Radiant Splendor: Celebrate Tradition in Quilting

Quilting has always been a part of my life, tracing back to the warm, cozy evenings spent with my grandmother in her sewing room. She would pull out her vast collection of quilt blocks, each one a piece of history, and share stories about their origins.

One block that always captivated me was the “Cubes and Tiles” pattern, initially published by Nancy Cabot in 1933. This block, with its intricate design and timeless appeal, is the inspiration behind my modern reinterpretation: the Radiant Splendor quilt block.

Recently, I revisited this beloved pattern while flipping through Nancy Cabot’s Quilt Collection. The simplicity and elegance of the design sparked a wave of nostalgia and creativity. After a bit of research and a lot of experimentation, I decided to bring this block to life once more, adding my own twist and renaming it Radiant Splendor. This tutorial is a culmination of that journey, and I am thrilled to share it with you.

The Evolution of Radiant Splendor

Creating the Radiant Splendor quilt block was like unraveling a beautiful mystery. This design, also known by various names in different publications, has a rich history. Its earliest known iteration, “Stars and Cubes,” dates back to a Ladies Art Company catalog from the late 1800s.

Each name and version reflects a different era and a unique interpretation of the block. My version, Radiant Splendor, aims to capture the timeless elegance and geometric precision that makes this pattern so special.

The block’s construction primarily involves the flying geese technique, which is both straightforward and visually striking. This tutorial will guide you through each step, ensuring that even beginners can achieve a stunning result.


Full Pattern: Click Here

Gathering Your Materials

Before we dive into the construction of the Radiant Splendor quilt block, let’s gather all the necessary materials. This block measures 20-1/2″ x 20-1/2″ when unfinished. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Background Fabric (White):
    • Cut 4 pieces: 6-1/2” x 6-1/2”
    • Cut 12 pieces: 2-1/2” x 2-1/2”
    • Cut 20 pieces: 2-1/2” x 4-1/2”
  • Center Star Fabric (Purple):
    • Cut 1 piece: 4-1/2” x 4-1/2”
    • Cut 8 pieces: 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2”
  • Border Stars Fabric (Yellow):
    • Cut 4 pieces: 2-1/2” x 4-1/2”
    • Cut 32 pieces: 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2”

Additionally, you’ll need basic quilting supplies such as a sewing machine, rotary cutter, quilting ruler, cutting mat, and an iron.

Preparing for Success

Before you begin, ensure you have a clear, spacious workspace. Organize your materials and double-check your measurements. Proper preparation is key to a smooth and enjoyable quilting experience. Marking tools like disappearing ink pens, pencils, or hera markers will be helpful for the precise construction of the flying geese units.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Making the Flying Geese Units

  1. Mark Your Squares: Using your marking tool, mark the diagonal line on the wrong side of each 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ Purple and Yellow square.
  2. Attach the Squares: Take a 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” White rectangle. Place a 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” Purple square on one end, right sides together, aligning the corners. Stitch along the marked line.
  3. Trim and Press: Trim 1/4″ past the stitch line and press the seam open.
  4. Repeat for the Other Side: Place another 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” Purple square on the opposite end of the rectangle, right sides together. Stitch along the marked line, trim, and press open.
  5. Create the Units: Repeat these steps to make a total of 4 Purple flying geese units and 16 Yellow flying geese units.

Assembling the Center Star in Radiant Splendor

  1. Layout the Pieces: Arrange the 4 Purple flying geese units, the 4-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ Purple square, and 4 of the 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ White squares as shown in the diagram.
  2. Sew the Rows: Stitch the pieces together into three rows. Press the seams.
  3. Join the Rows: Sew the rows together to form the 8-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ center star block.

Constructing the Border Stars in Radiant Splendor

  1. Layout for Each Star: Arrange 4 Yellow flying geese units, one 2-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ Yellow rectangle, and two 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ White squares for each border star.
  2. Sew the Top Row: Stitch two White squares and one flying geese unit together.
  3. Create the Center: Stitch the Yellow rectangle to another flying geese unit.
  4. Join the Bottom Units: Stitch the remaining two flying geese units to the sides of the center piece.
  5. Assemble the Star: Sew the top row to the center and bottom sections, creating a 6-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ border star block. Repeat to make 4 border star blocks.

Final Assembly

  1. Lay Out the Components: Arrange the 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ White squares, Yellow border star blocks, and the Purple center star block in the final layout.
  2. Sew the Rows: Stitch each row together, then join the rows to complete the quilt block.

Additional Tips

  • Pressing Matters: Consistently pressing your seams open or to the side will help keep your block flat and your points crisp.
  • Precision Cutting: Accurate cutting is essential for matching seams and creating a polished look.
  • Chain Piecing: This technique can save time when sewing multiple units and helps maintain consistency.

Creating the Radiant Splendor quilt block is a rewarding experience that blends historical inspiration with modern creativity. As you complete your block, take a moment to appreciate the craftsmanship and tradition behind each stitch. Whether you incorporate this block into a larger quilt or use it as a standalone piece, its beauty and elegance will surely shine.

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