Today, a little quilt tutorial for you – a Balkan Puzzle, or a variation thereof 😉
A true Balkan Puzzle would be made up from equal-sized triangles, but I was feeling a little bit lazy, and I also knew that I was going to use the same fabric for each section, so I cheated a little bit and re-sized the triangles to suit my design.
This reads quite complicated and long-winded, but it is relatively straightforward once you get into the swing of it. You absolutely will need a quilt square to make sure that this comes out, well, square.
The first step is to draw up your block …. the easiest way to do this is to start with a blank square sheet of paper, in the finished size of your block. Fold it diagonally, corner-to-corner, both ways, and then fold it in half, both ways, through the centre fold.
Once you have done that, you can draw out your triangles – what you are aiming for is a set of nested squares, each set on the diagonal to each other.
So – draw a line from the centre top to the centre right side, then to the centre bottom, then centre left side, then to the centre top again, using the fold lines as markers. That gives you the first square-within-a-square.
Now, using the diagonal folds to mark your start/end points, draw a second square within the first square.
Repeat a third time, and, optionally (as I’ve done below), mark in the smaller triangles if required.
Your finished paper block should look like this ….
Cut out your shapes, and now you’re ready to start on your fabric. Remember that you need to allow seam allowances …. I usually allow 0.5inch/1cm.
Start in the midde of your block, and use a trick-marker or chalk (and a ruler) to mark the outline of your square. (If you’re using a trickmarker, make sure it will fade from your fabric by testing it on a scrap first).
Once you’ve cut your central piece, fold it diagonally corner-to-corner both ways …
and mark the centre point ….
Next cut out the surrounding triangles in the same way, using your paper as a template and marking the shape with ruler/trickmarker.
Lay the first triangle over the centre piece, right sides together, lining the two outside edges up. Fold the triangle in half, and line the apex of the triangle up with the centre mark on the first piece.
Fold the triangle back out again, and use your quilt square to check that the triangle is correctly lined up with the central square …. when it is, mark the stitching line with your trick marker.
Stitch along the line …. there’s nothing to stop you using a machine, but I prefer to hand-piece, so that’s what I’ve done here.
Fold the stitched triangle out and finger-press it down.
Next, you need to repeat the process for the triangle on the opposite side …..
Use your quilt square to make sure everything is correctly lined up, then mark in your seam line, and sew.
Repeat the process for each of the two other sides ….
Now you’re ready to do the next set of triangles ….
Again, lay your triangle right side-to right-side on the block, lining up the apex with the centre mark on your first block, and the centre of the outside edge with the point at which the two inner triangles intersect.
Fold out the triangle, then finger-press it back along the line …. this will show you where you need to mark the seam line …
mark and pin …
Use your quilt square to check everything is aligned correctly, and mark the seam line …
Stitch along the line, then fold out – the seam should pass exactly at the intersection of the inner triangles ….
Repeat the process, opposite side first, using your quilt square to make sure everything stays perfectly aligned as you go …. you should end up with a block that looks like this ….
Use the same method to add on the outside set of triangles …
From the back, it should look something like this …. note how all the seams are folded out the same way …..
And the front should look like this …
Make up as many blocks as you need to make the quilt …. you can either use the same repeat of fabric, or mix the order up, as you like.
When you join them together, make sure the intersections line up with each other ….
And there you have it …. Balkan Puzzle variation …..