Monday, April 28, 2008

Triangle Talk

Hey, catchy title isn't it? Well, that's the theme of tonight's post. Someone asked me how I figure out the size to cut my setting triangles, so I thought I'd explain. I also thought I'd tell you what I've been doing in the Sweat Shop tonight.

I mentioned, I believe, that I had ordered a book and ruler for making scalloped borders for the cherry quilt. I've checked the FedEx tracking and can you believe the darn thing has been at the local "Sortcenter" since Friday? Estimated delivery is Thursday. So much for FedEx. Maybe their motto should be "when it has to be there a week later." But I'm trying to be optimistic and believe that they just SAY it's estimated to be here by Thursday so I can be happily surprised when I come home tomorrow night to find a delivery on my front porch!

In the meantime, I went back to working on the patriotic quilt. The next blocks I want to make are 3" friendship stars, so that meant making a ton of tiny (1-1/2" unfinished) half-square triangles. The triangles are made and the center squares are cut. Tomorrow night I'll be cutting the corner squares and sewing them together.

I know a lot of you love gadgets for quilting, but for the most part, I prefer to spend my "allowance" on fabric, thread, batting, and maybe an occasional pattern or quilt book, scalloped ruler notwithstanding! So, if I can figure out a way to do something without buying a new gadget, all the better. Since I like diagonal sets, I needed to figure out a reasonable method for calculating the block size needed to make setting triangles and corners. The corners are usually pretty simple. I just cut two blocks that are about an inch larger than the blocks in my quilt and then cut them on the diagonal. The setting triangles are a little trickier. Here are the two methods I use.

First of all, pretend these are two of my blocks and I want to cut setting triangles:

With the blocks on point, I line up my BIG ruler so that the "0" measure is on one corner and whatever the measurement is at the other corner is the size of blocks I need to cut--more or less.

You'll see above that the distance between the points is about 10-1/2". To give myself more than enough fabric, I would cut my squares at 11-1/2".

Let me backtrack just a bit here in case you haven't worked with diagonal sets and setting triangles. What you want with a setting triangle is a non-bias cut edge on the outside "border edge" of the quilt, so that when you add your border, the edge doesn't stretch. The two inner side edges of the triangles WILL be bias cut. So you will need to cut one square on both diagonals to make four setting triangles. Does that make sense? If not, leave me a comment and I'll take a photo to post tomorrow. So, for instance, with the cherry quilt, I needed eight setting triangles, which meant cutting two squares. I calculated the size I needed to cut using the above method. I then cut my two squares and cut them on both diagonals, yielding me eight setting triangles.

Another way to determine what size square to cut for your setting triangles is this one:

For this method, you'll need a cutting mat and a large ruler with the same units of measure (in this case, inches). Measure your blocks. Mine--the same ones I used in the above demonstration--are 7-1/2" unfinished. Find the 7-1/2" measurement on both sides of your ruler as you see above.

Position one of the 7-1/2" marks at the "0" measure on your cutting mat.

Line up the other 7-1/2" mark on the same bottom line of the mat. See where the 7-1/2" mark intersects the line on the cutting mat at around the 10-1/2" mark? So, again, I would cut my squares for my setting triangles a little larger--probably around 11-1/2" and then cut on both diagonals. Once I put my blocks together with the triangles, I'll trim the extra fabric away, but I'd rather have too much fabric than too little.

I hope this helps take the mystery out of setting triangles and diagonal sets. And if you were planning to buy a special ruler for setting triangles and this method works for you instead, just send me half the money you would have spent, okay?!?

Finally, no post these days is complete without some mention of cherries, right? I've been looking high and low for a cherry stitchery pattern I knew I had. Turned out I'm just too darn organized for my own good, because tonight it occurred to me to check a binder I have for non-quilt patterns (stuff like totes, stuffed animals/dolls, etc.) and what did I find? The cherry stitchery pattern!

And isn't it funny that when you have something on your mind, it seems to turn up EVERYWHERE? I pulled out a package of triangle paper tonight for the patriotic quilt and look what's on the front of the package! Sorry the photo's a little blurry, but I think you can see the cherries, can't you?


Eileen said...

WOW. what a teacher. I just look in my Quilter's Guide book for the diagram and it tell's me what size to cut. Thanks for the tutorial.
Glad you found your cherries.

ratherbquilting said...

I'm with you, Kim. Cut them big and hack them off! Also not a gadget-y person...

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Kim. You have made it very easy to understand. I have struggled with this for a long time. Now I have two new techniques to try. another reason why you should design patterns. BTW love those Patriotic fabrics.
Thanks again for taking time to explain your method.

Linda Z

paula, the quilter said...

OK, now those cherries resemble a baby's hind-end. Don't you think? *g*

Julie said...

Thanks, Kim, that lesson really helps. I know there is a math calculation to do this but somehow I always end up getting it wrong. I have a nice collection of large mis-cut triangles with stretched out bias edges for a future project! That is gonna be one ripply quilt top!

Su Bee said...

Aww, that's too easy!!! I'd WAAAY rather struggle for 3 hours with the math and cut 2 pieces wrong and waste 3 yards of fabric before stooping to follow something so simple!
BTW - you're posting at 4 am??!!!??? Ummm.... does that mean you were up all night or you're a fanatically early riser? Or both? LOL -- sleeping is highly overrated anyway, right?

julieQ said...

Thank you for your tutorial! I cut them bigger and saw 'em down to size...Your blocks are so very pretty!

Red Geranium Cottage said...

Thanks for the setting triangle lesson. Your so clever. Love your Cherry quilt you've been working on. Kim, that's cute. And where did you get that cherry design on the triangle paper?
I'm thinking you need to take a trip to the "sort center" and pick up your pkg. LOL

I AM VERY MARY said...

sweat shop - hee hee!

Michelle said...

Okay, I'm not sure I get it. But since I seem to be the only lame-o that doesn't get it, it's okay! I'll reread it.

Love those patriotic squares!

Nan said...

Thanks for the tutorial - I'm going to "chew" on the information you've presented for awhile - I know it will sink in eventually! I haven't worked with setting triangles much at all, as you can tell. I've been a chicken!
Love the cherry stitchery - too cute! I can't wait to see what you create with that.

quiltygal said...
(side bar)-onpoint settings...
after the math Bonnie has the measurements for blocks from 3inches to 16inches for both side and corner setting triangles I use this all the time its great to have a few techniques in your pocket:))