MJ
Kinman

Diamonds & Drama Queens
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April 2022: Daisy’s Wicked Pink Diamond

The Inspiration

Our Diamonds & Drama Queens pattern for April is inspired by a pinkish-red diamond that I’d like to think was similar to one owned by Daisy Fellowes, heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune. Daisy was allegedly wearing a fabulous pink diamond brooch when she met with her friend, the Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli. The striking color inspired Elsa to invent the color “shocking pink” and use it to launch her 1937 perfume collection

Princess Red Fancy Diamond Straightened all different quads
Princess Cut Pinkish-Red Fancy Diamond

The Pattern

Colorway Document

I’ve provided several different colorways for this month’s gem pattern:

Shocking Pink (new this month)
Emerald
Golden Topaz (new this month)
Tanzanite (new this month)
White Diamond

As usual, I’ve provided fabric translations in 3 different fabric lines: KONA Cotton Solids, Moda Bella Solids, and Painter’s Palette Solids (by Paintbrush Studio Fabrics). Please keep in mind that only KONA has the closest color match since they have the most robust line of solids. I’ve tried to select colors from Moda Bella Solids and Painter’s Palette that come close, but sometimes it was a bit of a stretch.

In this pattern, I attempted to make the center part of the gemstone darker than the surrounding facets (except in the case of the White Diamond, where the center is lighter because I flipped the color code progression). Since this sometimes resulted in the center becoming TOO dark, I switched out some of the colors which resulted in the code progression to not be a true progression from lights to darks.

For example, in some cases, you’ll see that the code “F” is lighter in value than the previous codes. Also please note that I used 2 codes for Black facets in the White Diamond colorway. When you look at it, you might think it’s a typo; it is not.

As I always say, there are no wrong answers to color! I designed my block and then played with the colors until my heart said, “Yes! This is it.” That resulted in some changes to the value progression.

I hope you are beginning to feel comfortable, too, playing with your color options to satisfy your heart’s desire, rather than sticking with the instructions. I want your gemstones to sparkle in a way that brings you maximum JOY.

Shine on!


March 2022: Babe’s Marquise Quilt Block

March Mid-Month Meet-Up

This video is a recording of March’s Mid-Month Meet-Up. Since this is the last month for those who joined in 2021 and have decided not to renew, I wanted to provide this trunk show for them as a “thank you” for joining me on the adventure. Thanks for making beautiful gems with me!

Video: Babe’s Marquise

Enjoy this month’s presentation all about Babe Paley and her fabulous jewelry.

The Inspiration

This month’s gem is inspired by a stunning amethyst, diamond, ruby and gold ring created by the house of Verdura. Verdura was the favored jeweler of high society, including Babe Paley, who was nicknamed “The Queen of New York.”

verdura 12

The Pattern

Colorway Document

I’ve provided several different colorways for this month’s gem pattern. I’m introducing a collection of purplish-pinks and periwinkle fabrics for this month’s new color: amethyst.

In addition, I’ve provided all 5 of the previous colorways, too: Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire, Diamond & Citrine.

All the colorways are offered with a white and black background. Depending on the color you choose, some of the backgrounds work better than others. But, as always, this is all about personal preference. Select the background that makes your heart happy.

February 2022: The Taylor Emerald Quilt Block

Mid-Month Meet-Up
(AM Edition)

Hi there! Here is a recording of our Mid-Month Meet-Up Zoom time together last Wednesday morning (Feb 23, 2022). It was great to catch up with all of you who could make the meetings! In this recording, there’s some fun catch-up chat at first. Then at about the 6:30-minute mark, we start sharing our Taylor Emeralds and other projects.

Then I thought you might be interested in knowing why and how I add gallery facings to my quilts rather than traditional bindings. That short presentation starts at about the 49-minute mark.

If you’d like to review the PDF document of the presentation, you can click the button below to download the document. I just ask that, as always, you use this for personal use. Thank you!

Be well and shine on!

