My dear friend Harriet asked me if I would piece this block so we could compare results.
This is from a quilt by Anita Grossman Solomon (website: www.makeitsimpler.com) and appeared in the November/December 2010 Quiltmaker Magazine.
I began with 9 inch squares that I pressed right sides together with spray starch. Actually, I began with Mary Ellen's Best Press, which I dearly love, but I knew I'd need heavier starching to control the bias edges in the finished block, so I got out the heavy duty spray starch (must remember to get more next time I'm out). Once the fabrics were aligned and heavily starched, I trimmed the unit to 8" x 8". I followed the directions in the magazine for sewing the blocks together, subcutting them with specific measurements, and piecing the units back together. Once resewn, the block looked like this:
I love the clever way Anita devised for making this block so quickly. She's very creative.
From my experience I'd say it's extremely important to be nearly perfectly accurate with cuts, seam allowances, and trimming. Ironing the seam allowances open is very helpful for aligning seams (and is something I don't normally do).
I think heavy starch will prove invaluable when it's time to set the blocks together since all the edges are bias. (It's possible I could have kept applying Best Press, but at $7.95 for a little bottle, I tend to use in conservatively.)
People who can handle all the above well will find this block incredibly fast to make. I'm guessing it would take more time to choose and cut the original 9" blocks than it would to sew them. In other words, piecing these blocks could be a great project to squeeze little bits of time or a day of marathon sewing.
If a group of quiltmakers were very consistent in their piecing, it would be fun to get together and make blocks like these for prayer quilts.
I'm going to mail this block to Harriet so she can use it if she'd like. I'd be interested in hearing from other people who've tried it to see if their impressions were the same as mine.