Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gretchen’s Triangles!

Meet Gretchen!

I love that there are “younger” quilters amongst us who are playing along on Celtic Solstice!

It feels very weird saying “young” because I STILL feel like one of the young ones – I joined my first guild when I was 26!

Gretchen was one of the quilters I had the pleasure to meet this past fall, and I’d love for you to meet her too!  She wants to share how SHE worked out the triangles for Step 3 of Celtic Solstice!

She writes:
Hi Bonnie!  My name is Gretchen Kohlhaas and I met you earlier this year at your quilting weekend in Peoria, IL. Because I know you meet hundreds of people at any given stop, I will tell you about myself.  I am a relatively young quilter (not yet 40!), and on the Saturday that I could travel upstate to Peoria I arrived late to the "Playing with Jacks" session because me and my hubby had gotten a little lost on the way there an almost went to Indiana instead! ( I also had the loudest machine in the room and was rather embarrassed!)  Oh yeah and I got to see the Mariachi Band!
Well, I wanted to e-mail you and first thank you for doing the Mystery Quilt this year.  I am having a lot of fun sewing for each step, and am working today on Step #3 while my husband and one child are not around to glare at me for the noise my machine makes LOL.  I decided to do Step #3 as a paper piecing project because I always, always, always have a hard time with triangles and sewing on the bias. 
I made up my own template and  In 30 minutes I managed to get all of the half square triangles sewn for the pinwheels - and they are nice and accurate too!  I got the idea from Nancy Z, but I put my own spin on it to use squares instead of strips to help with continuous sewing.  I thought you might appreciate seeing another humble quilter's ideas for tackling half square triangles!  I drew my template out on paper and made copies of it --I hope you find this interesting!
Gretchen K

Gretchen’s triangles:
I am working on a Mystery Quilt along with (probably!) thousands of other blog-followers right now, and this is an easy way I came up with to use paper piecing to make eight 1-and-a-half-inch Half Square Triangles at a time, accurately and easily!  I don't usually enjoy very small fabric pieces in my quilts, so this template I made really helped me get through sewing these all on the bias with a lot less trouble than I usually have!  I cut out my paper templates after copying them (with a copy machine) onto normal 8 1/2" by 11" paper, then I cut out 25 orange 5" squares and 25 yellow 5" squares.  I put the two fabric squares right-sides-together and put the paper template on top of that and pinned them together.

To get this! A little fabric and paper pinned sandwich!
I took my stack of sandwiches to my sewing machine and started sewing, always keeping my needle to the left or right of the sewing line (one of Bonnie Hunter's suggestions to end up with a true sized square!) and I sewed along one of the outer corner lines.
Next, I sewed around all four inner square lines (you can hop the needle from one spot to another or sew continuously anywhere inside the selvage lines).
Then I sewed across from the inner line to the next outer line.
I sewed around the last 3 outer corners and ended with my needle on the edge of the fabric.
To keep my sewing continuous, I pivoted the unit I just finished and added another unit, lining my needle up to get ready to sew the first outer corner of the next unit.
Here is a better picture of the order I sewed my lines...the blue lines with numbers indicate the order you can sew them in if you want to continuously sew from one unit to the next with no thread to snip off between each one.
I worked on the first two units last night to make sure I was going to get the right measurements after ironing before doing more sewing this morning.  I got all of the units for the pinwheels (100 Half-square-triangles! plus 4 extra) sewn in 30 minutes!  My next step will be to trim the edges with my rotary cutter and cut the 8 units apart, pull off the papers and iron them, but I was really dreading the bias-mess-sewing I was going to have to do for this step of the Mystery Quilt! It turns out I enjoyed this step of the mystery quilt a lot!
And all that I have done so far!  Thanks to Bonnie Hunter for being so inspirational and scrappy in general and thanks to my Granny, my Grammy and all of my other Aunties that have helped me with all of my crafty stuff throughout the years.  They are/were such good role models for me growing up and I appreciate them!

Thanks for sharing Gretchen!  There is always more than one way to do what we need to do to get the job done!

And for you inklingo-ers out there -- did you see Linda and Monkey's video for part 3?  I was in Germany and didn't get to see it until this morning..check it out!

Linda has also shown how easy inklingo is  for Part 3 with NO MATH HERE!

If you like to hand piece, or want to print your shapes onto your fabric so your sewing lines are visible –Linda Franz has a special inklingo offer for you!

Click the image below to view the collection info for inklingo!

No matter how YOU get your triangles done -- remember that TOMORROW, Dec 16th is our 3rd Mystery Monday Link-Up!  Get your posts written, be ready to check back here at 7am EST tomorrow morning and link it up!  Can't wait to see your progress!

Click Here to like our Quiltville Friends Page on Facebook for more fun!
You do not need a Facebook account to read the Facebook posts - They are viewable to all! Feel free to read & quilt along with us!


  1. Hm, interesting. Here in Norway we have a group working with this mystery. We use a system called "Tryll med trekanter" from Tre damer. They have made papers like that for all sizes of triangles, both cm and inch. I love using those papers, and have made many quilts with them.

  2. I joined my first guild at 20 : )

  3. I am slow going and still working on step one but I hope to get caught up on Christmas break from school. I like her idea though!

  4. Love this! This is the antidote / antithesis of whining! If something doesn't work for you, find another way to do it, and SHARE! Thanks Bonnie and Gretchen.

  5. Gretchen's method looks very interesting and making them in 30 minutes is incredible! All of the alternative ways in which to do the pieces and parts are very interesting but taking the time to figure it all out just makes my head hurt--LOL! Thanks for sharing what everyone is doing:)

  6. Bear Paw Production's CD Triangulations 3.0 allows quilters to print out "triangle paper" at home like Gretchen created in 1/8" increments from 1/2" up to 7 1/2" -- I've used it over the years and appreciate the convenience.

  7. I am using the method of making 8 HSTs at a time - Lynn has a great tutorial and all the math worked out here:

  8. Welcome, Gretchen. I love it when younger folks join in - that's how the craft will continue after those of us in the "middle" are no longer able to sew. Hopefully, that's decades away for me (am 53, so hope for decades!).

    I've also used Triangulations, and really appreciate not only the accuracy, but the convenience and the ability to use it for just about any size needed.

    Thank you, Bonnie, for another wonderful mystery, for sharing your travels, and for encouraging quilters of all ages and skills to join in wherever you go and whatever you do!

  9. Great job, Gretchen! There are so many methods to do patchwork and applique. I like to learn all the methods and pick what works for me. I really like the bias square method for half square triangles when I need to make a lot of them.

  10. It's always good to see how people do various aspects of quilting. You may know the way they work but now and again, you find something new to try.

  11. Gretchen's method seems all but fool-proof! I have to try this one too.

    It always is interesting to see how different quilters work out new things. Thanks Bonnie, and Gretchen, for sharing this one with us. Paper piecing is so exacting.

    Smiles, JulieinTN

  12. Gretchen did a wonderful job of demonstrating her technique. In fact, it was blog-worthy. Sorry about the noisy machine. Maybe her hubby will take a hint and buy her a new machine. LOL!

  13. Great engineering, precision parts assembly is provided. I, too, the problem is that the details are not obtained by sewing straight although I try very hard


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