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Thread: Need some pointers please!

  1. #1
    Jamie's Avatar
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    I was reading a quilting magaize...and there was this amazing windmill quilt...ive never done this type of pattern...Now here is where I need help..the points need to come to point and touch...I apparently am not that good at making points...some pointers would be wonderful..it has to be sewn tip to tip right? Help please lol

  2. #2
    Cookn's Avatar
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    Without knowing the pattern, it's hard to say how it needs to be sewn. If they are triangles I've never seen any that you sew all the way to the tip. All that I've ever done require a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around even in the tips. If you are sewing all seams all the way it will never work out.

  3. #3
    Jamie's Avatar
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    It's all triangles...but it doesn't give any specific direction on how to sew them together, other than to make a square out of them...usualy you sew everything with a 1/4 in seam allowance...but there are patterns that you don't so that it makes crisp points...I'm just not farmiliar with making points this thin and sharp.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie
    It's all triangles...but it doesn't give any specific direction on how to sew them together, other than to make a square out of them...usualy you sew everything with a 1/4 in seam allowance...but there are patterns that you don't so that it makes crisp points...I'm just not farmiliar with making points this thin and sharp.
    Jamie if you sew a half squre triangle block -you'll see one below and them sew two blocks together. If you have the corners of your square so the seam is in the evenly in the middle of tht two fabrics you will get a point that is 1/4" from the edge after you sew the two together.

    Just make sure your seam comes out in the middle at each corner and make sure you are using a 1/4" seam allowance and your points will fall in place.

    I use this nearly everyday in what I do. I use more half square triangles than anything else.

    Hope this helps!
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  5. #5
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    Also Jamie I tend to be a perfectionist because I sell my stuff and want it to be the best I can make it. I will pull a seam apart and redo it 5 times til it is something I can live with. But I still have points sometimes that disappear or are too fat at the end or too short of the place they are supposed to be.

    I have learned to fix what I can and find that moment when I have done all I can and I have got to the point where I can live with it and let it go even when it isn't what I want it to be.

    So don't sweat it if it doesn't come to a perfect point. Noone is perfect!! As long as the design is clear and I also can sew quilting stitches over it when I quilt it down and it isn't noticable anymore if it is off a little.

    Have a good time with it!! :D :D

  6. #6
    Super Member Sharon M's Avatar
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    Rhonda, I also have trouble with points sometimes :( and I really try to be careful. When you are puting 2 of the squares together do you start sewing where the points meet and then away from them? I have tried pinning and not pinning .... have more luck more often when not pinning. I am careful when cutting and have a 1/4 inch foot for my machine, I square them up after the triangles are sewn together so I can only assume my problem is when I sew the squares together, so maybe that is where I need pointers :?: :!: Thank you , teacher Rhonda :D :D

  7. #7
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    Sewing is the key, Make sure you have your seam allowances at 1/4 in and sew your seams so they go just to the tip of the point or even a little above but dont sew over the point. >l

  8. #8
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    Make sure you cut accurately and have a 1/4 inch seam. Mine always seen a little bulky in the center of the windmill, but ironing every seam helps. My points are not always perfect. That adds personality to my quilt. LOL

  9. #9
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    When you go to sew two blocks together I always tack the corners together but I bend back one corner so I can make sure the seams match on the inside. Then I tack on the side that your seam will go through. I had a student that tacked on the top and then couldn't figure out how to open the seam to iron it. I always open my seams to iron because open seams are less bulky than ironing to the dark. That is more important in minis than in a reg. size quilt.

    When sewing together two sets of half square triangle blocks I tack in the center where the seams meet and then I tack at the end where the corners meet. I rarely use pins for this because I feel the pins don't hold it as firmly as tacking and everytime I choose to cheat and sew without tacking or use pins instead -about 75% of the time I have to take it back out and then I am kicking myself for trying to hurry the process.
    I HATE to take out seams of any size!!!

    This attention to detail really pays off most of the time. I will still have a problem if the corner of the block wasn't right to begin with. If my poin tis off I go back and take the corner apart and look to see if the seam is even in the middle or if one side or the other is bigger than it should be. I will trim it gently and try again. Sometimes if your seam is not right you can just sew along the seam and make a tighter seam Sew on the inside to make the corner more even.

    I just did this yesterday. I had one that I had two blocks sewn together and was putting two sets together. The problem was that one of the two blocks in one set was sitting at an angle instead of being square with the block. I ran another seam along the existing seam and came in about an 1/8" or less to make the block strtaighten up and be squared off against the other block. It's kinda like sewing a tuck into a blouse - you start at the original seam and then angle your newer seam in.

    If this doesn't make sense I can show you pictures I think I diagramed this for something I did.

    Sorry to be so wordy!!

  10. #10
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    I start from a differant perspective than most people. I don't sew triangles together. I cut out Half Square "Blocks" with my cut down method. IF you keep the corner of your template on the seams you will end up with a squared square and your seams will be even automatically.
    Clickon the cut down method in my ignature below and check out how I make HSTs

    Then I sew from tip to stern on everything. I never start anywhere but the edge.

