This month we are making blocks for our second border. You can use the same block for all four sides (traditional medallion style), create a log cabin look with one block on two sides and a different block on the other two sides, or use different block designs on each of the sides.
As we did last month, we are not trying to make a border the perfect size yet, we are just making blocks that will ultimately be used to build the second border. See last month’s post if you need general guidance on block size or numbers. Border #2 will be bigger than border #1, so you will probably want more blocks than last month if you are planning to make a complete border around the quilt. Asymmetric block positioning will usually not require as many blocks.
Block Inspiration Idea – Triangles
Triangle is the very high level prompt for this month. You can make triangles that are very regular (ie, half square or equilateral triangles), triangles that are very tall and spiky, flying geese, blocks composed of triangles (ie, pinwheels) or triangle shapes made of lines. Of course, any of these can also be done wonky and/or improvisationally.
|Half Square Triangles (HSTs)
|Block of your choice
|Rally Block (MQG site)
|Vector Block (MQG site)
|Block of your choice
|String Pieced Triangles
|Block of your choice
The Mild/Medium/Spicy boundaries are a bit indistinct this month. One person’s medium may be another person’s spicy, and vice versa. Flying Geese are relatively easy, but require more piecing, so they are listed as a medium effort. However, if you draft your own pattern for a curvy band of geese around all four sides of your quilt, you might categorize it as spicy. Some people find improv very freeing and would call it mild, while others are nervous about it and might put it in the medium or spicy bucket. Most of the border ideas this month are therefore organized by the underlying block style, rather than perceived effort or difficulty.
Half Square Triangles
Half square triangles, also known as HSTs, are a fundamental building block in quilt designs. They can range from tiny (1” finished size) to huge (12-18”, your definition may vary). They are lovely when arranged in order in a row, but are also fun when rotated or staggered.
Tutorials for these abound. Yvonne Fuchs wrote a particularly good one for the Modern Fundamentals series on the MQG website that covers the basics and explains different ways to make them, along with the pros and cons of different methods: https://community.themodernquiltguild.com/resources/modern-fundamentals-half-square-triangles.
All Seattle MQG members are members of the MQG, so you should be able to access this. If you aren’t a Seattle MQG or other MQG member, google “half square triangle tutorials”- you’ll find lots of them.
Karen Brown of “Just Get It Done Quilts” has a good one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2RZs_9qlSY. If you participated in the Begonia BOM in 2019, you’ve made lots of HSTs and probably have your own favorite method already.
Equilateral (60 degree) Triangles
Terry Atkinson tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xrEeXDugKo (60 degree ruler method)
Angela Walters Midnight Quilt Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R2rIylMqsI (template method)
Equilateral triangles also work really well with freezer paper foundation piecing. Rebecca Bryan has a good tutorial on how to do this kind of piecing, but you’ll need to draft your own pattern. https://bryanhousequilts.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/PAPERLESS-PAPER-PIECING_Tutorial.pdf
Spiky Triangle Variation
Try playing with scale. Vary the size of the spikes if that appeals. Make them slightly wonky for a fun look.
If you prefer improv to careful measurement, trimming, and point matching, here are tutorials for multiple approaches to improv triangles.
Patchwork Posse video- improv HSTs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K61-bxppJmI (the more improv-y versions start about halfway through the video)
Gwen Marston- Unequal Equilateral Triangles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_85pauizzA
Maria Shell tutorial for improv (equilateral-ish) triangles (she also calls these flying geese) https://talesofastitcher.com/2019/05/25/improv-triangles-perfectly-pointless/
Sujata Shah also shows how to make improv triangles in her book, Cultural Fusion Quilts.
Another classic quilt block involving triangles is the flying geese block. These also work in any size and can be arranged in lots of interesting ways, depending mostly on how much piecing you want to do. They can also be very uniform, or improv.
An excellent tutorial for making them several ways is by Karen Brown of Just Get it Done Quilts- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfZ732A9S9w
Here is a tutorial for making improv flying geese from Patchwork Posse, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6he-ydkzSs and a really free form approach from Michele Bilyeu: https://www.with-heart-and-hands.com/2011/06/liberated-flying-geese-tutorial.html
Flying geese can also be pieced so that they appear to be flying in a curve. Typically you will want to foundation piece these. Patterns are available, but they are pretty easy to draft for yourself as well (and you can make them to whatever size and shape curve you wish). Tutorials: This is a classic one from Gail Garber. She uses a flexible curve as an aid, but you can totally draw your curves freehand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_NV0Id1X-k. A lovely organic approach is demonstrated in this tutorial: http://whynotsew.blogspot.com/2011/04/drafting-your-own-paper-pieced-pattern.html
Not exactly a flying geese block, but similar in concept is the MQG Block Study block, Vector, by Sarah Ruiz. These look a bit like paper airplanes or arrowheads, but could be really cool circling around your quilt. Link to pattern: https://community.themodernquiltguild.com/resources/vector-march-2018.
What about evoking a triangular shape with lines? One of the quilt patterns in the MQG Resources page, Rally, by Melanie Tuazon, https://community.themodernquiltguild.com/resources/rally-quilt-mqg-modern-classic-february-2020 makes a lovely “roof” or “caret” shape.
It looks something like this, but can be varied by playing more with the angles.
A similar but slightly more uniform block from the MQG resources is Side Stripe by Renee Tallman. This may look familiar, because we used it as a block for one of our giving quilts in 2019. The pattern is on the MQG site: https://community.themodernquiltguild.com/resources/side-stripe-february-2018
Here is a Side Stripe block made for one of our 2019 giving quilts by Rachel Singh and a detail from the quilt, showing how it looks in rows:
Extra Spicy Options
If you are feeling really spicy, think about constructing your triangles from pieced units. A classic would be string pieced triangles (see excellent tutorial from Sarah Bond on the MQG site https://community.themodernquiltguild.com/resources/scrappy-triangles-project-webinar), but also take a look at some of Rebecca Bryan’s gorgeous pieced modern triangles. She has a webinar on the MQG site (https://community.themodernquiltguild.com/resources/quilter%E2%80%99s-guide-graphic-design-applying-lessons-graphic-design-modern-quilt-making), plus a tutorial for a specific block on YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YemLHNyBF8.
Another spicy approach would be to make units out of triangles, i.e. pinwheel blocks out of HSTs, or star blocks with HSTs.
Have fun making point-y objects for your next border!
Don’t forget to post your progress using the hashtag #SeaMQGSalsaBOM.
Books with Ideas for Triangles
All of these books are in the King County Library System collection and some are available through the Seattle Public Library.
Cultural Fusion Quilts by Sujata Shah, 2014
Modern Triangle Quilts by Rebecca Bryan, 2017
Quilting From Every Angle by Nancy Purvis, 2015
Teach Me to Sew Triangles by Pat Sloan, 2015
The Half-Square Triangle by Jeni Baker, 2015
Please be social!
Don’t forget to tag your progress pictures on Instagram! Use the hashtags #SeaMQGSalsaBOM or #smqgbom2021 to share your BOM progress.
Also continue to use the hashtags #seamqg #seattlemqg #showusyourmqg and #seattlemqgsewathome to share the wonderful quilts you’re creating.
We will aim to post the next instructions right before the April meeting. Stay tuned, and happy sewing!