Nov 16

Squares and Sparks (126)

This is my quilt #126, Squares and Sparks.  I finished this about a month back, but I wanted to share with you how I made it.  So, here is a free quilt pattern/ free quilt tutorial.  I have not written down the amount of fabric you’ll need, so it is not perfect, but I have included a paper piecing template.

I purchased a fabric line by Debra Valencia called “Silk Road” a while back.  I knew I wanted to make a quilt for my daughter, but a lot of the fabrics had very large prints.

large print quilt

This design was my way of solving the “large print” problem.  The large print fabrics are cut into squares and separated by white background fabric within a web of interconnected “sparks.”


It’s really a simple design.  There are three main blocks, one simple 4 1/2 inch square (4 inch final), a square in square 6 1/2 inch block (6 inch final) and a paper pieced rectangular block.


This is my original sketch.  In the real quilt, I added an additional white border to the outside, but I didn’t have enough room on this piece of paper to show the complete blocks.  I was going to have the Silk Road fabric be the entire 6×6 inch block, but after looking at it, I realized that there needed to be a little bit of distance between the sparks and the squares, so I added a half inch border all around the block.  That is why they are now square-in-square.

Block Breakdown:

make 63–6.5 by 6.5 inch blocks of square-in-square (below)

cut 32–6.5 by 4.5 inch background (white) rectangles

cut 32–4.5 by 4.5 inch background (white) squares

make 82–6.5 by 4.5 inch rectangular hourglass blocks (two triangles spark fabric, two triangles background fabric)

cut 48–4.5 by 4.5 inch spark fabric squares.

make 28–6.5 by 4.5 inch rectangular hourglass blocks (one triangle spark fabric)

(You can eliminate cutting the 32 background rectangles and 32 background squares if you just want to add your own border at the end.  You can instead use two 74.5 x 4.5 inch strip and two 86.5 x 4.5 inch strips as the border.  I like to have the seams as guidelines in putting together the quilt top, so even though it is extra work, it is work that I prefer.)

Square in Square:

You will need 48 square in square blocks for this quilt.


To construct each block, you will need:

One 5.5 x 5.5 inch square of your focus print fabrics (total of 48 for the quilt).

Two 5.5 x 1 inch strips of background fabric (total of 96 for the quilt).

Two 6.5 x 1 inch strips of background fabric (total of 96 for the quilt).

Sew the 5.5 x 1 inch strips to opposite sides of the print fabric.  Press.  Then, sew the two 6.5 x 1 inch strips to surround the print fabric with background.

Rectangular Hourglass blocks:

You will also need to construct two different types of hourglass blocks.  82 hour glass blocks need to have two edges be spark fabric, and two edges be background fabric.  28 hour glass blocks need only one edge to be spark fabric.  Here is how to make it.

spark paper piecing template

First, download this PDF and print off on your computer.  Each page should have 4 templates on them, and you should need 55 pages of templates for a total of 220 templates.  If you have never paper pieced before, please look at this tutorial before you start.  Make sure the edges of the  paper piecing template are 6.5 inches by 4.5 inches.


For the 82 hourglass blocks with two spark fabric, sew together two paper pieced triangles with the background in position 1 and the spark fabric in position 2.

For the 28 hourglass blocks with only one triangle of spark fabric, sew together two paper pieced triangles, one with the background in position 1 and spark fabric in position 2, the other with the background fabric in both positions 1 and 2. (see image above).

This means you will need a total of 192 triangle templates with both spark and background fabric and 28 triangle templates with two background fabrics. (Yes, you can use the paper piecing template to cut 28 triangles out of the background template, if you don’t want to paper piece those particular templates).


Time to sew the blocks together.  First, arrange your square in square blocks how you want them to be in the quilt.  Then, follow these guidelines in sewing your blocks together to make rows:


Then, we sew the rows together to make the quilt top.  This quilt top should be about 74 inches by 94 inches before washing.


I backed mine with this wonderful shiny and soft aqua colored minky, and quilted it using a double loopty-loop design.  My daughter chose this sweet pink flower print as the binding.

Sparks and squares

She put it on her bed as soon as I washed it, and she loves it.  Just in time for winter!


If you choose to make this quilt, please let me know how it went.  I would love to see it!

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. Abby says:

    Wow. That looks amazing. I think I have just found my challenge quilt top for 2014. It looks intimidating but your instructions look really good. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Karee says:

    Amazing block design — you just saved me endless cutting and piecing because as I looked at your cute quilt I thought, “2 Peak and Spikeys to make the hourglass.” But you did it on the diagonal. Brilliant!

  3. Carla says:

    I think framing the feature prints as you did makes all the difference. Lovely.