Friday, July 1, 2016

A Variety of Liberated Floating Yellow - Gold - Maize - Mustard Triangles on White - Beige - Grey Neutrals.

I'm trying my hand at writing a block tutorial.  Was doing for a different purpose, but now just doing for myself.  This is just a draft.  As I revise this and will add a link to the final version.

(This would be much easier to follow if I could put anchors in this post, but I don't know how to do in blogger...)

I'm going to wait a week or so, then make another block to triple check the directions...

Liberated triangles.
Liberated floating yellow triangles.
Liberated floating yellow triangles on a sea of neutrals.
A Variety of Liberated Floating Yellow - Gold - Maize - Mustard Triangles on White - Beige - Grey Neutrals.t
End measurement – 16.5 inches

You will follow guidelines but each of your blocks will be unique!

Please take a look at these three examples.  So how they are the same and yet different?  That is the adventure you will take this month!  Because of the nature of the blocks it's necessary to give you guidelines instead of a standard pattern.

I made several of these before coming up with a procedure to share, so the last block above is the one I am using as the model for you.

Read thru completely before cutting anything!  Of course email with questions!

You’ll need 4 strips of background fabric.
Solid white, white on white, white with beige, white with grey.  Pls no more than one strip of solid white.  And nothing with black in it!

You’ll need 8 or more pieces of different Yellows, Golds, Mustard, Maize – tone on tone, or solid.  You will be adding these as tips to the strips of the background.  Size needed – 2 inches for most.  One piece at least will need to be about 4 x 5.  I'm going for variety so please do not put your repeated fabrics next to each other.

End product:
A lovely block with at least 13, but possibly more triangles of yellow!  These are not half square triangles, they are floating, liberated, wonky, improv pieces that combined will create a unique art piece for my quilt.

There are guidelines and a few ‘must haves’, but plenty of room for each of your blocks to be unique.

Here are the guidelines and a procedure for making a block.

1.  Gather your fabric!

2.  Consider the yellows…

You will make at least 12 small wonky floating tip triangles. I suggest not precutting the yellow fabric, but know you will need less than a 2 inch square of each yellow fabric.  Solids are great, tone on tones are great.  It’s okay to have a little white, grey or black along with the main color.

These triangles will each have a different shape depending on your scrap size and will be sewn on to strips of 2.5 inch neutral.

You are welcome to include more than 12 smaller triangles.

One larger triangle will be added to the block – so you will need a piece of yellow/ mustard/ maize or gold about 4 x 5 inches.

I went thru my yellows and put them in a stack by my machine along with a pair of scissors.

Please notice that these fabrics do not have any red, blue, purple, green, etc.
They are shades of yellow/gold/mustard/maize.
They are solid, tone on tone and a few have some white or grey in a design.

3.  The neutral background…

Very light neutral or solid white okay. (But please do not use all the same fabric for the background.)  Please do not use a white on black or a black on white.  For this block, a neutral is white, light grey, or light beige. Tone on tones or a combination of the three colors listed as neutrals.

You will need eight (2.5 x 19 inch) pieces of neutral fabric pieces.

So for this example I cut:

four 2.5 x 19 inches of a white on white design
two 2.5 x 19 inches of solid white
two 2.5 x 19 inches of a light beige on beige design

It’s important to keep track of these pieces!  You are going to cut them and move the fabric around, be sure to keep the rows at this stage so they are pieces that equal 19 inches!

Because my neutrals were so close in color it's easier to show you with pieces of paper.

Pair them up.

Using a ruler so the cut is straight in the fabric, cut the fabric.  I'm not giving measurements as I would like you to cut in different places.  

Half will get one cut and half will get two cuts.  Be sure to keep the pieces together!

 Carefully separate the pieces out. 

Move the fabrics so different colors are in each row.  Be sure to keep the pieces together in their new row.  Taking photos will help!

Move the rows so there is variety, more than looking at the background colors (because remember in the fabric the colors will be very close to each other), look at where the cuts would fall for each row.

It’s very important to keep track of the pieces.  I took photos, but stickers would help too.

At this stage each row has pieces of fabric that equal 19 inches. 

You are going to first sew triangles on the last piece of each row.  So now you will collect the last piece of each row and bring it to your sewing machine where the yellow fabric is stacked.  I put a pin to remind me where the triangle should go.  It's important to keep the pieces in order.

These are wonky triangles so the angles, size and placement will be different for everyone.
These are floating triangles, so when the seams are all sewn the tips remain pointed.
In my examples, the  90 degree part of the triangle is always be in the same orientation in each block.  In my blocks I did this by adding the tip to the left side of the strip of background.

As long as you start with 19 inch pieces and cut two pieces so they are alike so most rows can have different backing fabric, put the yellow triangles in, then everything will be right! Be sure to keep the rows so the pieces equal 19 inches.

