Stitching a Yin Yang Block Tutorial — Lots of Photos

It was inevitable.  I had to try out a Yin Yang block in my favourite of fabrics, shabby chic. As I have been asked some questions about how I put these together, I decided to do this little tutorial. The block is composed of four pieces of one identical shape. All the photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

This shows the back of one piece and, if you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see the matching points. They are what make this block go together like magic. I tried doing them before the Inklingo collection came out, and no matter how fine a line I drew or the matching points I put on, it just wasn’t fine or precise enough. With Inklingo printed matching points and crosshairs, there’s no worries at all — it all just fits together like a dream. I clip between the matching points on each concave curve to a few threads above the stitching line.

There are other ways to stitch these. My method is to start at the large curved end of the piece. I use two #12 sharps and pin at the crosshair and then at the first matching point.

I start by making my quilter’s knot and inserting the needle a stitch length over from the crosshair. I’ve found this works well when joining other pieces as the knot is not right at the crosshair. Then I take the needle to the back, back through to the front at the crosshair, make a quick back-stitch and carry on down to the first pin/needle. There are a lot of matching points and they are the secret to making the curve as smooth as can be.

As each matching point is reached, I take a little back-stitch and keep stitching. With a curve like this, I try to use the smallest stitches I can.

This photo shows the clips into the seam allowance done on the concave seam allowance of one of the pieces.

Once the first two pieces are stitched together, this is what they look like. As I’m hand piecing, I leave the pressing until the end.

Having stitched a few of these blocks, I’ve found that stitching them together into pairs and then joining those pairs works best for me.

The next step is joining the two pairs together. Once again, I start at the large, curved end and pin with two #12 sharps — one at the crosshair and one at the first matching point.

After stitching the third seam, the block now looks like this.

I line up the fourth and final seam and pin through the crosshair and first matching point.

Start with the thread slightly over from the crosshair and take the needle to the back.

As this is the last of the seams to stitch, I circle the intersection by inserting the needle through the first pair of fabrics at the crosshair and drawing it through. Circling the intersection ensures that there’s not a little hole at the intersection of all four shapes.

Then the needle is drawn through the next pair at the crosshairs.

The needle is drawn through the final pair at the crosshairs, a quick back-stitch is made and all that’s left to stitch is the final seam.

Daphne, who hasn’t been seen often since her flapper adventure on the roof garden a few years ago, showed up to see the block when the stitching was finished. At this point, the block hasn’t yet been pressed.

The block presses like a dream and the magic happens again. The block lies perfectly flat. No bump in the centre, no distortion.

The back of the block after pressing. Don’t you think it would be fun to stitch one of these? Be warned, though. They’re addictive as can be to stitch. You can’t stitch just one. I’ll be back with another post this afternoon with a giveaway that’s related to this tutorial.

Smudge wasn’t all that interested and decided to have a nap on my desk chair.

11 thoughts on “Stitching a Yin Yang Block Tutorial — Lots of Photos

  1. Daphne is adorable! And the block is nice, too!! I have stitched 2 of these blocks in my first attempt at hand stitching. It is getting easier. Thank you for sharing the technique of circling the intersection. I can see why that is important. Thank you!!


  2. That was a great tutorial! I just watched Linda’s DVD on the Jane Austen’s Writing Table quilts and now it’s all making sense!
    Now about Daphne, did she just appear from a long hangover? 🙂
    Smudge needs to stay away from that little duck!


  3. WONDERFUL tutorial Cathi! That took a lot of time and energy on your part, and is greatly appreciated by so many. It helps so much to have things like this broken down into the various steps. You make it all seem so easily “doable”!~ Goodness, what would the quilters of yesteryear have done with Inklingo?!??!!? We are very fortunate.
    I love Daphne and had not met her, as I was not blogging back during her Flapper Days. Thank you for introducing me! 🙂
    Wishing you many happy and pleasant rooftop days. It is hot here, but nothing out of the normal for us and the breeze from the ocean comes right over Cumberland, barreling down the end of our street a few blocks away, where the marsh ends and pavement begins. literally! I must take some photos soon to show you. My days seem to be filled with trips to Lowes and gardening. Yesterday, I hung blinds. I am thinking of making roman shades for my sewing studio. Quilted, perhaps… I’ve been slow as a turtle blogging these days, but will catch up soon. XO

    show you.


  4. Great tutorial Cathi!! The only things we do different is I don’t pin with my sewing needles, I use short pins, and I press as I go :0) I love this block in the shappy fabrics.



  5. Fabulous tutorial, Cathi — I know this is going to encourage other quilters to try a little curved hand-piecing. You managed to break it down so it doesn’t look scary at all. Although I am not able to use Inklingo because I am always working with little, odd-shaped vintage scraps — our techniques otherwise are very similar. Love the fabrics in this block!


  6. Aren’t they just wonderful?! I love this little block so much. Your tutorial is fabulous. I hope more folks try this little beauty. :o)

    PS: That Daphne is a little cutie.


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