# help needed with half square triangles SNAILS TRAIL

• 05-20-2009, 12:51 PM
Quilting G
I am working on a block called snail trail. This is the first time I have tried working with triangles. I have put together the block pulled it apart and put it back together and I can't seem to get it to measure 9.5 inches. the squares were cut to size I checked twice before I cut the half trianagles. If you know the block it starts with 4 squares and builds squares in squares by adding the triangles. Is there some way to work the math to find out what each square should measure. That might help my final block measure up.

here is a link to the block.

Thanks! I hope I explained this correctly.

• 05-20-2009, 12:57 PM
pocoellie
The easiest way I've found to do triangles is to cut the 2 colors you want one inch larger than the size of the square, put the 2 squares together, mark diagonally, then sew 1/4 inch on each side of the mark, then cut on the mark line, thus you have 2 half square triangles without sewing on the bias edge, press, trim to the required size. Hope this helps.Please feel free to PM me if it's not clear.
• 05-20-2009, 02:11 PM
When you cut the square into two triangles BEFORE sewing the two colors together, you are dealing with the bias which is stretchy and tends to distort the HST.

I agree with pocoelli to sew the pieces oversize and cut them down to size.
• 05-20-2009, 02:27 PM
Quilting G
Thanks for your responses. That would work if I were sewing the triangles in to pairs. I am going to try and attach a copy of the block.
It is a square set on points 4 times.

I am trying to back into what each square would measure before the setting triangles are added.

Thanks!!
• 05-20-2009, 04:23 PM
thimblebug6000
Are you planning on making a full quilt with this pattern?
• 05-20-2009, 05:03 PM
Before I tackle the math, I need a glass of wine.

Why is it necessary for the block to be exactly 9 1/2"? If all the squares are the same size (whatever that size is), you should be OK. (Wishful thinker here :D )
• 05-20-2009, 05:15 PM
Quilting G
Thimblebug, I was hoping to make this in a 10 inch block and used My Design wizard and the block came out like crap. I then pulled out the orginal pattern and tried a block with that and again crap. I was hoping there was a simple math formula I use. I am hoping for something between a 10-12 inch block.

Mad quilter - if you have a formula I would be glad to takel it.

I think I am just going to start and chain sew it making sure all the blocks match before adding the next layer. If I make the squares for the triangles larger then they need to be I should be able to trim them to match. I think I will start fresh in the morning.
• 05-20-2009, 05:25 PM
Judy Gail
When I did the snail's trail blocks, I drew them out on graph paper first and measured the resulting squares by hand (no math). Be sure you don't include the 1/4" seam allowance in the drawing but add it to the resulting squares when you cut.

Judy
• 05-20-2009, 05:37 PM
MollieSue
Quilting G, don't know if this would apply or not, but it reminded me of when I was trying to make the easiest pattern - Warm Wishes. I took apart more seams then I kept, wrote and asked for help on here! Apparently it was my seam allowances! Even though they all measured 1/4, I finally figured out some I had to do a bit smaller.
I can't remember who now, on here, made one up in stages, and gave me the measurements of each stage - which helped tremendously!!
My finished quilt is the one in pictures - Aiden's.
So hang in there, and hopefully someone can figure out the measurements for you too!
:-)
• 05-20-2009, 08:04 PM
omak
Basically, that looks like a square in a square.

http://www.squareinasquare.com/

There is a video at that site that shows how to use the ruler. Perhaps if you watch the video of that technique you will get an idea of how to sew a triangle onto the side of the square and then trim it to fit.

http://www.quilterscache.com/S/SquareinSquareBlock.html

Hope these help. At least with the quilterscache.com ... you will be able to use what you have without an extra expenditure for another ruler.
• 05-20-2009, 08:10 PM
omak
http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Sew...Block-41451991

Check this out! It is done almost as a nine patch and has a video showing how to put it together. it begins with some kind of advertisement, but after thirteen seconds ... it starts. Hope this helps.

Just checked the video again ... it is a sixteen patch.
• 05-20-2009, 09:33 PM
OK, I tried the math approach, but it gave me wonky numbers, so I went upstairs to check out the pattern. (It's one that's on my to-do list, so I was self-motivated :mrgreen: )

I found that the fourth square was off by 1/16" It calls for a 4 1/16" but the 4 1/8" seemed to work better. I also made the last square bigger so I could square it off.

Using a 1/4" seam allowance, my final square was 9 1/2"

Are you using a 1/4" foot?
• 05-24-2009, 01:31 PM
butterflywing
try looking at compu-quilt.

they have a template for a pp'd snail's trail 6". if you pp, all you have to do is enlarge the template to 140% +/-. that will give you something in the neighborhood of 10-1/2" finished.

i found it by browsing 'snails trail quilt pattern'. i checked what was on the list and this was the easiest to use.
• 05-24-2009, 01:38 PM
butterflywing
also, how many colors are you using? 2 or 4? either way, you can use the method of cutting squares diagonally in half after sewing. in each case, the extra triangles will be used in the same place in the next block. you'll actually be cutting and putting together 2 blocks at once.
• 05-24-2009, 04:23 PM
omak
Now, I have a question.

If I were making a snail's trail/monkey wrench/virginia reel block ...
first we make the four patch ... then, we start the swirl, eh?

Would it work to measure one side of my four patch, add 7/8 ths inch, cut a square that measured the side of the square + 7/8" and cut that in half ...

would that work?
• 05-24-2009, 05:01 PM
AkAngel
I too am working on Snail Tail Blocks right now. I've been taking a class that they are a part of. Here is what we are doing.

1) make your 4 patch for the center.
2) Now with the block laid down facing you, take the same color triangle as the square that is in your upper left hand corner of the 4 patch. fold the triangle in half so you can find the center, line the center up with the center of the 4 patch and sew.
3) Turn the block 180* so that you are opposite of the triangle you just put on, now again looking at the upper left corner repeat the steps In #2
4) Turn block 1/4 turn and again repeat step 2 until the round is complete.

hope this helps. I'm enjoying making these blocks.
• 05-24-2009, 05:03 PM
butterflywing
would it be easier to draw it out exactly the size you want, then cut it apart and add seam allowances for each piece? cut your strips to the necessary width and cut your pieces.
• 05-24-2009, 06:47 PM
dunster
Your unfinished block sizes will be:

2.75 inches with just 4 patch,
3.682 inches after first triangles added,
5 inches after second triangles,
6.864 inches after third triangles, and
9.5 inches after fourth triangles.

I know this because the one and only time I made snail's trail blocks, I made a spreadsheet to compute all the required triangle and square sizes, as well as the size of the unfinished (and finished) blocks along the way. (It's kind of hard to square up to 3.682 inches, isn't it?)

After doing the math, and struggling with bias edges, and trying to line up those triangles ever so carefully, I decided to paper piece the blocks instead. I found this was much easier and faster and I was very happy with the result.