclectic mix of solids, from bright Kona Cotton in Coral to heathery Shot Cotton in Lilac .  And since we weren't bound by the same rules as the original Amish quilters, we also threw in a smattering of small dots and subtle prints to round out our beautiful, unruly fabric selections.

I had a real blast throwing my color preferences to the wind, purposefully putting together color combinations that I would normally avoid. The process was so creative and fun! Even the piecing itself is a bit more freewheeling than a normal quilt because you cut the pieces to size as you need them. Plus as an added bonus, once you get this pattern down you can make it any size, from a pin cushion to a queen-size bed! --Molly

PS- If you'd like to see all of the Mini Quilts in our series plese click here.

Materials

An assortment of at least seven different 1/4-yard pieces of pleasantly contrasting fabrics for the Top. I used . . .

You will also need . . .

Size

22 inches by 22 inches

Note

All seam allowances in this pattern are 1/4-inch unless otherwise noted.

Pattern

Cut and Piece the Diamond

Chose 2 fabrics, one to be your diamond and one to be the square surrounding it.

Cut the diamond fabric into a 6-inch square.

Cut the surrounding fabric into a 6 7/8-inch square.

Note: The way you make this diamond, and the rest of the quilt as well, could be done on any scale. To make the center any size just cut the surrounding square to be 7/8-inch larger than the diamond.

Cut the surrounding square diagonally in half from left to right and right to left thus making four equal triangles. These are the surrounding triangles.

Finger press your diamond fabric square in half lengthwise and widthwise.

Finger press the surrounding triangles in half widthwise.

Pin one of the surrounding triangles to one raw edge of the diamond square right sides together, lining up their finger pressed markings and thus centering the triangle.

Pin a second triangle to the opposite side of the diamond square in the same manner.

Sew the triangles to the diamond square and press the pieces flat, with the seam allowances towards the darker of the fabrics.

Pin the remaining two triangles to the square right sides together and lining up their finger pressed markings.

Sew them to the diamond square

Press the piece flat with the seam allowances towards the darker of the fabrics.

Tilt the piece so the diamond square orients as a diamond and the surrounding triangles create a square around it.

Trim off the extra bits from the sides.

Cut and Piece the First Border

Pick two fabrics to be the first border and the corners.

Cut the border fabric into a 2 1/2-inch strip from selvage to selvage.

Cut the corner fabric into four 2 1/2-inch squares.

Cut the border strip to be the same length one of the side of the center square.

Pin the cut border strip to the left edge of the center square right sides together.

Repeat for the right side of the center square.

Sew the strips on and press them flat, with the seam allowances pressed to the darker of the fabrics.

Pin one of the corner squares to the end of the unsewn border strip. Sew them together and press them flat.

Lay the sewn corner and border strip along the bottom raw edge of the quilt top so that the bottom raw edge of the quilt top is flush along the top raw edge of the border strip.

With a pencil, mark a vertical line 1/4-inch to the right of the seam between the center square and the right hand border strip.

Cut along the marked line.

Sew a second corner square to the cut side of the border strip, right sides together.

Sew this new, two cornered border piece to the bottom raw edge of the quilt top right sides together. Be careful to match up the border's corners to the corners of the center square.

Repeat for the top edge of the quilt top.

Cut and Piece the Second Border

Pick on fabric for the second border and cut it into two 3 1/2-inch strips from selvage to selvage.

Cut the strips into two pieces, the same length as the left and right raw edges of the quilt top.

Sew these two pieces to the left and right sides of the quilt top right sides together.

Cut the strips be the same length as the top and bottom raw edges of the quilt top.

Sew these pieces to the top and bottom raw sides, right sides together.

Cut and Piece the Third Border

Pick two fabrics, one to be the third border and one to be the corners.

Cut the border fabric into two 2-inch strips, selvage to selvage.

Cut the corner fabric into four 2-inch squares.

Cut the strips into two pieces, the same length as the left and right raw edges of the quilt top.

Sew these two pieces to the left and right sides of the quilt top right sides together.

Pin one of the corner squares to the end of an unsewn border strip. Sew them together and press them flat.

Lay this pieced border strip flush along the bottom of the quilt top with the corner piece at the left. Mark and cut it 1/4-inch past the seam between the right second and third border strips just as you did in the first border section.

Sew a second corner piece to the cut end of the border strip right sides together.

Sew this new, two cornered border piece to the bottom raw edge of the quilt top right sides together. Be careful to match up the border's corners to the corners of the center square.

Repeat for the top edge of the quilt top.

Finish

Cut the backing fabric to be 2-inches larger than the quilt top. Lay the backing piece down smoothly on a hard surface, place the batting on top of that, and then lay the quilt top, right side up, on top of that. This is your quilt sandwich.

Baste the sandwich together every 3-inches with bent arm safety pins.

Quilt your piece in the ditch along all of its seams.

Bind the quilt with the binding fabric.

If you want a more in-depth explanation of how to finish a quilt please visit  this previous story.