Saturday, December 14, 2019

A "No Apologies" Tutorial for Improv Paper Pieced Log Cabin Triangle Quilts

UPDATE: My book with step-by-step directions for this quilt and its cousins, "Improv Log Cabin Triangle Kaleidoscope Quilts," is available in my etsy shop, here. An on-demand class, which includes the book with this pattern, is here.

When I started this quilt, the idea was to make a rainbow-colored 6-pointed star. I hoped to create a pattern people might use to make a wedding canopy, among other things.  The most relaxing way to do that, I figured, would be to start with log cabin triangles.  
So what you see in the central area of this quilt are a whole lot of log cabin pieced triangles - each center piece is light, and the three "logs" around it are darker. You're also seeing blocks I call "water lilies" - from left to right, the oddball orange, pink and purple blocks, as well as the lavender blocks on the bottom of the photo. These blocks are a log cabin variation, with light triangle corners added.
The problem with log cabin piecing triangles - compared to squares - is that the angles quickly become awkward and confusing, with sharp bias-cut corners. 

That's why I decided to piece all my triangles on clean scrap paper and/or newsprint from the packing store - $6.00 bought me a lifetime supply!  Most triangles were improv-pieced from the top of the paper - stitch-and -flip - with no markings needed on the paper. 

I pieced the water lilies onto scrap paper cut into triangles. Here's how it looked halfway through. 
 Then I stitched lighter colors to cover each corner:

The last step is using my equilateral triangle ruler to trim the excess. (In this photo, I'm doing it on a pink block.) 
My favorite part of this quilt is the six stars in the corners  - spontaneous and irregular piecing makes them vibrate! Here are a couple.

The triangles in the dark outer border are mostly crazy-pieced 

When the quilt reached 67" at the widest by 57" high, still hexagon- shaped, I decided it was finished.  If it were a wedding canopy (a "chuppah" in the Jewish tradition) it would need 6 poles for all the corners!?  Better yet, if someone wants to use this pattern for a canopy, they could sew the top to a square or rectangular background. 

[UPDATE: Several people have suggested that the finished hexagon could be basted to a square of lightweight chiffon. It would create the illusion of a floating hexagon! I love that idea, thank you!]

When it was done, and I counted the number of equilateral triangles, I was astonished. No matter how many times I counted, it kept adding up to 600! How cool is that? Thus the title of this quilt: "Fireflower 600."

Another quilt in this series was shown last week
My on-demand class, which includes a book containing directions for making this quilt, is now here.  If you just want the book, it's in my etsy shop, here.


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