Nov 04 14

Setting Blocks on Point

Maybe it’s just me, but I almost always think a quilt is more interesting if the blocks are set on point as opposed to being set on square.  Compare the quilt above with the quilt below as an example:
I guess the one exception for me is when the blocks are set on square but the elements inside the blocks are set along the diagonal, as in the quilt block below:
Anyway, I am digressing from today’s issue.  If you have a quilt where you’re setting the blocks on point, then you’re going to need to square everything up at the end by throwing in some side setting triangles and corner setting triangles.  This is not a big deal but because those triangles always start out a little larger than they need to be and ultimately get trimmed, it can be tough to know just how much “real estate” will be contained within the final triangle blocks.  Back when I was finishing my applique with hand guided decorative embroidery using my sewing machine, this was not a big deal.   When I made quilts like this one:
…I would actually piece and then trim my triangle blocks into the quilt, and then fuse my appliques inside the blocks.  This way, I knew exactly how large the triangle blocks would be before I determined the applique shapes that would fit inside.  Unfortunately, you just don’t have that luxury when you’re working with machine embroidery applique.  You have to make a good estimate at how large those triangles will be after trimming and then digitize the design to that size.  You applique/embroider a giant square  that you will later chop into 4 side setting triangles.  Here is the giant square for the quilt I’m working on now:
…and here it is after it’s been hacked into 4 triangles and pieced in place:
Again, I won’t know if the layout will work or not until I’ve completed the corner setting triangles and they’ve been pieced into the top and all triangles have been trimmed, but you can see in this closeup that there’s  a good chance my placement won’t work:
I hate these nail-biting moments!  I won’t know for sure for another day or two…please keep your fingers crossed for me!


  1. SewCalGal Says:

    Beautiful quilts. I too prefer blocks set on point vs traditional rows. But I think the math, as well as working with fabric cut on bias that scares many from designing/making such quilts. While I do make quilts on point, I’ll confess I still hold my breadth and hope it lays flat and works out.


  2. Diane Evans Says:

    There’s a safety net for this, Patsy — if you absolutely had to, you could sew a thin strip of contrasting fabric to the outer eade of each of the white background blocks, which would extend the seam allowance. That way, the outside edges of the blue corner pieces would line up perfectly with the edges of the strips you added. You could breathe again!

    Just a thought from Someone Who’s Been There And Done That . . .


  3. Leslie McNEil Says:

    i agree! love the squares set on point… but much of the math is totally greek to me! I trust you though… you will figure it out, and i know it will be completely beautiful in every aspect! i’ve never tried machine embroidery appliqué… perhaps someday {sooner rather than later?!!} lol and best wishes to you!