Anyway, back to what I really meant to blog about.... At this month's guild meeting we had a cutting/kit making workshop where we chose fabrics the guild provided and were to make a charity quilt with it. The guild is collecting charity quilts for the NICU at a local hospital and the quilts have to be 24" x 36" or smaller. After coming home with only three fabrics I decided to design the little charity baby quilt in my my EQ7 quilting software program. This is what I came up with:
half square triangles, 4 squares, and 1 larger square block in the center. That's it.
I knew the square units would be easy to cut all I needed was help with the half square triangles. Vicki, (from one of our sponsors) Quilting Lodge sent me a packet of 3" Thangles just in time! For those of you that don't know what they are.... they are strips of paper with the stitching lines and cutting lines printed on them to make the half square triangle making process much faster and easier. They come in a bunch of sizes from 1/2" to 6". Depending on the size you choose you will be able to make different amounts of half square triangles with each pack. For the complete breakdown click here.
Here is how they work:
You cut strips of your fabric 1/2" bigger than the size block you want it to finish. For example I needed 3" blocks so I cut all my strips 3 1/2" wide. I did that for the two fabrics I want to make up my half square triangle. I lay the strips on top of each other with pretty sides of the fabric touching. Then you lay the Thangles paper strip over your fabric strips and pin in place.
Thangles paper. Then just separate the units from each other by cutting down the center of the black lines in the center of the Thangles paper.
Next, cut down the solid line that is in between the dotted lines. The instructions ask you to press while the paper is still on to set your seam.
Thangles paper like this. I will admit, I thought that yanking the paper off of these was going to seriously distort my block but the Thangles are made of some special paper that even when some bits get stuck you can pull it out without yanking the delicate fabric of your block. So, that's good! Another plus is that you can chain piece if you have enough of these setup. I did that with like 10 of my units but because of the angle of the lines on the rectangular strip I found ir more annoying than anything. So, I just did it the regular way. Even if you didn't chain piece I think you would still save time. After pressing your blocks open I recommend measuring them to double-check and make sure they finished 3 1/2" x 3 1/2".
I was skeptical at first... and now I'm just plain upset. Where were these Thangles when I needed them to make the 400+ half square triangles for the Midnight Diamantes quilt?!!? Sheesh....
I used them tonight to make 48 half square triangles and here is my product review of Thangles.
-easy to use
- no more tracing lines on blocks
-leaves only one dog ear for you to trim instead of two
-allows you to make more half square triangles in less time than other methods
- a little tricky to pin at first
- some fabric waste unless you trim the Thangles paper
- a little tricky to line up fabric strips perfect AND the Thangles paper on top to pin
- takes some getting used to, to make sure you get precise blocks
If you've been looking for Thangles or are considering trying them out..... You can buy them from our sponsor, Quilting Lodge. They are just $5 (US) no matter the size you choose... and you get a FREE quilt pattern with any Thangles purchase!