Video Presentation

Hi, everyone! Here’s the edited version of our Wednesday morning pattern release Zoom meeting (February 9th). I had such a great time meeting all of you that day. For those who couldn’t join us, I hope you enjoy the presentation.

I decided to keep the conversation we had before and after the actual presentation because there was so many good suggestions. Also, I hope this shows just how amazing all our members are. My presentation starts at the 31:43 minute mark.

Be well and shine on!

The Inspiration

Our Diamonds & Drama Queens pattern for February is inspired by a gorgeous bluish-green emerald ring owned by Elizabeth Taylor. I fell for this gemstone because of its single flash of light at its center. That seductive flash of light is surrounded by a pool of deep, deep green. I’m ready to dive in!

This was just one of many emeralds owned by Liz. Richard Burton gave her many of them, purchased from world-renowned jeweler Bulgari. As Burton put it, “I introduced her to beer. She introduced me to Bulgari.”

This month’s design is very straightforward – all straight lines and simplified piecing. The hardest part of this month’s block will be deciding which colorway to use.

Enjoy!

emerald ring
Liz Taylor’s Emerald Ring

The Pattern

Colorway Document

I’ve provided several different colorways for this month’s gem pattern. The gorgeous emerald ring that inspired the design flashes several shades of a mysterious bluish-green. I tried to replicate that in my fabric recommendations.

However, I also thought it would be fun to turn it into a canary diamond, a sapphire, a ruby, and a white diamond, as well. And of course, YOU can create this gem in any colorway you wish. Remember: gems come in an infinite number of colors. There is no WRONG answer when it comes to colored gemstones!

I’ve also offered the design with a white and black background. Depending on the color you choose, some of the backgrounds work better than others. But, as always, this is all about personal preference. Select the background that makes your heart happy.

Taylor Emerald Collage White

January 2022: The Hope Diamond Quilt Block

Pattern Release Video

Hi, everyone! Here’s the edited version of our Wednesday morning pattern release Zoom meeting (January 12th). I had such a great time meeting all of you that day. For those who couldn’t join us, I hope you enjoy the presentation. Be well and shine on!

DDQ EWM IG 1
Evelyn Walsh McLean & the Hope Diamond

The Inspiration

Our Diamonds & Drama Queens pattern for January is inspired by the Hope Diamond, arguably the most famous diamond in the world. The Hope is celebrated for its color and weight. At 45.52 carats, it’s the world’s largest deep blue diamond found so far. It measures 1” wide, slightly more than 3/4” long, and about 1/2” deep.

Discovered in a mine in India is the 18th century, it was originally a much larger stone weighing 115 carats. It was cut down twice to its current size and barely survived the French Revolution.

hopediamondatlanta
Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution

It passed through the hands of multiple owners until landing with Pierre Cartier, the head of the New York house of Cartier. Pierre, being a much better marketer than salesman, he concocted a story of a “curse” in an attempt to attract attention to a stone that no one seemed interested in. His favorite customer (and one of my favorite Drama Queens of all time), Evelyn Walsh McLean, bought it and decided it would bring her good fortune.

I’ll admit that this month’s pattern may be challenging. There are a good number of pieces and curves to manage. If you are new to this style of piecing, don’t worry! I’ll walk you through it, but I’d encourage all our new members to consider making one of the larger sized blocks.  Enjoy!

Hope Collage White

The Pattern

I tried very hard to keep the pattern as true to the shape and spirit of the Hope Diamond as possible.

This is a great example of how asymmetrical gems can be, especially ancient gems. And that’s what I love about the most interesting gems. They invite your eye to travel around and through their color and light.

This pattern is also an example of using highly saturated colors surrounded by grayish colors to create glow. The Hope has a lovely bright blue twinkle to it and I tried to capture that in the colorway. I also used that same idea in the other 3 colorways as well.

This month’s pattern has nearly 100 pieces in it. While I did create a 6″ pattern for those of you who like to try the itty-bitty pretties, I strongly suggest that those of you who are new to this process work with the 18″ pattern.

