Another Useful Tool: Split Rects

Today’s guest post is by Anne Wiens, a member of Quiltmaker’s 2013 Scrap Squad.

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Last week, I shared with you one of my favorite quilting tools, the V-Block tool, designed by Deb Tucker of Studio 180 Designs. Today, I’ll show you how to use her newest tool, the Split Rects.

productimage picture split rects 148 jpg 250x250 q85 Another Useful Tool: Split Rects

Like all of Deb’s tools, the Split Rects improves your accuracy in making these units, which can best be described as a “long half-square triangle”. The tool lets you make eight sizes of split rects, from 1/2″ x 1″ through 4″ x 8″. Each unit is twice as long as it is wide.

For our “Chicken Soup” wallhanging, we will be making split rects that finish 2″ x 4″, and like the V-Blocks tools, the math is simple – the finished length + 1″ = the width of your fabric strips. So all of the strips we use here will be cut 5″ wide.

Note: All of the split rects we’ll make for the Chicken Soup project are black, white, and/or gray. For the tutorial photos, I’ve used lavender and green so you can read the lines on the tool clearly.GEDC1559 1024x768 Another Useful Tool: Split Rects

Before cutting, you need to be sure your fabric strips are laid out correctly. We are going to need half of our split rects to slant upward (left above), and half to slant downward (above right). To accomplish this, we leave our 5″ strips folded, as they came off the bolt. This way we’ll be cutting mirror image pieces with each cut.

GEDC1552 1024x768 Another Useful Tool: Split RectsStraighten the end of the strip. There is a vertical line on the Split Rects tool that instructs you to “Place On Cut Edge of Strip.” Guess what you do with that? Correct! The horizontal line marked “2″ x 4″ Finished Unit” lines up with the bottom edge of the strip. Cut the triangle from the strip.

GEDC1553 1024x768 Another Useful Tool: Split Rects  This part an be a little confusing: Rotate the tool 180 degrees and align the slanted line with the cut edge of your strip as shown above. Notice the little bold line at the tip of the triangle – the one that says “2nd trim”. That little line goes at the bottom of your strip. You may also notice that no markings line up along the top of your fabric strip. That worried me a bit at first, but it’s okay. Cut the triangle from the strip.

You now have a straight edge on your strip again. Keep repeating these steps until you have cut the number of triangles you need.

GEDC1554 1024x768 Another Useful Tool: Split Rects

Because we had both strips folded, we automatically cut mirror images for each piece, and we will have half of our split rects slanting one direction and half slanting the opposite direction.

Flip the green triangle onto the purple triangle, lining up the bias edges. Offset the top and bottom corners approximately 1/4″ (close is good enough) and sew. Press the seams open. 

GEDC1555 1024x768 Another Useful Tool: Split Rects

Now we’re ready to trim, starting with the upward-slanting units. One corner of the tool has graduated rectangle markings, with diagonal lines. Lay the tool on your piece so that the upward-slanting line is on top of your seam. and the fabric extends beyond the 2-1/2″ and 4-1/2″ lines. Trim the right and top edges.

GEDC1556 1024x768 Another Useful Tool: Split Rects

Flip the unit around and lay the tool on the unit, so the diagonal line is along your seam. This time the bottom and left edges should line up with the 2-1/2″ and 4-1/2″ lines. Again, trim the right and top edges.

GEDC1557 1024x768 Another Useful Tool: Split Rects

The downward-slating units are trimmed the same way, except this time you use the diagonal line marked “2″ x 4″ Finished Unit”. Trim the right and top edges.

GEDC1558 1024x768 Another Useful Tool: Split Rects

Flip the unit, line up the bottom and left edges, then trim the right and top edges.

Note: If you are left-handed, you will be happy to know that the instructions for the Split Recs and V-Blocks tools are illustrated for both right and left-handed cutting!

GEDC14851 768x1024 Another Useful Tool: Split Rects

For Chicken Soup, we will need (from bottom) four pairs of split rects that are dark gray and white, four pairs that are black/red large floral print and white, and eight pairs that are dark gray with the white/gray scratch print.

So now you have two new tools to work with.

In Part 3, we’ll put the Chicken Soup top together, and tell you how you can win BOTH the V-Blocks and Split Rects tools, plus 2 fat quarter bundles – “Rooster Royale” and “Canvas” by Quilting Treasures – and because not everyone can win, I’ll give you a list of the fabrics I used in my project, with yardages and cutting instructions.

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