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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Setting triangles three ways

A few days ago I told someone I would write a post about how to prevent stretching of the setting triangles when doing on point quilts.  I said I'd have to make some tops so I could take photos.  Well, here are three examples using two tops.  These are steps to take before adding a border.  I'll write another post about how to put on borders without making them very friendly (wave a lot).  Here's one of my on point quilt tops.

When doing square setting of blocks there is a very little stretch.  You can pull side to side or top to bottom on the rows and get only minimal stretch because of the seams.

Turn the blocks on point then pull on the left and right or top to bottom and you get lots of stretch.  That's because you are now pulling on the bias.

Here you have to use your imagination a tad bit.  Imagine the dark green fabric is what I want to be my setting triangles before adding a border.  Instead of cutting triangles for the settings, I use full size squares and piece them on the end of the rows just like the rest of the blocks. 

I carefully cut a 1/4 inch seam along the outside.   

Now can you see the setting triangles?

Ok, we don't want these triangles to stretch any more than absolutely necessary.  Especially when the top is put onto a quilting machine.  Carefully, sew just a tiny bit inside the cut edge.  1/16th inch.  Be very careful not to pull on this while stitching.  My hand usually stays way off to the side to guide the fabric. 

I use a small screw driver as a stiletto to guide the intersections under the presser foot.  My needle is set to the farthest it will go to  the right.  The edge of the fabric rides just at the edge of the presser foot.

Here the stitching is shown after it's done.  We have a little stretch but not nearly as much as cutting the triangles first then sewing in.

Press (don't iron) the triangles with a little steam.  Pressing is lifting the iron in up and down motions.  Ironing is moving back and forth without raising the iron.  See how the triangles are behaving themselves?  This is now ready to measure and add a border.

Here is the second way to do setting triangles.  Just a little different than the previous one.

This time instead of cutting along the 1/4 inch line, just draw a line a tiny bit shy of where you plan to cut.  I draw my line at 3/16th inch. 

Now sew on that line all the way around.  Using the same technique as before to prevent stretching while stitching.

Next, cut your 1/4 inch.... or whatever size you want.  With this method you can cut whatever distance you want past that sewn line.  You do, however, want to sew your border (or binding) so this sewn line ends up inside the quilt and not seen from the front.

Ok, you don't like the wasted fabric of doing setting triangles either of those ways.  Here's a technique just for you.  Most quilters will cut squares of fabric then cut the squares on the diagonal to get triangles. 

Here's a better way.  Turn the square over and draw a diagonal line corner to corner.  This will be your cutting line.

Now sew all the way around the outside 1/16th inch away from the edge. But also sew 1/16th inch away from the drawn line on both sides too.

You can see the stitching better from the front.

Carefully cut on the drawn line and you have two setting triangles with stay stitching.  You can continue to work with these triangles without worry of stretching. 

These three techniques are what I've done for many years.   I had these instructions on my blog a long time ago but deleted them when I thought I would have to give up internet.  True, doing stay stitching does add more work to creating tops.... but what's the hurry?  You wouldn't pin the squares together then layer and quilt without sewing the squares together would you?  Of course not.  Stay stitching is simply a step in the process of creating an on point quilt top.  I can't think of a single magazine or book that shows stay stitching as one important step in doing on point quilts.  Yet, it's a very important step for preventing hourglass shifting or extremely friendly borders. 


Beth said...

I have heard of/done stay stitching on the edge before borders, but have never heard of stay stitching BEFORE adding the setting triangles! WOW! An Ah-HA moment! And I'm about to apply borders on an on-point quilt. Very timely! Thanks Anita!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this welcome advice. I struggle with on point setting. The first quilt shown is gorgeous. Love your color choices. Ann

Anita Estes said...

Thank you Beth and Ann. I'm hoping the information helps both the topper and the machine quilter that stumbles onto my blog. On point quilts are difficult to machine quilt unless some stay stitching is done. Not impossible just difficult.