Hope Diamond January 2022 JPG

Colorway Document

While I’ve provided a colorway for the beautiful blue color of the actual Hope Diamond, I thought it would be fun to turn it into a canary diamond, an emerald and a ruby, as well. However, YOU can create this gem in any colorway you wish. Remember: gems come in an infinite number of colors. There is no WRONG answer when it comes to colored gemstones!

Hope Collage black

Demo Video: Cutting Curves with the “Rock & Roll” Method

Here’s a quick video I created during another class showing how I like to cut curves. Check it out!


December 2021: “The Rembrandt” Diamond Block

Amsterdam
The Rembrandt Diamond

The Inspiration

Our Diamonds & Drama Queens pattern for December is inspired by the Rembrandt Diamond, a stunning 42.27-carat round, brilliant-cut black diamond. This beauty was cut from a 125-carat rough black diamond and took three years to cut and polish. It’s currently housed at the Diamond Museum in Amsterdam.

Very little has been written about black diamonds and even less about their color. One expert who wrote the definitive book on all aspects of the diamond industry wrote: “Prominent Diamantaires have long declared that there are no black diamonds and they they exist only in detective stories.”

Since then several notable black diamonds have been discovered and introduced to the world, including the Rembrandt Diamond. I share stories of a few of them in my presentation this month.  Enjoy!

Black Diamond cropped
Black diamond image on which the pattern is based

I had fun learning about black diamonds this month. In this video, you’ll meet some of the more famous ones. And, yes, there are a couple of Russian princesses in the story. (It seems like there’s ALWAYS a Russian princess or two lurking about when it comes to famous diamonds, doesn’t it?)

In addition, I learned that black diamonds get their color in a way that is completely different than how other colored diamonds get theirs. If you remember from previous months’ presentations, some “fancy” diamonds (the official name for colored diamonds) have a few stray molecules of trace elements like boron or nitrogen, green diamonds have sat too close to a source of radiation, and pink, red & purple diamonds get their color because of some kind of anomaly in their crystal structure. Black diamonds get their color for another reason entirely. Enjoy!

The Pattern

I’ve come to love the strong bold lines of black diamonds. Because they are opaque, the basic faceting pattern is easy spot and delivers a graphic punch. I think I like them for the same reason I like the work of painters of the Hard Edge movement such as Lorser Feitelson.

Hard Edge Painting by Lorser Feitelson
Hard Edge Painting by Lorser Feitelson

These gems are truly a study in value contrast. The placement of the different values adds dimension to these beauties. While I only provide you with the single colorway of black and white with this pattern, you can certainly replace the gray palette with any hue you like, creating any colored gemstone you want. I hope you enjoy creating your own “Rembrandt”!

I want to be sure to point out that, with this freezer paper pattern, you’ll want to be sure to cut off the corner pieces first before slicing up the rest of the facets. The corner pieces must remain whole, because they are the last pieces to add to the fully pieced gem block. See Step 10 in the directions.

When it comes time to cutting the curved pieces from your fabric, here’s a quick video from another project that demonstrates how I like to use the “rock-and-roll” method using my rotary cutter and ruler.


November 2021: “Red Cross Diamond” Gem Block

Actual Red Cross Diamond Image
The Red Cross Diamond

The Inspiration

Our Diamonds & Drama Queens pattern for November is inspired by the Red Cross Diamond, an enormous 205.07-carat, cushion-shaped, brilliant-cut canary diamond.

The Red Cross is the 4th largest yellow diamond in the world. It was auctioned by Christie’s of London in 1918 to benefit the British Red Cross Society. It’s name is also appropriate since the diamond displays a very clear cross pattern from the table view.

red cross diamond 2

Another view of the Red Cross Diamond

It’s believed that a member of a European royal family bought the Red Cross that day in 1918, that it changed hands several times, and eventually came into the possession of an American businessman.

