Monday, April 13, 2020

Time to Quilt - Block 6

Block 6 is now available on the Banyan Batiks Facebook Page

Here are my blocks today:

Have you noticed that you have been making lots of Half Square Triangles (HSTs) for the blocks.

The instructions tell you to 
  • cut 3 7/8" squares, 
  • layer them right sides together, 
  • draw a line down the middle, 
  • sew on each side with a scant 1/4" seam, 
  • cut on the line and press.  
Are your blocks 3 1/2" square when you do this?  It's easy to get them a bit 'wonky' if everything isn't just right.

I'll tell you a story today and then how I make sure my HSTs are the perfect size....EVERY time.

When I was a beginner quilter (almost 35 years ago) I found it hard to remember that 7/8" part for making HSTs. I made a small quilt awith just HSTs and I hung it in our kitchen. Every time I walked by that quilt I told myself ' 7/8" ' so I would remember the math.

The small quilt looked a bit like
We didn't know about the drawing the line and sewing on each side method back then. We just cut the squares in half diagonally, sewed them to together and hoped that we didn't stretch that bias when sewing or pressing.

Then my friend Jill G. told me about Thangles
You can make accurate HSTs and use strips cut 1/2" wider than the finished size. 

WOW - saving 3/8" each time! That adds up when you are making a lot of HSTs from strips.

I used these for many years until I found them hard to find.
Still have a part package of these 2" ones though.

Next I learned about the  'drawing the line' technique and I also learned that cutting the squares 1" larger than the finished size would allow you to 'square up' the HSTs after sewing. 

I used a square ruler with a diagonal line corner to corner to 'square up my blocks':

  • line up the diagonal line on the ruler on diagonal seam on the block (the O shows these diagonal lines)
  • be sure there is fabric all around the 3 1/2" measurement on all sides (the O on the bottom left marks that spot)
  • trim the right edge and top edge with your rotary cutter
  • rotate the block and line up the cut corner at the 3 1/2" measurement (the O marks that measurement) and the diagonal line on the seam and trim the right edge and top edge with your rotary cutter

Result: a perfect 3 1/2" HST

But I've found the best ever way to trim my blocks. It is the Bloc-Loc ruler.  There is a 'groove' underneath the ruler that 'grabs' the seam line so the ruler can't slip and result in a mis-cut.  I do similar steps as the pictures above, but finding the diagonal and the final measurement I want are so much easier.

And now, here is a quilt design using this fun block. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to use it in a Quilt of Valour.  Here is an easy quilt with the 9" blocks on point for the border. 

Did you print off my instructions for calculating the 'Setting Triangles' for Diagonal Blocks?

 If not, you will find the link in my post for Block 3.

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