Today’s post is written by a guest, although she isn’t new to Quiltmaker.
Anne Wiens is a member of the QM Scrap Squad, so you’ve heard from her before. Today she agreed to tell you about a ruler that she is very fond of. Take it away, Anne!
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Let me state for the record that I am a gadget geek.
I wasn’t born this way. When I began quilting in the early 1970′s, we still made patchwork templates from cardboard cereal boxes, traced around them with a pencil and cut each one out with scissors. I wasn’t the first on my block to own a rotary cutter…just didn’t see the need.
Then in 1992 (yes, almost 20 years later) I began working part-time in a quilt shop. I had to use a rotary cutter, and was expected to be able to demonstrate each new tool or technique that came along. Long story short – I was hooked. I’ll bet I have as many acrylic templates and rulers lying around my studio as I have fat quarters…and that’s sayin’ something!
Recently, Diane the Scrap Squad “wrangler” asked me to write a couple of blog posts on two of my favorite tools, the V-Block and Split Recs, both designed by Deb Tucker of Studio 180 Designs. Then she sent me two fat quarter bundles from the Rooster Royale and Canvas lines, both by Quilting Treasures.
Since I like to design original projects to teach each new toy…er, tool…I’ve done the same for you. I will tell you it’s a wall hanging called Chicken Soup, but you have to wait until Part 3 to see it.
Today, let me introduce you to the V-Block tool:
The “V-Block” unit is also known as “Peaky & Spike” or “Triangle in a Square,” among other names, and is used in a number of traditional quilt blocks. With this tool, you can make V-blocks in eleven sizes from 1″ to 6″ in half-inch increments.
The math is simple. Determine the finished size of your V-block unit(s) and cut your strips 1″ wider than that. I would be working with 4″ finished V-blocks for this project, so my fabric strips were 5″ wide, and since I was working with fat quarters with nothing to spare, I cut them from the narrow (18″) edge, parallel to the selvage.
Here’s how the V-Block tool works:
Step 1: Cutting the center triangle. I do this differently than Deb does. Straighten the left edge of your fabric strip. There is a vertical dotted line on the tool that reads “fold line for center triangles.” Line this up with the left edge of your strip. The horizontal line that reads “4-inch finished unit” lines up with the bottom edge of your fabric strip. Cut this angle.
Step 2: Flip the tool over and line up the line labeled “center triangle trim line” along the cut edge and cut the triangle from the strip.
Step 3: Now flip the ruler back over, line up the “center triangle trim line” with the edge of your strip and cut another triangle. Repeat until you have the number of center triangles you need.
Now on to the side triangles. This may be a bit confusing, but once you’ve done a few, it makes sense.
Step 1: You will cut two layers of fabric at a time. Be sure they are wrong-sides-together so you are cutting mirror-image pieces with each cut! Straighten the left edge of your fabric strip and line up the solid vertical line marked “cut line for side triangle” with the edge of your fabric. Again, the horizontal line marked “4″ finished unit” lines up with the bottom edge of your strip. Cut the triangle.
Step 2: THIS IS THE TRICKY PART. Flip the tool over and line up the “cut line for side triangles” with the angled edge of your fabric strip. Look at the photo closely and you’ll notice that the corner of the tool is on the bottom edge of the fabric strip.Cut the triangle from the strip. You now have a straight edge on your strip again. Repeat until you have the number of triangle pairs you need.
Now to the sewing machine! Oops…I got so excited about sewing, that I forgot to stop and take step-by-step photos of the red and white units we just cut, so the following photos show a black center triangle with white side triangles.
Step 1: Sew the bias edge of one side triangle to a bias edge of the center triangle. The points should meet at the top of the triangles, and the blunt bottom tip of the side triangle will extend a bit beyond the bottom of the center triangle. Press the seam open.
Step 2: Since you pressed your seam open, you have a white “dog ear” at the top of your triangle pair. Match the corner of your second side triangle with that dog ear. Again, the blunt lower edge of the side triangle will extend past the bottom corner of the center triangle. Sew the seam and press open.
The sewing is done, and it’s back to the cutting table! The beauty of the V-Block tool is that you make the units a little larger than they need to be, then trim them down so they are the perfect size every time.
Step 1: Lay your V-block unit on the mat so that the center triangle is “pointing” at you. Since we’re making a 4″ finished unit, the point of the center triangle is tucked into the notch labeled “4″ on the tool. The solid lines extending from this notch should be right on your seam lines. Trim the right and top edges of your piece.
Step 2: Flip your unit around. You’ll notice a line of “notches” along the top edge of the tool. Line up the left and bottom edges of your unit with the 4-1/2″ horizontal and vertical lines, and the top point of your center triangle should tuck into one of those notches. Trim the right and top edges of the unit.
There you go…perfect 4-1/2″ V block units!
I made eight of each of these V-block units for Chicken Soup.
On Thursday, I’ll show you Deb Tucker’s newest great idea, the “Split Recs” tool!
In Part 3, I’ll show you Chicken Soup and we’ll have a giveaway of Quilting Treasures fabric and both of these rulers. Hope to see you then!