Here’s where I’m going to put a twist on the story and introduce you to an astoundingly wealthy woman of the American Gilded Age who also became an icon for women’s suffrage: Alva Vanderbilt. This woman owned scads of gemstones, one of which could have been similar to the Red Cross. Please know that I’m not suggesting that she actually owned it! I’m using this opportunity to introduce you to TWO “gems”: the Red Cross Diamond and Alva Vanderbilt.

Alva Portrait 2
Alva Vanderbilt at her famous costume ball

Alva, a Southern girl from a prestigious but poor family, married the outrageously wealthy William Kissam Vanderbilt. The Vanderbilt family was considered to be New Money and therefore not eligible to enter New York society which was singularly controlled by Carolyn Astor during the Gilded Age. However, Alva launched a major offensive against the formidable Mrs. Astor….and won. I’ll share that story and more of Alva’s life in the video I’m preparing for you. I hope to have that video loaded by noon on Tuesday, 11/2. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, here are the patterns and colorway chart for you to make your own sparkling gemstone block. Enjoy!

DDQ November Colorway Collage WHITE
The Red Cross Diamond Colorways with White Background

Meet the Two “Gems”

Here’s the video I put together introducing you to the Red Cross Diamond and Alva Vanderbilt Whitney. I cover only her young years and early married life when she was married to William Kissam Vanderbilt. During that time she threw a legendary party that changed New York Society forever.

We’ll revisit Alva in a future Diamonds & Drama Queens feature in 2022 when I share with you all about her daughter the Countess and her work for women’s suffrage. Stay tuned in 2022!

The Pattern

I want to be sure to point out that, with this freezer paper pattern, you’ll want to be sure to cut off the corner pieces first before slicing up the rest of the facets. The corner pieces must remain whole, because they are the last pieces to add to the fully pieced gem block. See Step 10 in the directions.

And just a few more tips about those curves: I prefer to use scissors when cutting the curved pieces from the freezer paper chart. I feel it gives me more control and more even, smooth curve.

When it comes time to cutting the curved pieces from your fabric, here’s a quick video from another project that demonstrates how I like to use the “rock-and-roll” method using my rotary cutter and ruler.

The video also demonstrates how to extend the hash marks into the seam allowance on both the gem AND the background piece before removing the freezer paper prior to easing in the curves.

The video also shows how I ease in the curved pieces after removing the freezer paper. You’ll see just how important it is to mark those hash marks on the seam allowance!

Cutting Curves From Fabric Facets: A Demonstration Using the Garnet Birthstone Pattern

Colorways

To access the downloadable PDF file for the colorway chart and list of suggested fabrics for each color, click the file to the right (or below if viewing on your phone):

To access the patterns in one or all 3 sizes, click on the links below:


October 2021: “The Duke Diamond” Gem Block

787b3022e64c3f8b5fc2817ceda9bd15 doris duke circle of friends
Doris Duke, our inspiration for October’s gem block

The Inspiration

Colorways

French Cut Diamond and Onyx Engagement Ring 12203
French-Cut Diamond and
Onyx Engagement Ring
Duke Diamond JPG
Duke Diamond Chart
Duke Diamond Diamond Colorway JPG
Duke Diamond pattern in Diamond Colorway

Doris Duke lived in luxury all her life. When her elderly father and tobacco magnate Buck Duke died in 1925, she became the richest 12-year-old in the world. Doris lived life on her own terms. She sought to preserve her father’s legacy, create her own career, manage multiple love affairs and marriages, and give generously to causes that mattered to her. Yet she remained an enigma, aloof and aloft from those who wished to own her.

The French-cut faceting pattern evolved from the table-cut faceting pattern, one of the very first faceting patterns for diamonds. The French-cut regained popularity in the 1920’s in response to a need for a simply, yet spectacular, faceting pattern for small stones.

Duke Diamond Colorway Collage REV
Duke Diamond pattern in 5 colorways

The Pattern

Colorways

To access the downloadable PDF file for the colorway chart and list of suggested fabrics for each color, click the button below:

9″ Block

12″ Block

18″ Block

The Story

I hope you enjoy learning more about Doris Duke and her amazing life!


