FREE Quilting Patterns, Tutorials, Magazine

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


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" is normally used for making triangles but other great uses can also be discovered by playing!
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 the 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.

A triangle ruler is place on a strip of fabric. the ruler is taller than the strip of fabric, this will ensure that when the fabroic is cut it will create the tumbling block shape.
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.

The Sew Easy Triangle ruler is placed on a strip of fabric as a guide to cut tumbling block shapes.
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.

The tumbling blocks are randomly placed mixing the colors to get an idea of what the end result may 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.

A piece of fabric is placed on a ¼” piece of tape that will be used to align two pieces of fabric prior to sewing.
Placement of fabrics on a ¼” tape


Place a 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.

A second piece of fabric is place on top of the first piece of fabric, right sides together, lining both fabrics to the upper edge of the tape.
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 piece os fabrics are place so that the bottom of the tape intersect where both fabrics meet.
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.
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.
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.

Rows of trapezoid shaped fabrics are sewn together to make tumbling blocks. The edges will be trimmed with the rest of the quilt is completed. This completes the 'grassy' part of this impressionistic quilt. Northcott Fabrics and Sew Easy Triangle Ruler make this possible.
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

I took my first quilting course in September 1994 in Barrie, Ontario, near the armed forces base where I was stationed. After moving to Ottawa in 1996, I joined my first guild. I took more courses and began to buy quilting books and lots of fabrics. Quilting has become my passion. I have made over 150 more quilts since then, and have never looked back. I now share my knowledge of quilting by teaching and doing presentations, and blogging!


  1. MaryBeth

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

    • I am happy you liked the tip. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

It may take up to 24 hours for your comment to appear above.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.