My Secret Garden - Joy Continues to Block 2

December 24, 2018

My Secret Garden - Joy Continues to Block 2

Of all the fabrics, I love this beige shirting fabric with it’s sweet little navy dots and khaki miniature quilt squares.  Truly it was love at first sight!

Color #1 is the beige print

Color #2 is the navy print

The accent color is a constant; solid navy blue.

You are welcome to cut the strips as directed in the pattern.  However, I will be using a quarter square triangle ruler and a half square triangle ruler.  These two rulers should be in your sewing studio and purchased together.

They go together like two peas in a pod or bacon and eggs.


As  specialty rulers, what I love most is the efficient use of fabric and ease of use. Because most patterns are written using a standard rectangle/square quilting ruler so that everyone can recreate the quilt, at some point weird strips sizes will need to be cut to creat half square triangles and quarter square triangles. I dislike cutting  measurements that are in ⅛” increments and find the quarter square and half square rulers are my favorite time after time.


There are all sorts of geometry and math rules involved in proving that the quarter square ruler and half square ruler can work…..however, we’re quilters and most of us would prefer to get to the sewing and skip the figuring.  


To translate a standard pattern in to specialty ruler language. Look at the finished size of the unit and add a half inch for seam allowance and cut the strip that size. In other words, if your half square triangle finishes to 2”, add a half inch for the seam allowance and cut the strip 2.5”. Use the half square triangle ruler and voila!


Another hint, if you have a square size next to a flying goose or half square triangle…..the strip size is the same for both shapes.  Happy, happy dance……easy peasy.


Color #1 half square triangles for inside star pattern. Each block needs 4 pairs. Stack your fabric to cut one pair at a time. For the first cut, square up the left side of the fabric strip and align the bottom, top and left edge of the ruler with the fabric strip. You should be able to read the words on the ruler. Make the first cut.

Flip the ruler over to make the second cut.

Color #2 Navy….cut 12 quarter square triangle for each of the blocks ( 24 total).

Layer the blue strips and align the flat top of the quarter square triangle ruler with the top edge of the fabric strip and find the matching line on the bottom of the ruler. Cut the angles.

Flip the ruler over and make another angle cut. Repeat as needed to get the number of pieces the pattern requires.

Look how beautifully the Quarter Square Triangle Ruler (blue section) and the Half Square Triangle (beige section) pair up to make a flying goose unit.


When you sew this unit, get organized and always sew the beige to the blue in the same order.  I picture the goose unit to be like the letter “k” and always start at the top of the k and sew that beige piece first. I always, always follow this procedure. This prevents errors and makes the sewn top uniform in appearance.

Likewise, when I sew from the wide bottom of the triangle to the top.  I always chain sew...this prevents the thread tangles at the beginning and the beginning and ending seams are always straight and a full ¼” seam.

I use my “byAnnie” stylus to finger press the seam back or my thumbnail. I avoid the iron at this time to maintain the integrity of the original shapes….there is a lot of bias going on and you don’t want to mess with that until it is fully seamed in.

When I add the second half square triangle, I like to flip my piece over to insure the edges are all aligned.  I also like to sew towards that first fold that is created to make sure the entire seam allowance is exposed.

Whew...thread is good to the last drop on my Golden Beauty.

The center section is made up of navy and background half square triangles.  I sewed the navy and neutral half square triangles together first in pairs. I finger pressed the seams towards the navy side.

Lay out the 4 pairs and double check the orientation. Sew them together in rows working from left to right.  This is another place that you should decide what your system is. I always flip my piece on the right on top of the piece on the left. If I am doing several pieces, I place a pin on the seam side with the sharp part of the needle pointing up or I use a wonder clip and place it on the seam side towards the top of the seam.  When I have rules, I can sew tired and distracted and minimize my use of the seam ripper later.


For final block assembly, Sew the block together like a 9 patch.  Starting at the top, so the first two columns together….you can leave a thread pin between the rows to keep the placement of the blocks.


After column one and two are sewn together, attach the third column; leave thread pins between the rows.


Do not press…….Finish by sewing row one to row two. Nest the seams as you go. In general the seams that are on the bottom should feed the seam side in first with the raw edges of the block going last. This creates a nice tight nest at the seams with the fold seams butting up to each other without any gaps.


Repeat the process with the sewn first two rows joining the third row.  The new section goes on the bottom, larger section on top.  This prevents twisted seams….it’s easier to see which way the sewn seams are supposed to lay when you can actually see them.


These are sewing tips and tricks. Consult the pattern for the details…..Remember, when you use a specialty ruler for Quarter Square triangles and Half Square triangles, add a half an inch to the finished size and use the rulers to cut the triangles.  If there is a square in the block….use it to confirm your strip size.

Give your block a final press. Press the seams while the block is closed. Finger press the seams open and then press the entire block flat. Add to the design wall.


Happy Sewing, Berning Joy

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