September 2021: “The Countess” Gem Block

Bismarck Sapphire 2
Bismarck Sapphire

The Inspiration

Our Diamonds & Drama Queens pattern for September is inspired by the Bismarck Sapphire, a 98.57-carat Burmese sapphire. It’s exceptional for its outstanding clarity, rich blue color, and the fact that it is one of the largest and finest sapphires of its kind.

Historical records suggest that it was acquired by the Countess von Bismarck (nee Frances “Mona” Strader) who was born in Louisville, Kentucky and raised near Lexington, Kentucky. She likely acquired it in India while on her year-long honeymoon with husband #2, Harrison Williams. Harrison was her senior by 24 years and known as the richest man in America.

After Harrison’s death in 1953, Mona married Count Edward von Bismarck (grandson of Germany’s “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck) that same year. It was during her marriage to the Count that she decided to donate her fabulous sapphire to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in 1967.

Mona portrait3
Mona von Bismarck
Mona portrait 2
Mona von Bismarck
Mona Drama Queen 1
Mona von Bismarck

The Pattern

The pattern showcases the oval sapphire’s lovely faceting. You’ll notice that the colorways emphasize the glowing hue of the gem. Please note that the Diamond colorway inverts the value progression — the “A” code is black and the “G” code is white. There are 8 colors in this pattern, one more than in previous patterns.

Bismarck Sapphire Codes Completed JPG
The Countess with Codes
The Countess Collage on White
The Countess Collage on White
The Countess Collage on Black
The Countess Collage on Black

Colorways

To access the downloadable PDF file for the colorway chart and list of suggested fabrics for each color, click the button below:

To access the downloadable PDF file for the charts in 9″, 12″ & 18″, click one of the buttons below:

9″ Block

12″ Block

18″ Block

The Story

I hope you enjoy learning about the magnificent Mona von Bismarck, the elegant woman who defined the art of living well in the 20th Century.


August 2021: “Maximilian’s Folly” Gem Block

Maximilian Emerald
Maximilian Emerald

The Inspiration

Our Diamonds & Drama Queens pattern for August is inspired by the Maximilian Emerald, a 21.04-carat Columbian emerald. It was allegedly owned by Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, archduke of Austria. Maximilian was persuaded by Napoleon III to depose the existing emperor of Mexico, Benito Juarez, and take his place. Maximilian and his wife Carlotta were crowned Emperor and Empress of Mexico in 1864. He was executed by troops loyal to Juarez just three years later when Juarez retook Mexico City.

The gem came into possession of the Cartier brothers who set it with baguette diamonds on either side. Marjorie Merriweather post purchased it in 1929 and later donated it to the Smithsonian in 1964.

I fell in love with this emerald’s bluish green hue that includes flashes of bright acid green. The special Maximilian Emerald green colorway is therefore an analogous colorway that blends colors on both the blue-side and the yellow-side of green. I also thought you all might need a bit of a piecing break; this pattern only has 44 facets.

The Pattern

The pattern showcases the long edges of an emerald-cut gemstone. To be sure your facets are straight after sewing, be sure to place those long edges on the straight of grain (the grainline parallel to the selvedge).

Maximilians Folly rev V2 FINAL CHART
Maximilians Folly Chart
Maximilians Folly Collage Black Background
Maximilians Folly Collage Black Background
Maximilians Folly Collage White Background 1
Maximilians Folly Collage White Background

Colorways

To access the downloadable PDF file for the colorway chart and list of suggested fabrics for each color, click the button below:

To access the downloadable PDF file for the charts in 9″, 12″ & 18″, click one of the buttons below:

9″ Block

12″ Block

18″ Block

The Story

Enjoy learning about the Maximilian Emerald from its reputed origins in Columbia to its forever home the Smithsonian as part of the National Gem Collection — thanks to Marjorie Merriweather Post.