  11. #11
    Super Member Sharon M's Avatar
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    first of all, thank you Jamie, for starting this thread I hope it helps you as much as it is helping me :D . Thank you Rose Marie, Littlehud, Loretta and Rhonda with sharing your pointers and expertise.
    sorry to ask so many questions, but guess that is how we learn and if I want to know maybe my question will help someone else too. Rhonda, when you say tack do you mean hand tack or machine? one stich or two? Sorry to be so dumb but I would like to get this down so it is more enjoyable to me and not so frustrating. :D I think that about covers it for me, didn't mean to take over your thread, Jamie.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    I just use a needle and thread like you were going to put a button on a shirt. Hand tack but I have experimnted lately with just sticking it under the machine needle. But I really don't thiink it works as well. It really doesn't matter whatever holds the tack in place works for me. When I get down to the end of the thread I will pull the thread so I have a single thread and use up the end that way.

    I also thread about 10 needles at a time and have them on the side of my pincushion so they are handy and I don''t have to stop the flow when I get in the groove and am really getting stuff done. Very annoying to have to let go of what I am working on and rethread needles.

    My tack is just a couple of stitches over each other in the same place and I leave a small 1/4"-1/2" tail so I can see it is there.

    Word of warning my tacks aren't always an instant answer. You will still have times when it moves and your seams aren''t where they are supposed to be but the tacking is better than pinning in my opinion.

    Check to see whether your seams meet where they should before you sew and hopefully you will have less redos


    Here's a sample of my tacks. Sorry it is not half squares but you get the idea.
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  13. #13
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Pointers on points, eh? lol Points not matching can be a sign of inconsistency in squareness, size, and most often seam allowance. (Had some problems in the beginning, but not any more.)

    I often construct half-square triangles and found out that there are many methods available. Recently, I bought a a Quilt-in-a-Day ruler specifically to cut down half-square triangles, when the pieces I am working with ae wonky to start. With this ruler, you lay the cross line on the sewn line and cut away the rest to the point. Some may say to sew them oversize and cut down is a waste of fabric, but for me, it is a better result and a great stash buster.

    There is also the rolls of paper that allow sewing half-square triangles accurately on the paper template and then cutting out the individual units.

    There is a grid method to sew/cut many at once, or one can cut the individual triangles and sew them together which requires handling fabric on the bias.

    One important key is to NOT stretch the unit when pressing it open. One gal I know checks her units for squareness after she presses them. It adds time, but may be what some have to do. It is also important to press to the same (darker) side on all the units in order for the pieces to nest when two are sewn together.

    When I sew the pieces together, I pin first and make sure to use a consistent seam allowance. Then I sew them all, one after the other.

    Again, I press so the pieces will nest, and again, I pin. One little trick is to start sewing one or two stitches from the inside the seam (not all the way from the starting seam). This allows the final pressing to open up the center where all 4 seams meet. Pressing this way makes the seams go in a pinwheel direction instead of a big bumpy lump. (Gosh I hope that makes sense

    When I sew the finished blocks together, I always check to make sure that the points will meet. If not, I adjust (placement or seam allowance and fudge a little.)

    One of the quilts I have done uses a floating pinwheel. I really liked that because the points did not need to match. :D

  14. #14
    Jamie's Avatar
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    Thank you! All of you so much...I am such a perfectionist that if it doesn't come to a perfect point, or the seams aren't exact or it doesn't line up i get frustriated, and tend to want to just throw the whole project away ( not that I do, but I want to lol) I'm working on a quilt right now..that nothing is supose to line up, none of the borders are supose to be straight everything is supose to be uneven, and off...and two of the blocks matched up too much, and i was ready to start taking the entire thing back apart to make them more uneven :) crazy yes I know lol....But anyways you were all great..and the info was wonderful..I don't know what I would do without you all!! Thanks :)

  15. #15
    Senior Member mkanderson's Avatar
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    Going to tell you like they told me!!!! :lol: When you see something not just quite right that is making it "yours" and not someone elses!!!! Your signature! I know I think I mess up and will take it out and do it over again. Not so much now unless it is REALLY bad.

  16. #16
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loretta
    Rhonda, you have a great website! But I couldn't find the post on HSTs you were talking about. Help?
    Sorry I have a tendency to shorten HST to Half Squares or Half Square Blocks

    Look under the Blocks section and click on the Half Squares button.

    I didn't include this on the site but I did write it on a thread on the board somewhere? that if you are making a lot of the same color blocks (I do mostly scrappy stuff) you can use strips for each fabric. If you cut a 12" (or whatever size you want)strip you can sew the two differant color strips together - open and iron the seam open for a flatter look - lay the template on the seam and cut out your half square block. Continue to use the joined strips til you run out of room. Then pull the fabric apart and sew the other two sides together - open and iron and continue to cut out squares.

    You can click on the cut down method in my signature below here and go to my free site to see the pictures of this method. Just follow the steps I mentioned above here.

    This is quick and easy in my opinion and you don't have to buy anything to help you make them other than your fabric.

    I use swatches for most of my piecing because the lady I sell to prefers the scrappy look and 90% of my stuff is scrappy so we do it in an assemblyline fashion with swatches.

    My friend Dorothy makes them for me and she will cut enough swatches of just one color (one dark and one light) so she ends up with several hundred to a couple of thousand at a time. She used to work in a factory and she thinks in large amts!! She says if she is going to do it she has to make it worth the time!

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