Tuesday’s Triangle — “Peaky & Spike”

26 06 2012

Several months ago, I showed a picture of my Snowmen A to Zzzz quilt top and mentioned that I had changed the border.  I’ve been trying to find an official name for this type of triangle (I’ve seen them called equilateral triangles, but that is incorrect all the angles and all the sides on the triangle are not the same).  The late Doreen Speckmann called them “Peaky & Spike,” which is as good a name as any, so that’s what I’ll go with.

 Take a close look at the blocks in my border and you should notice they are just a nine patch eight pointed star, and the points of the star are made from these triangles called “Peaky & Spike.”   I did fake an inner border by changing the color of the background fabric on one side of the block (in the corners, just one corner of the block).

Some people look at these blocks and say, “Oh no, those are too hard to make!”  They can be, but with the right tools, they are as easy as any other triangle unit.

My preferred template is the Tri-Recs™ Tools by Darlene Zimmerman & Joy Hoffman.  I like it for both its ease of use and the fact that I can cut multiple size units using  the one tool set.

To begin, it is necessary to determine the finished size of the nine patch block.  For instance, say the block finished at 9 inches. In which case each of the nine squares in the block would finish at 3 inches.  That would mean 3-1/2″ cut strips were needed to  cut the squares for the block and that is the same measurement needed to cut the triangles using the Tri-Recs™ Tools.

For my Snowmen A to Zzzz quilt, the blocks finished at 8-1/4 inches.  Which means each of the nine patches in the block finished at 2-3/4 inches and I cut strips at 3-1/4 inch.  All of the pictures in this tutorial are going to be based on these measurements.  I’ll give the directions for the whole star block, but realize the “Peaky & Spike” units can be used for other blocks and cutting would be exactly the same.  The directions in this tutorial are for one block.

From the background fabric, cut a 3-1/4″ strip (if using two different colors in for the background two 3-1/4″ strips will be necessary.)

From the background strip(s) cut five 3-1/4″ squares.

Also from the background strip(s) cut four triangles using the “Tri Tool” from the set.  The top edge of the template will go along one long edge of the strip and a line on the template will line up with the other long edge of the strip.  Just rotate the template across the strip to cut all necessary triangles.  (It is possible to cut measurements not listed on the tools.  Cut the strip the desired width, line up the top of the tool with the edge of the strip and keep the other edge of the strip parallel between lines.)

From the star point fabric cut a strip 3-1/4″ wide.  (This strip is exactly the same measurement as all the other strips when making this block.)

It is very important to keep this strip folded either wrong sides together or right sides together.  The next triangles are cut in pairs and they need to be mirror imaged pairs.  So don’t forget this step.

Cut eight triangles from the star point fabric using the “Recs” portion of the tool.  The tool will line up again with the top edge against one long side of the strip and the line with the other edge of the strip.  Four of the triangles will face one direction and the other four will be their mirror image.

When cutting the “Recs” units there is a tip to cut off on the tops edge.  DON’T forget this step.  It is the step that makes it easy to put these triangle units together.

I find it helpful to lay out the units before sewing.  Because the angles are different, it is easy to get them confused.  If I have them laid out, I can just flip a star point unit over onto the background and I know that is where I need to sew.

From the background side, when the edges are matched it will look like this.  However, this is not the important side for matching.  take a look at the other side.

That cut off tip  on the star point will match up with the bottom edge of the background triangle.  This is exactly how it should look when you go to stitch.  This little nip makes matching these units a breeze!  Stitch  a 1/4″ seam (accuracy is important).

Finger press the seam toward the star point.  I prefer finger pressing at this point, to reduce the risk of stretching that very bias edge still exposed on the background triangle.

Match the remaining Recs triangle to the other side of the Tri unit.  The bottoms will match the same as before and this time the top points of the Recs unit will match up with the point of the previous Recs unit.  Stitch with an accurate 1/4″ seam.

It is now safe to press both seams toward the triangle units.  (This unit is way more square than it appears in this picture.)

Now put the block together in rows and then sew the rows together to complete the block

When stitching the triangle units to other units I prefer to sew with this side up so I can see to cross the intersection indicated with the green arrow exactly at the tip.

I pulled a few pictures from EQ7 to show other blocks that use this shape.

Arkansas Snowflake

Fifty-four Forty Fight

Garden Patch

Doris’ Delight

That’s just a few.  Put the blocks together and it provides the illusion of curves.




One response

1 07 2012

Another way to deal with the points and getting them to stay pointed is to pin right through the place where the stitches meet and sew along that right at the pin.

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