July 2021: “Polaris” Gem Block

Polar Star Diamond
Polar Star Diamond (1st image)
the polar star diamond new solo
The Polar Star Diamond (2nd image)

The Inspiration

Our Diamonds & Drama Queens pattern for July is inspired by the Polar Star Diamond, a 41.28-carat, pillow-shaped, brilliant-cut “Golconda” diamond. It’s been called “the brightest diamond ever seen.”  It derives its name from the 8-pointed star cut on its pavilion. And it’s said to be so perfectly cut that it can be balanced on its culet.

I really enjoyed sharing the story of this lovely gemstone with you because of all the amazing personalities that have come into contact with it over the centuries. There’s no shortage of drama queens (and kings) with this piece of ice! I’ve tried to share as much as I can about it and them in the video below.

The Pattern

The pattern showcases the 8-pointed star cut on the Polar Star’s culet. While it looks like there are a bunch of set-in seams, I assure you, there are none.

Polar Star Chart FINAL jpg
Polaris Chart
Polar Star DDQ Collage
Polaris Colorways

To access the downloadable PDF file for the colorway chart and list of suggested fabrics for each color, click the button below:

To access the downloadable PDF file for the charts in 9″, 12″ & 18″, click one of the buttons below:

9″ Block

12″ Block

18″ Block

The Story

Enjoy learning about the Polar Star and the characters who were part of its history!


June 2021: “Peggy’s Skating Rink” Gem Block

20672 Portuguese Diamond
The Portuguese Diamond
once owned by Peggy Hopkins Joyce

Our Diamonds & Drama Queens pattern for June is inspired by the Portuguese Diamond, a spectacular 127-carat, octagonal-cut diamond owned by former Ziegfeld Follies girl and collector of husbands, Peggy Hopkins Joyce. Some claimed that Peggy’s married lover, Walter Chrysler (the car guy), presented the gem to her during their affair.

PHJ8
Scan 20210531
Peggy Hopkins Joyce
PHJ16

When Peggy sold the gem to Harry Winston in 1951, he concocted a story that suggested its mysterious haze was indicative of the finest Brazilian diamonds. He reasoned that since all the important colonial Brazilian diamonds had become the property of the Portuguese Crown, it was likely that this diamond was a former crown jewel.

Diamond feature
The Portuguese Diamond featuring it’s soft yellow hue (graded “M” by the GIA)

None of the stories above are true. In reality, the diamond was discovered in South Africa about 1910 and was acquired by the venerable jewelry house Black, Starr & Frost. Peggy bought the diamond for herself by exchanging it for a $350,000 string of pearls and $23,000 in cash – a total of about $5.7 million in today’s dollars.

Peggys Prize June 2021 Fully Charted REV RESIZED
The Chart for “Peggy’s Skating Rink”

The pattern above showcases the octagonal shape and step cuts radiating outward from the culet. To ensure lovely, straight facets, be sure to place the long edges parallel with the straight of grain.

IMPORTANT: I admit this is a challenging pattern due to the small pieces, so I have some modifications for you to consider if you wish. They’re in the instructions AND I show you how to make them in the video below. After I talk about the pattern and the modifications to avoid dealing with the itty-bitty facets in the center, I go on to share Peggy’s story with you. Enjoy making June’s gem!

Peggys Prize June 2021 Blue Colorway
Peggy’s Skating Rink (June 2021 Blue Colorway)
Peggys Prize June 2021 Yellow Colorway
Peggy’s Skating Rink (June 2021 Yellow Colorway)
Peggys Prize June 2021 Pink Colorway
Peggy’s Skating Rink (June 2021 Pink Colorway)
Peggys Prize June 2021 ruby Colorway
Peggy’s Skating Rink (June 2021 Ruby Colorway)
Peggys Prize June 2021 Diamond Colorway JPG black bkgrd
Peggy’s Skating Rink (June 2021 Diamond Colorway)

Here are two examples of what my suggested modifications to this block look like. Notice that the center facet (the culet) disappears and is replaced instead by a dramatic Iron Cross shape. It’s dramatic and a whole lot easier to manage than those tiny central pieces.

