Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Side Triangle and Corner Triangle Cutting Cart

Quilters use this triangle cutting chart when piecing a diagonal layout quilt. In a diagonal layout, blocks are placed on-point. The blocks are shown in white above. The corner triangles, shown in black, are in the corners. Side triangles, shown in gray, are along the edges.  

Cutting Triangles from Squares

This triangle cutting chart is based on cutting squares then sub-cutting the squares into triangles. 

Cut the square twice diagonally for side triangles.

Side Triangle Cuts

Cut the square once diagonally for corner triangles

Corner Triangle Cuts

Why Cut Triangles from Squares?

Squares are easy to cut. First, cut along the width of fabric. Next, sub-cut into squares. Finally, sub-cut the squares into 2 or 4 triangles. Cutting squares this way ensures the grain lines follow the outer edges of the quilt. The picture below shows the grain lines for the side triangle cuts. These cuts put either the crosswise or lengthwise grain along the outside edges of the quilt.

Next we have a picture of the grain lines for the corner triangle cuts. These cuts also put the grain lines along the outside edges of the quilt.

How to Use the Triangle Cutting Chart

I suggest you cut test squares to make sure you are cutting the correct size. I like to make my squares about an inch larger then cut them down later.

Step 1 - First, find the finished block size in column 1.

Step 2 - Next, find the corresponding number in column 2. Cut squares to this size in inches. One square gives you 4 side triangles. Step 3 - Finally, find the corresponding number in column 3. Cut 2 squares to this size in inches. One square gives you 2 corner triangles.

NOTE: When in doubt about what size to cut, always round UP just to be sure. You can always trim it down later.

Triangle Math

If you prefer to do the math yourself, here are the formulas:

Side Triangles

(Finished block size in inches x 1.414) + 1.25"

Corner Triangles

(Finished block size in inches / 1.414) + .875"

Happy quilting!


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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Chain Piecing

Chain piecing is a method of speed piecing where segments of fabric are fed into the sewing machine one after the other without stopping to cut the threads. This produces a chain of sewn segments that are then cut apart and pressed.

Chain Piecing Steps

Here are the steps to accomplish the chain piecing technique:

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Needle Plate

The needle plate, sometimes called the throat plate, covers the area near the needle. There are 2 commonly used needle plates: the zig zag plate, shown above, and the straight stitch plate shown below. In this article you will learn about the differences in these plates and why you might want to have both of them on hand.

Using Scraps From Pre-Cut Strips

NOTE: In October 2017 I posted this one minute video on using scraps from pre-cut strips. Since that time I have probably made 5 or 6 more of these. That's a lot of scraps.

Here is the finished quilt!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Strip Piecing: Free Pattern and Tutorial

If you need a quilt that's easy, fast and fun to make, the Strip Pieced Diagonal Beginner quilt is for you. I found this easy strip piecing pattern a few years back when I was looking for easy quilts to make for Veterans.

Using just three fabrics and strip piecing, you will love how quickly this quilt comes together.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Amazon Star, The Biggest Quilt I Ever Made!

Here it is guys. Amazon Star designed by It finishes at 104" x 104". I have never made a quilt this big. My daughter, Diane, wanted a duvet cover for a king size bed. So I offered to make one for her. This is a picture of the finished quilt top taken by China at Sew Special Quilts in Katy Texas, where I purchased the fabrics.

Paper Piecing Floating Points - Free Pattern and Tutorial

I have seen plenty of paper piecing patterns with spikes and star points. Paper piecing makes these points nice and sharp at the seam allowance. Even with the precision of paper piecing, we can sometimes end up with cut off points when piecing the units together.

What can we do to prevent ever cutting off our points? The answer is paper piecing floating points. Floating points mean the points do not end at the seam allowance. Instead, the points end in the interior of the unit.

The floating points for these spikes will never be cut off because the points don't end at the seam lines for the unit.

Foundation Paper Piecing Tutorial

Quilters use paper or fabric as a foundation for piecing quilt tops. this tutorial shows how to use the foundation paper piecing method. Quilters use paper foundation to quickly and easily piece designs with strong, sharp points. Other paper pieced designs include very detailed flowers, faces, animals and lots more. 

There are many ways to obtain designs for foundation paper piecing.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Color Block Quilt

The Color Block Quilt is pieced using strips of fabric. Choose 13 coordinating or contrasting fabrics. Cut each fabric into strips then piece the strips together into rows. Fabric from one row flows into the next. You’ll be amazed how fast this top goes together. The Color Block quilt finishes about 60″ x 72″.

