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Making tumbling blocks for a quilt easy using the SEW EASY Triangle Ruler

by Paul Leger

This week we’re exploring rulers and templates and using them in ways that we may not have considered before. We’re going to play, have fun, and for some of us, come out of our comfort zone. With everything that we’ll do this week we’ll be working our artistic skills and do a Sunset Beach scene work of art that I’ll call Quilting Impressionism Paul style; move over Monet.

The first ruler that we’re going to play with this week is the Sew Easy Triangle Ruler 60° – 8″ x 9¼.

SEW EASY Triangle Ruler 60° – 8″ x 9¼”

For our beach scene, we’ll start by creating a grassy meadow. To do so we’re working with 4” strips. Typically, when we use a triangle ruler like the one we’re using today we tend to only use it to make triangles.

By the way, you might want to know that I’m using fabrics from Northcott’s Stonehenge Gradations Brights collection.

Let’s explore the Triangle Ruler to create other shapes not typically thought of when using this ruler, such as tumbling blocks and you’re going to see how easy it is.

To make tumbling blocks simply place the triangle ruler on the strip of fabric ensuring that the triangle’s top point is not on the fabric, but on the measurement desired, in this case below at 3″. Also, watch that the center vertical line is perfectly perpendicular with the bottom of the fabric strip.

Place the triangle ruler on your farbic strip ensuring the triangle’s top point is not on the strip.

There’s no right or wrong size for the tumbling block, you can make them any size you wish, just remember the bigger the tumbling block the less sewing there is per area, by the same token, the smaller the tumbling block the more sewing there is for the same area.

When cutting the fabric rotate your fabric instead of rotating the ruler.

Cutting your tumbling block shapes using the Sew Easy triangle ruler

I have no set plan of where I’ll place each tumbling block piece as I want it to have a random look, remember this is us trying out our skills at ‘Impressionism quilting’. But with the following picture, you’ll get an idea of what the grassy meadow will look like.

Test placement of the tumbling blocks

After looking at the above photo I decided that I wanted the quilt to be wider; an extra row would also improve the look I wish to obtain. I also want you to look at the end of the rows, I’ll be using the leftover pieces of fabric to square off the ends of the rows. We’re now ready to start sewing, here’s a little trick using the ¼” tape.

TIP If you don’t have any ¼” tape simply take a piece of masking tape and cut a ¼” strip from the tape. Voilà!

Place a piece of fabric so that the edge of the fabric is perfectly aligned with the upper edge of the tape.

Placement of fabrics on a ¼” tape

Place the second piece of fabric over the first piece right sides together, ensuring that the edge of the second piece also lines up with the upper edge of the tape. It’s very important that both pieces of fabric line up with the upper edge of the ¼” tape at all times.

Placement of second piece of fabric over the first fabric piece, right sides together

Adjust the second piece of fabric, by moving it left or right, so that it intersects the first piece of fabric at the bottom of the tape as shown in the next photo.

Both fabrics must intersect at the bottom of the piece of tape.

By doing the above step correctly you’ll ensure that when you start sewing the needle will start the seam where the two fabrics intersect giving you the ¼” seam required.

Two correctly placed fabrics ensures the seam will start where the two fabrics intersect.

The correct placement of the fabrics allows for a straight edge once two pieces of fabric are sewn and once pressed open.

For this part of the quilt we’ll need a total of 40 trapezoids, 5 rows with 8 pieces per row. Remember to use the fabric strip ends to complete the rows. Below are the trapezoids sewn together.

The first section of the art quilt is completed to which we’ll add the other sections.

As you can see I didn’t pay much attention to the placement of the fabrics other than I wanted more of the light-colored fabrics on the bottom and more of the darker ones on top.

With the help of the Sew Easy Triangle Ruler 60°measuring 8″ x 9¼”, we completed the grassy part of this Impressionistic quilt.

For those of you would prefer a larger ruler the SEW EASY Triangle Ruler 60° is also available in the following size 12″ x 13⅞”. If you don’t have this ruler in your collection go to your local quilt store and ask for it.

Join me tomorrow as I introduce new colors to this project and show you how to use the SEW EASY Half Diamond Ruler – 4½” x 14¼”!

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: Matching up the points on your half diamond shapes for quilting perfection



MaryBeth July 11, 2017 - 9:49 pm

I love the idea with using the 1/4″ tape!! Thanks for such a great tip.

Paul Leger July 12, 2017 - 6:29 am

I am happy you liked the tip. Thanks


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