Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday Tool: Spinning Triangles

I'm shocked (shocked, I say!) to realize it has been more than one month since I've posted a "Tuesday Tool." Isn't it about time to learn something new?

How about a new template?  This one is called "Spinning Triangles," and it comes from Nancy Zieman at Nancy's Notions.  I took some classes from Nancy 25 years ago (!) at the Northwest Sewing Expo in Puyallup, Washington.  She is an excellent and gracious teacher, she never gets impatient when students ask stupid questions.  (Ask me how I know this.)

Here is one of the blocks made with this template:

To make the Wind Farm block, cut strips from three different fabrics.  Nancy recommends stabilizing the fabrics by using spray starch or Best Press.  Sew them together with the narrowest strip in the middle:

The template is labeled to position it over the strip strata:

There is some waste with this method -- but you can donate the waste fabric to someone who makes pillows for cats at the humane society!

I find it a lot easier to cut odd-shaped templates if I use my rotating cutting mat.  Buy one when it's on sale at JoAnn, and you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

For each "Wind Farm" block, you'll need four triangles.

To make a perfect center, "stab" a pin through both layers of fabric exactly through the center of the seam.  Leave this pin inserted vertically, it's only to match the seams, not to hold the layers together:

Next, insert a pin on the seam allowance either side of the vertical pin:

Remove the vertical pin and stitch the seam.  Remove the other pins just before you get to them -- I try to catch the seam allowance in my machine needle before I remove the pins.

And see?  Perfectly matching seams!

Press (don't iron) the block.  Be generous with the  Best Press, and remember, the outside edges are on the bias.  A newish quilter I met last week wondered about the difference between "pressing" and "ironing."  I prefer to say "press," don't "scrub."  In other words, it's OK to move your iron around a little, but don't lean hard on the iron and "scrub" it back and forth over your project.  That way madness lies -- or at least, misshapen blocks!

The Spinning Triangles template comes with directions for four projects and three different styles of blocks. Unfortunately, it makes only one size of block (10" finished).  But 10" is the perfect size if you need a row of blocks that finishes at 40"!

New snow in Colorado today -- a good day to stay inside and quilt, doncha think?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature


  1. Very clever tool! and yes - stay indoors and sew...

  2. I really like that ruler. The block looks so complex, if I didn't know how it was constructed, I would have thought you paper pieced to get the points so perfect.

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