Strip Piecing Tutorial

Strip piecing is a technique using strips of fabric sewn together in parallel rows. The parallel rows are called strip sets. Cut the strip set into segments called units. Sew the units into the quilt top. This strip piecing tutorial shows you how.

Strips are cut in various widths from selvage to selvage. Using this method cuts down on the time it takes to cut and sew units together.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

String Quilts

Traditionally string quilts are pieced using a foundation of lightweight muslin or newspapers. In old quilts you often see the newspapers still inside. A string quilt uses long scraps of fabric. You can use scraps of any color or use coordinating colors for your quilt.

For my Quilts of Valor I use scraps of blue and red with a single white or tan fabric on the diagonal. I place the blue fabrics on one side of the diagonal and the red fabrics on the other side. This creates a look that is similar to the log cabin block. Where log cabin blocks have a light and a dark side, this block has a red and a blue side.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Lone Star Block Mini Workshop

Lone star block workshop

The Lone Star block is a classic design. It is traditionally made by piecing rows and rows of diamond shaped fabrics into larger diamond shapes. Piecing these diamond shapes, with all the bias edges, is often difficult to do, especially for beginner quilters. Instead of cutting fabric into diamonds, this workshop shows you how to use fabric strips. This free mini workshop shows you step by step how to make a Lone Star block. The following techniques will be demonstrated and explained:

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Understanding Quiltworx Papers

This set of 8 videos were the first videos I ever made and shared on YouTube in March of 2017. I had just become a Certified Instructor for Quiltworx, Judy Niemeyer Quilting. If you are a fan of Quiltworx patterns, I hope these videos help you!

This tutorial will help you understand how to use the paper piecing patterns published by Quiltworx.  It demonstrates how to cut fabric and paper piece the flying geese units shown here. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

How To Fold And Store A Quilt

My friend, Jackie Theriot, owner of Black Cat Creations, suggested an article on how to fold and store a quilt without getting creases in it over time. This is something that has always concerned me. Generally, most of my quilts are given away or donated to causes. But the ones I will always keep are simply folded and placed on a shelf. They do have creases in them but Jackie has inspired me to look into this problem and find a solution. Here is what I found.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Download Free Quilt Pattern - Shaded Nine Patch Scrap Quilt

The Shaded Nine Patch block consists of three light squares, three dark squares and three half square triangles made from both light and dark fabrics. When you look at the completed block it resembles a half square triangle. This means you can set these blocks in a multitude of ways. All the log cabin settings will work, all the pinwheel settings work and any setting that uses half square triangles works. In this download there are seven example layouts. What I like most about this block is that you can piece lots of them and decide later how to set them.

The finished block in this quilt is 9" so each of the squares and half square triangles finish at 3".
  • The squares are cut at 3-1/2".
  • For the half square triangles normally the squares are cut at 3-7/8" but we will cut them 4" and square up the half square triangle later.
Here are a few setting for the Shaded Nine Patch block.

All facing the same way.

Streak of Lightning

Zig Zag


Barn Raising

Happy quilting!


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Five Steps To Mitered Corners

This article was originally posted in July of 2018 on my old website.

Mitered corners look great on quilts. Many quilters shy away from sewing them because it seems complicated. Break it down to these 5 simple steps and get the results you want every time.

Step 1: Cut Border Strips

In this example we use a quilt top that measures 11" x 14".

The borders are cut at 3-1/2" and finish at 3".

Friday, February 12, 2021

From Squares to Star

A star block with perfect points made from squares

I saw this technique at a retreat sometime in 2015. These star blocks are easy to cut, easy to piece and make beautiful quilts. The block is made from 2-1/2" squares and 3-1/2" squares.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Progress On Scrap Garden

Revised February 17, 2021

Changed number of units needed to complete quilt.

Last weekend I cut the fabrics for this quilt block. This is the sample I made before cutting all the fabric pieces with my AccuQuilt.

I started with the half square triangles. I stitched all 124 HSTs. Then pressed them all to the dark fabric.

Churn Dash Block Using Fat Quarters

The churn dash quilt block is an old favorite. It's a 9-patch block, meaning there are 9 units of construction. There are four half square triangle units, four rail fence units and one plain block unit. In this article you will learn how to piece a 12" finished churn dash quilt block. Look at the end of this article for other finished block sizes. There is a link to instructions to make a Churn Dash Quilt approximately 66" x 80" finished. For these instructions you can use scraps or two fat quarters of contrasting fabrics. Two fat quarters will make two blocks.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

How A Lockstitch Is Made

This article describes how a lockstitch is made. Most standard sewing machines produce the lockstitch.