Peggys Prize June 2021 Blue Colorway No culet jpg
Peggys Prize June 2021 Blue Colorway No culet jpg
Peggys Prize June 2021 ruby Colorway no culet jpg
Peggys Prize June 2021 ruby Colorway no culet jpg

To access the downloadable PDF file for the colorway chart and list of suggested fabrics for each color, click the button below:

To access the downloadable PDF file for the charts in 9″, 12″ & 18″, click one of the buttons below:

9″ Block

12″ Block

18″ Block

May 2021: “The Clark Pink” Gem Block

Our Diamonds & Drama Queens pattern for May is inspired by the Clark Pink, a spectacular 9-carat, Belle Epoque cushion-cut, fancy vivid purplish-pink diamond owned by Huguette Clark. The fancy vivid  purplish-pink diamond was the star of the show when Christie’s auctioned it in 2012. Expected to fetch $6-8 million, the winning bid was $15.7 million, making it the most valuable pink diamond ever sold in the United States

The Clark Pink

The pattern below showcases the cushion shape with pavilion facets radiating outward from the culet. As with the April pattern, I took some liberties with the number of facets and placement of value and color. I designed this pattern so that it didn’t overwhelm with color choices, so you’ll find just 6 colors within the gem plus a black background. Just 7 fabrics in total! I created 2 versions of 2 different colorways: a pink diamond with a black background and a white background, and a white diamond with a black background and a white background. The 2 colorways with a white background are shown below. Be sure to check out the Colorway Chart below (see the last “Download” button below) to see how different the gems look on a black background.

If you’re new to freezer paper piecing, I’ve provided 6 short tutorial videos to help you get familiar with the techniques. (Scroll down to the very end of this page where the 6 videos live. This is traditional piecing using freezer paper as your template. If you can put two pieces of fabric together with a quarter-inch seam allowance, YOU CAN DO THIS! Check out the videos below. They were made for last year’s Elizabeth Sew-Along, so while the pattern is different, the techniques are the same.

And I also provide guidance at the end of the video I created about Huguette, so please continue to watch for that instruction after I finish with Huguette’s story. I walk you through the cutting process and setting up the facets into your “Piece Plan”. I wasn’t able to start the assembly process this month before I had to go in for carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand, but will work on my own block over the coming weeks, sharing progress as I go. Please feel free to do the same on our Facebook page! Have FUN!

You’ll find 3 pattern sizes: 9″, 12″ and 18″. I’ve also created a colorway document that lists suggested fabrics from 3 different manufacturers: KONA Cotton solids, Moda Bella solids, and Painter’s Palette solids from Paintbrush Studio Fabrics. Have fun with this pattern this month…and don’t forget to post your questions, insights, and progress pictures on our private Facebook Group page!

To access the downloadable PDF file for the size block you want, click on the options below:

To access the downloadable PDF file for the colorway chart and list of suggested fabrics for each color, click the button below:

Introducing Huguette Clark, the “Reclusive Heiress”

From the moment I read about Huguette Clark, I was intrigued.

Huguette Clark (pronounced “oo-get”) was one of the last heiresses of the Gilded Age when she died in 2011, just a week shy of her 105th birthday. Her father, William A. Clark, built his fortune on mining and banking. While his contribution to American history is great, his story is largely forgotten likely because of a spectacularly corrupt political campaign he ran at the turn of the century.

Huguette’s own history was unknown for most of her life…and she liked it that way. A deeply private person, she loved art, illustration, and music. She cared little for the trappings of wealth, preferring instead to live a quiet life devoted to commissioning detailed miniature houses for her collection of porcelain dolls and Japanese figurines. She was smart, generous, and independent.


