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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Triangle Quilt

Last month, I took over as the leader of the Bound Together Quilt Guild in O'Fallon.  A week from today is the meeting and I'm doing a program on half-square triangle blocks. I've been researching how many different ways they are to make them.  Lots more than you would think.  I've been cutting and sewing triangles for a week.  I have another whole week before the meeting so why not just cut and make some blocks for a real quilt! No problem.  It's only going to be a twin.

I've made samples of quite a few different methods, but found one that is suited to my needs of using up my stash with no specific pattern in mind.  I can cut strips that I can use for either squares or triangles.  For four days I pressed, cut, and stacked strips in 2.5", 3.5" and 4.5" sizes.  Most were cut the larger size, as I can always cut them smaller if I need to.  I pulled long and fat quarter yards, some half yards, and found little pieces as small as 5x8 inches that I have no idea why I put them back on the shelves.  I must have cut up over 100 yards, really, and am still cutting.  Sadly, I can't tell anything is missing from my stash.

I found a picture of a quilt online that was just perfect.  As I made 4" triangle blocks, I would need more purples or more blues and would press and cut more strips.  Since a whole-width strip was too long - I didn't need or want 16 blocks of the same two fabrics - I divided my stacks of strips into full and partial strips.

After I separated the full and partial strips, I decided I needed the lights separated from the darks in the 4.5" stacks for faster coordinating.  The front row is the full strips, the back row, the partial strips.  From the left, the stacks are 4.5" lights, 2.5". 3.5" and 4.5" darks (mostly).


 There are two different alternating blocks, a diagonal square and a star.  Each finishes 16".

 The first three blocks.  After I made more little blocks, I changed some of the triangles in the first two blocks for a better mix of colors and fabrics.  I love scrap quilts and love mixing all the fabrics and getting the sparkle.
Four blocks done.  After a week of cutting and making little triangle blocks, the real blocks are going together pretty quickly.

With this method, the strips are cut 1/2" wider than the finished size, just like cutting squares.  This is a very versatile method when you don't have a specific pattern in mind.  A light and a dark strip are placed RST.  A light steam PRESSING will bond the fibers together almost like they're fused.
Instead of using the triangle ruler to cut triangle after triangle, I found that if I cut rectangles a couple threads less than 5 1/4" long, I can cut two triangles from them and get better results.  I can get 8 4" finished blocks from two half-width strips.
I bought an Easy Angle triangular ruler that does great. I put sandpaper dots all along the edges and have a suction-cup knob that helps a lot in maneuvering the ruler just a tad.
With this method, one of the corners of every triangle is trimmed, and one isn't.  I like them trimmed, so I do another step.
I have to turn all the triangles over or else take the suction cup off and turn the ruler over to get the correct angle. I've turned the little trimmed point over so you can see it better.
 I also press all my seams open, so that's another step, but one well worth the trouble to me.  I like nice flat blocks.
 Three of the blocks I just pressed.  The blocks are cut and sewn to the correct size and, if not dead on, are within a thread of being perfect.  No squaring up.
Six blocks done, and I love it!


  1. Barb, I love it too!!! I would be in heaven with your stash. Mine doesn't look anywhere that good - colorwise. Most of my stash for making scrap quilts is just that -- scraps. It leaves a lot to be desired, but keeps me busy. Wonderful blocks.

  2. Barb - the blocks look great. Love how you are putting the 2 different blocks together.

    I know I could never do that with my stash!!