Lockstitch - a sewing machine stitch formed by the looping together of two threads one on each side of the material being sewn. -- Merriam-Webster

This video was produced by Threads Magazine and published to YouTube on March 11, 2015.

Texas Edition: Yellow Rose

This block is part of the Texas Edition Block of the Month program.

Fabric and Special Instructions for Yellow Rose

For those of you in the Texas Edition BOM program, this video shows the fabric and special instructions for the Yellow Rose block.

Texas Edition: Welcome 2 Texas

This block is part of the Texas Edition Block of the Month program.

Trace The Pieces

NOTE: The Bluebonnet flowers at the bottom of the block will be a little challenging….but you can do it! I suggest you leave those till the end. Don’t even trace the pieces just yet. There is a video at the end that will help you through assembling the Bluebonnets.

Texas Edition: Windmills and Sunflowers

This block is part of the Texas Edition Block of the Month program.

Raw Edge Applique Process

The process of completing a raw edge applique project are illustrated in the Ol’ Texan Pick Up Truck Tutorial. The same process us is used for Windmill and Sunflowers.

Texas Edition: Ol' Texan Pick Up

This block is part of the Texas Edition Block of the Month program.

Trace The Pieces

You will need a light box for tracing. If you are making the small size you can begin tracing now. If you are making the large size, you will need to tape the large pages together to make the complete design. Once the paper is ready you can begin tracing the applique pieces. The video below shows how to prepare the drawing and trace the pieces.

Texas Edition Block of the Month Quilt

This block of the month program was done in 2019. The pictures are for inspiration. The patterns can be purchased from the designer, Tana Mueller, on her website Designs By Tana.

The first four blocks have lessons on how to make the raw edge applique blocks. There are links to them in this article.

This short video introduces the program.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Color Junction Quilt Video Tutorial

Here is a video I made in January 2020 showing how to make this quilt. It's just equilateral triangles!

Monday, February 8, 2021

This Week At Five Oaks

This weekend I started cutting my next scrap quilt I'm calling Scrap Garden. I've never been good at coming up with clever names for quilts but it's a scrap quilt and I'm making plans for a garden so Scrap Garden works for me.

The quilt is made from two classic blocks: 

Shoo Fly
Consists of half square triangles and squares.

Fifty Four Forty Or Fight
Consists of a square, 4-patches and tri-rec units.

How to Make a Mondo Bag

These bags are really fun to make. I first posted this tutorial in January of 2018. For Christmas the month before, I made 14 of these bags, one for each of the women in my family. They were a big hit.

In July of 2019, after a subscriber asked me about the lining, I added a video I found that explained the lining a little better. It is included later in the tutorial.

In This Tutorial

Here are the steps for making a Mondo Bag:

Saturday, February 6, 2021

The Bear Paw Quilt Block

The Bear Paw quilt block is a classic. This block looks great when set on point as well as in straight sets. This tutorial shows how easy it is to make the Bear Paw quilt block using triangle papers. First lets look at some Bear Paw quilt blocks in quilts. These pictures come from the QuiltNotesLLC board on Pinterest.

How to Piece The Bear Paw Quilt Block:  Step-By-Step

This method used Triangles On A Roll brand of triangle papers.

A chart at the end of this article shows the fabric cutting requirements for various sizes of finished blocks.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Corner 4-Patch - One Block Many Quilts

The Corner 4-Patch block finishes at 8" and is easy and fun to make. There is a 4-patch unit in the corner. The rest of the block consists of a 4″ square and a 4″ x 8″ rectangle. Use scraps, fat quarters, yardage or a combination of all three. Use strip piecing, patchwork piecing or both to construct this unit. 

4-Patch: Finished size is 4". Made with 2-1/2" strips cut from width of fabric (WOF) of one dark and one light fabric. To really make the 4-patch pop, choose light and dark fabrics that contrast

Thursday, February 4, 2021

AccuQuilt Launch Party!

FEBRUARY 16TH, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CST

AccuQuilt Launch Party


Don't miss the excitement as the first new dies of the year are revealed! These are special, limited edition dies you won't want to miss, along with inspiring new patterns and project ideas!

There's sure to be a special offer, too, so plan to join Pam and Erica for all the news! Register now to join the fun and qualify to win great prizes during the event.