April 2021: “Evelyn`s Envy” Gem Block

Welcome to our very first month of Diamonds & Drama Queens Block of the Month! Our pattern for April is inspired by the McLean Diamond, a spectacular 31.26-carat cushion-cut diamond owned by Evelyn Walsh McLean. Ms. McLean also owned the famous Hope Diamond. After Ms. McLean sold the diamond, it was obtained by the Duchess of Windsor who was formerly known as Wallis Simpson before she married the King of England. King Edward VIII eventually abdicated so that he could marry “the woman he loved”. I enjoyed learning more about Ms. McLean for the video I created all about her life and adventures (check it out below).

The pattern I created from the inspiration of this lovely diamond showcases the square shape with rounded edges and four facets radiating from the center culet of the gem. I also wanted to emphasize the chevron shapes marching from the center toward the edges As I was designing the quilt block pattern, I took some liberties with the number of facets and placement of value and color. I designed this pattern so that it didn’t overwhelm with color choices, so you’ll find just 6 colors within the gem plus a black background. Just 7 fabrics in total!

If you’re new to freezer paper piecing, I’ve provided 6 short tutorial videos to help you get familiar with the techniques. This is traditional piecing using freezer paper as your template. If you can put two pieces of fabric together with a quarter-inch seam allowance, YOU CAN DO THIS! Check out the videos below. They were made for last year’s Elizabeth Sew-Along, so while the pattern is different, the techniques are the same. And I also provide guidance at the end of the video about Ms. McLean below and will continue to post tips and tricks about making THIS pattern throughout the coming days. So no worries….have FUN!

You’ll find 3 pattern sizes: 9″, 12″ and 18″. I’ve also created a colorway document that lists suggested fabrics from 3 different manufacturers: KONA Cotton solids, Moda Bella solids, and Painter’s Palette solids from Paintbrush Studio Fabrics. Have fun with this pattern this month…and don’t forget to post your questions, insights, and progress pictures on our private Facebook Group page!

To access the downloadable PDF file for the size block you want, click on the options below:

To access the downloadable PDF file for the colorway chart and list of suggested fabrics for each color, click the button below:


Introducing Evelyn Walsh McLean, the “Queen of Diamonds”

I had such a great time researching our first “drama queen”. Evelyn Walsh McLean is truly the “Queen of Diamonds”. By the end of her life, she had amassed a spectacular collection of jewels, including four that were named: the Hope, the Star of the East, the Star of the South, and the McLean.

Evelyn spent the early years of her life among the fearless and adventurous women and men of Colorado. Her family lived in the southwest part of the state where her father struck gold at his Camp Bird Mine high in the Rockies above Ouray. Evelyn’s love of life and adventure blossomed here in the rugged and sometimes brutal terrain of her home. We’ll circle back to Evelyn’s story at least one more time during our “Diamonds & Drama Queens” series. Her giant gems and her giant personality deserve the attention.



Tutorials Demonstrating Freezer Paper Piecing

For those of you who haven’t made one of my patterns before, I want to be sure to give you as much support as you need. To that end, here are several videos I made all about the various aspects of freezer paper piecing.

The videos below are tutorials that I created last summer for my Elizabeth Sew-Along project. The pattern is different, but the technique is the SAME — just on a slightly smaller scale! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email at [email protected] or at 502-287-3034 (Eastern Standard Time).

The 6 videos below are about 5 – 7 minutes each in length. You’ll learn how to read the codes on the pattern, cut up your freezer paper pattern, organize your fabric and facets, cutting your fabric around the freezer paper facets, get an introduction to the step-by-step strategy for piecing the facets together that I call the “Piece Plan”, and finally how to sew your facets together by matching up the hashmarks. The last video shows you some trouble-shooting tips if you have gaps or tucks in your seams.

Enjoy the adventure…we’re just getting started!

Elizabeth Sew-Along (Week #1): Intro to the Pattern

Elizabeth Sew-Along (Week #1): Cutting Out Your Facets

Elizabeth Sew-Along (Week #2): Fabric & Facets

Elizabeth Sew-Along (Week #2): Cutting Pieces From Your Fabric

Elizabeth Sew-Along (Week #3): Part I – Intro to the “Piece Plan”

Elizabeth Sew-Along (Week #3): Part II – Piecing Your Facets