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Trouble with Triangle Points on Tree of Paradise Block

Trouble with Triangle Points on Tree of Paradise Block

Old 01-28-2019, 06:38 AM
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Default Trouble with Triangle Points on Tree of Paradise Block

Sigh. I decided (finally) to tackle my fear of triangle points. It didn't go well. I tried the 12" Tree of Paradise block in Barbara Brackman's Kansas City Star Quilt Sampler Quilt. Some of my triangles look good, some look uneven, many have the tips chopped off. When it worked, it felt like luck; when it didn't work, it felt arbitrary and out of my control. I measured everything twice (sometimes three or four times), I pressed, I pulled out seams and tried again. I know there are tons of techniques out there for triangles, but it all feels overwhelming and a little random.

How do I tackle the triangles?? Any help would be much much appreciated. The finished block is 12 inches, so maybe it will be easier if I go bigger?
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Old 01-28-2019, 07:00 AM
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When I need to be spot on such as with points, I try to make sure the those points are on top so when I come to them during the sewing process I can nudge over so that I'll sew right at the tip as I should. If I can't do that then I take a disappearing pin and mark where I need to have my needle go on those points on the opposite side or the side I'll be viewing when sewing. Either a disappearing pen or chalk or whatever you use to mark. When I'm sewing 2 points together I'll stick a pin thru to both sides making sure they meet as they should then pin on both sides if neccessary of the point. You're not the only one that cuts their tips off when sewing so don't be hard on yourself.
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Old 01-28-2019, 07:11 AM
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I like to oversize and trim after afterwards. I cut 1” bigger than the finished size, sew 1/4” on either side of the diagonal and cut on diagonal line. It looks like you need 18 HST of the smaller HST per block. I would use the 8at a time method plus two. I use the bloc loc ruler to trim. Your problem may be that joining so many HST on the exact 1/4” results in it being smaller when pressed. Try moving your needle 1 position to make a scant 1/4”. Or the other cause could be you are stretching the half HST (setting pieces) since they are on the bias. Nice block.
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Old 01-28-2019, 07:47 AM
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Paper piecing presents point perfection!
Yes, I sing praises to it ...

If not doing PPing ....
I agree with MaureenNJ ..... make oversized HSTs, press well with Best Press or WHY. Then trim to the correct size. After that ... that much loved/hated perfect 1/4" seam is the secret to your success.
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Old 01-28-2019, 07:50 AM
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That is a pretty difficult block to learn on. I know this block as Tree of Life. Matching up multiple HST like in this block is not easy even for a very seasoned quilter and one who is confident in matching up HST. Which sounds more like the difficulty you are having rather than making the HST themselves.

Tree of life is on my upcoming list of quilts. I did do a sample block in this scrappy flannel and even I had some chopped points in places. My block pattern makes a 10" so I was working with 1.5" HST units that finish at 1" so pretty tiny. Here is a pic and you can see the tree of life block.

Unless you are planning on entering this quilt in a show, I don't think I would concern myself with a few chopped points. The block lends itself to somewhat camouflaging a few chopped points as it makes such a dramatic statement with all those HST units. As is demonstrated in the above photo. Once all put together and quilted I think you would be hard pressed to find the chopped points. But if you are committed to perfect points for your own quilt here are a few hints:

Well starched fabrics and press will at each step
Glue baste critical intersections.
When joining the triangle squares press your seams open to cut down on the bulk.
Sew slowly when going over the intersecting seams.

Quite honestly, if you are trying to get over a fear of using HST units, I think I would start with something a bit easier using larger units. Maple leaf and Bears Paw are a couple of good ones to practice with. Or something like this quilt which was all HST units that finished at 2". Rather than making a whole quilt you can make placemats or table runners.

Edited to add, that I do make my HST units oversized and trim down to the correct size, ensuring that my seam line falls exactly on the corner of the HST unit.

Last edited by feline fanatic; 01-28-2019 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 01-28-2019, 10:05 AM
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A couple of tips or questions for you.

Did you starch and press fabrics before cutting the triangles? I like a good starch and press first.

I like to cut a smidge paste the line on the ruler. Make sure that "the line" covers the fabric and then cut accordingly. I found that sometimes I would cut short and it was due to "the line" placement.

Agree to cut, stitch and oversized triangle and then trim up as needed.

For multiple triangles try the thangles papers.

I also like to mark seam lines on pieces until I get a feel for the piecing process.

What thread are you using for piecing? There is a difference in thickness between brands, etc.

Can you move your needle one click over to compensate if needed?

Best wishes on your project.
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Old 01-28-2019, 04:37 PM
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Wow. I just got home from work and am touched by all the responses. I've included some pictures for you all to see what I mean (I tried to attach them this morning, but they were too big). I might try paper piecing, as others have suggested. And, I also think Feline Fanatic has a point when she says that Tree of Life/Paradise MIGHT not be the best block for getting over my triangle intimidation.

That being said, the half-triangle squares look great when I make them from the templates, they mostly look good when I build them into rows. Most of the screw-ups tend to occur when I'm sewing the rows together. Maybe I'm not wrapping my head around this correctly, but if most of screw-ups seem to occur when I'm sewing the rows together, it probably wouldn't help to make the triangles bigger (and then trim to size), right?

My guess is that Snooze2978's suggestion might be the most relevant in this case?

To answer some of questions: I AM pressing the fabric before sewing, but now starching. Maybe that will help. I'm using Aurefil thread (the 50 weight).

Thank you all again for your help! So grateful.
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:24 PM
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Meant to add: Feline Fanatic: your quilts are STUNNING! Thank you for sharing!
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Old 01-28-2019, 05:43 PM
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I used to hate hsts but I’m stubborn and was determined to figure them out. Don’t give up.

When you’re stitching your hsts together it’s important to make sure you have a consistent 1/4 inch seam. Sometimes we can go off a bit when we’re coming to the end of the seam. Feed dogs can also make us not keep the 1/4 inch all the way to the end. Use a stylus to keep the fabric up against your presser foot as you are finishing your seam.

the advice from snooze 2978 addresses your problem, too.
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:56 PM
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Feline Fanatic--GORGEOUS quilts! Thanks for the pictures. Agree that starching (multiple times--pre-cutting, post-piecing, etc., etc.-- Love, love, love STARCH) and trimming oversized HSTs to size are the secret to success....

Last edited by frannella; 01-28-2019 at 06:58 PM.
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