Is all your purple fabric ready? I’m working on my Tribute to a Prince quilt, and cutting all the purple Kona I have into equilateral triangles.
While I’ve been dealing with some health issues over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to continue to progress on various projects. This purple quilt is one that I felt well enough to work on, after my assistant moved the die cutter for me so I could cut.
I used a die cutter for this, but you could use a 60-degree triangle as well. Usually when I am die cutting, it’s easier and faster to work with pre-cut strips rather than trying to handle yardage.
Pre-cutting strips does waste a little more fabric than working with yardage, but I know I wouldn’t get an extra row of triangles anyway, so the size of the scrap leftover isn’t important to me – scraps are scraps.
For the size triangle I have selected, I need to cut 5-1/2″ strips, so each fat quarter will give me 3 strips. If you’re using a ruler, you will also need to work from strips. You could cut your strips at 5-3/4″ and end up with larger triangles than I am using; I think you should still be able to get 6 triangles from each strip.
The die I am using in my Studio cutter can cut up to 10 layers at a time, so it doesn’t take that much time to break these down into the strips I need. The 5-1/2″ strip die I am using only has one strip on it, so when I layer the fabrics on the die, there’s room in the tray for me to puddle the extra fabric off to the side.
Here are all my strips stacked up!
From the leftover scraps, I made little swatches for each color and put them on a safety pin. That just helps me keep track as some of the colors are really close. These labels are on the fat quarters for folks who ordered my Tribute to a Prince Fat Quarter pack. I still have a few left. If you don’t have labels, you can use painter’s tape and make your own.
Next is the triangle cutting! I’m using the Equilateral Triangle Studio Bullseye 5″ triangle from the set. The Bullseye dies are nested and come in even and odd sizes. It’s a neat concept because you can cut many different sizes, and also do neat cut-outs if you put multiple blades together.
My first cut is near the selvage end, so I make sure the selvages are off the die so they don’t end up in my triangle.
For the second cut, I rotate the die around so the triangles will be nested and I don’t waste too much fabric between. (I cut off the selvage scrap from the end before I took the photo.)
Here’s what my stack of triangles looks like and the scraps left over from cutting. You can see that there isn’t very much fabric wasted in between, but even if I were to cut these triangles side by side with a ruler, it wouldn’t be enough to get an extra triangle from the cut.
I do recognize that if I cut these by hand, I’d have 5-1/2″ triangles instead of 5″ triangles, and my quilt would be larger, but it would also take longer to cut out the quilt, since you can’t really cut 10 layers at a time with a rotary cutter. Die cutting is a trade-off, and I happen to think the trade is worth it. (As a bonus, this die has notches on two of the sides, so as I am sewing, I know which sides are bias and those would be the ones I sew together first.)
I do recommend that you mark the straight grain edge inside the seam allowance as you cut your triangles so you know which edge to keep on the top and bottom.
If you’re not sure how to use a 60-degree ruler, here’s a video I recorded showing how to use the Clearview 10″ Triangle Ruler.
After cutting the layers, I sort them out into their individual colors. Each stack has 18 triangles. I’m using an extra tray from my die cutter to store the triangles I am cutting. They look so pretty!
Now that all my triangles are cut, my next step will be to lay out the triangles into my desired pattern. If you wanted, you could just randomly sew triangles together, but I’m more interested in a controlled randomness, so I’m going to lay out the triangles before I stitch them together.
Unfortunately, my design wall is kind of busy right now, so I need to get these pieces stitched before I can use the wall for another project. I’m working on the backing for my Dear Pa Little House on the Prairie quilt. This is actually just one quarter of the backing, which will eventually be about 108″ x 108″. Too big for my design wall all at once!
I hope you have fun sewing this week – I’m away at Quilt Market, and I’ll be looking for fun things to show you!