Understanding Quiltworx Papers

Note: I originally published this post in 2017. At that time I was either attending sorkshops to become a Certified Quiltworx Instructor, or I was already certified. I can't remember when that was. It is not 2021 and some things may have changed but I think this should give you a good understanding about how the papers are used.


You can tell a paper is a unit because the word UNIT is printed in bold lettering. Units are the foundation we use when we are using the foundation paper piecing technique to make a quilt top.

Note: When cutting units from the large newsprint sheets, cut 1/8″ to 1/4″ outside the trim line. This extra paper allows you to trim the unit to size after piecing.

There are many things printed on each unit, but for this tutorial we look at just a few of them. This is a picture of Unit CZR for a flying geese unit.

Trim and Sew Lines

Trim lines and sew lines are the two

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Quilting Fabric Terms

Quilting Fabric Terms

Quiltmakers often choose cotton quilting fabric.  New quiltmakers should understand some fabric terminology.  In this article we explore 5 fabric terms. Learning these terms helps avoid frustrating and costly mistakes.


First we look at a bolt. A bolt is a cardboard tube or flat plank. Fabric manufacturers roll long lengths of fabric onto the bolt to sell to stores and other manufacturers.  The 16 second video below is from Hoffman Fabrics.  It shows fabric loading

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Starry Path Quilt Using AccuQuilt

The first quilt I made for my daughter used this block. It was finished in March of 1994. I don't recall actually piecing the quilt but I probably used cardboard or plastic templates I traced from a magazine. then cut them out.

Here is that quilt today.

You can't see the border too well from this picture, but each of the four accent fabrics

Monday, February 1, 2021

Mini Trunk Show - Four Scrap Quilts

These four scrap quilts were all made using the same process of cutting scraps as I finish projects. Sometimes I just cut scraps for the fun of it. Most of the quilts I make are about 60" x 80".

This 60 second video shows the process I used for all these quilts.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Facing A Quilt

Recently I learned about facing a quilt instead of binding it. You attach facing in a way similar to the way binding is attached. Fold the binding completely to the back. Facing a quilt doesn't add any extra dimension, color or texture to the outer edges of the quilt.

The border fabric looks like weathered wood. I wanted it to look like a framed window. Check out the video of how I faced

Friday, January 29, 2021

AccuQuilt Strip Cutters: Cut and Miter Strips for Binding

AccuQuilt strip cutters are fast and easy to use. The speed and accuracy in cutting far surpasses what I can do with a rotary cutter. The AccuQuilt strip cutter (2″ finished size) is the workhorse of my AccuQuilt dies. Use it to cut strips for all the Jelly Roll™ patterns, sashings, bindings and more.

Use either of these AccuQuilt dies to cut

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Disappearing Shoo Fly Using AccuQuilt

What is a Disappearing Shoofly Block? Start with a Shoofly Block.

Cut it into 4 equal pieces.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Wednesday News - 01/27/21

At The Retreat House

In February, the retreat side will be closed for renovations to the small upstairs bathroom. The shop side will still be open for shopping on Thursdays from 10-2. We decided to do these renovations earlier than planned to take advantage of this time when many of us want to stay hunkered down for a little longer. 

In the shop area we have added ductless air/heat system to make it more comfortable and we are adding two doors to enter from the outside. This will make it easier

How To Fold A Fat Quarter

A fat quarter is the same amount of fabric as a quarter yard of fabric. The difference between a fat quarter and a quarter yard of fabric is the shape. Most quilting fabric is about 45" wide. A yard of fabric is 36" x 45". If we cut that yard into quarters you would have 4 pieces each 9" x 45".

The 9" cut is less than ideal for making quilts.  Quilters often like

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Lengthwise Grain Borders and Binding

Sometimes I like to use the same fabric for the outer border and the binding. I also like to cut my borders along the lengthwise grain. Depending on the size of the border, there will be  a chunk of fabric leftover. I love to make scrap quilts so this doesn't bother me.

Why Lengthwise Cuts?

The lengthwise grain runs parallel to the selvage. It is stronger and stretches less than the crosswise grain which runs from selvage-to-selvage.

Friday, January 22, 2021

How To Size A Quilt

One of the most common questions I get from customers is how to make a quilt a certain size. In this video I describe how I do that on paper and then show you how to use the Sizing A Quilt calculator.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

It's Elementary Quilt

I finished this quilt top today. The fabrics are from the It's Elementary collection by American Jane for Moda Fabrics.

It uses this It's Elementary ABC Panel.

I cut out each picture 1/4" from the outer edge of the frame, shown in green here.