Two Ways to Make Wonky Triangles:
  1. As Katrin wrote last month: Take the background rectangle shape and place a triangle up against the rectangle so the right sides of each are facing. Be sure at least a quarter inch tip is showing on each side of the rectangle. Then you can sew the triangle down using a regular quarter inch seam. Press the piece open to double check that the color is covering the rectangle. Press again, then turn the piece so you can see the seams to trim the extra fabric away.
  2. Put a smaller piece of the colored fabric up against the background. Move the fabric closer to the corner so when you flip it over and sew the colored fabric covers the background when it is pressed back.

To keep the pieces in order all pressing and trimming for this block is done later.  

Here is how I made the triangles:
1.  Select a piece of fabric and put it on
the background so you can see how it looks!
Be sure it extends beyond the background.

2. Keeping the same line, flip the fabric over and
then move the fabric so its closer to the tip.

3.  To test it out put a pin in the fabric
where the seam will be.

4.  And flip the fabric back to check to be sure
the background will be covered when
you iron the yellow piece back.
Katrin's tip last month about looking
for the fabric to stick out at least 1/4
inch really helped me get the tips
on the background for the block.

5.  Sew but do not cut the thread between the eight pieces!

6.  Repeat for each of the eight pieces. 

 Here are some more wonky examples (then there are more guidelines):

I flipped over again to be sure the background would be covered.

After you have sewn the initial eight triangles ...

Once the tips are all added to the background, clip to disconnect from the machine and go to the ironing board to press the tips open.  I did not cut the pieces apart until I returned to the table with the other pieces.

As I had one piece for every row and they were sewn in order it was easy to put then in the correct row. (the first I did this I wasn't as careful and then had to spend a lot of time trying to figure out where the pieces went).

Oh NO!  Even with all my practice, I did notice one piece where the yellow did not cover the tip, so after placing the other pieces I used the seam ripper to remove the fabric, then I resewed the fabric down so the seam was closer to the tip. 
Easy fix.

Here are the pieces on the table.

I elected to do all my trimming after the remaining four pieces of fabric had their tips sewn on.  So I removed the four pieces and went to the sewing machine again.

9.  Then I pressed these tips and placed them in the correct row.
 10.  Then each piece was turned over, a ruler was lined up with the background fabric and the yellow fabric was trimmed to match the background fabric.

It's easier now to sort of see how the block will look.

I decided to add another (optional) tip so there would be one tip at the far left of the block.  Double check to be sure your rows are in order and make changes if needed so the triangles are not all in a column. For example, I could make more cuts and add a few more small triangles.
I used scissors to cut away the extra background fabric behind each tip.  Then I picked up two pieces for each row and sewed them together.

It's easier to sew them with the triangle on the bottom, then the seams go thru and are flat!

Keep the pieces in order again and press so the seam goes away from the point.  Return to the table.

Add the third piece to the rows that need it, press and return to the table.

Now you will be sewing the rows together. Notice though that the length of each row has changed.  
 When you put the rows together, the seams will all be facing the same direction.  It's easy to have flat seams if you put the fabric in so you don't have to fight the seams!

The seams sort of naturally go this way.  In my
first sample I was fighting the seams to get
things flat but then realized they all went in one direction when
sewing the rows together.

After sewing, take the units to the ironing board and first press in place, then open the piece and press the seam down.  Flip the piece over and press the other side too!  Return the units to the table.

Now add a larger triangle to the block.  Pick a pair of rows sewn together with a spot for another triangle.  I randomly picked the top unit.  Make a slice in the unit and bring the inner piece to the machine so you can add a larger triangle*!

Using a larger piece of yellow make a triangle that goes across two pieces of fabric, just as you did before.

Press it and flip it over to trip the extra yellow and then also the extra background fabric.

*  If you plan ahead the larger triangle could go across three strips, not just two.

Sew the end piece back to the row.  Press and sew so two sets of four rows are together.
 Notice the rows are uneven as there are different numbers of seams in each row.  I found it easier to trim four rows to the 16.5 length, then sew them together and finish the trimming.

DONE!  At least eight yellow fabrics and at least two background fabrics
at least 12 small triangles,  plus one larger floating triangle, Width trimmed to 16.5 inches.

Now I hope you are comfortable with making a liberated block and this was fun to make.

I'm looking forward to emailing with you about this!  And will post photos of your completed blocks on my blog.


The Main Design Color: Yellows, Golds, Mustard, Maize I want the beautiful yellow to shine in this quilt so be sure to use yellows that will show.  Solids are great. Tone on Tone.  It’s okay if some of your fabrics has a little white or grey or black.  But do not add any other colors (no red, blue, green, purple, etc.) Please pick eight or more different yellow fabrics.  I used scraps for most of my triangles.  If you need to measure then start with twelve pieces that are around 2 inches square.

You will also need one larger piece of yellow – around 4 inches by 5 inches.  You can decide about this one later!

I’d really like only Yellows, Golds, Mustard, Maize to be in the tips for the block.

I realize that not everyone has a little collection of yellows.  If you need one more color for more variety then a solid grey or tone on tone grey, or something with a little grey and white or a little black might work for up no more than three of the triangles. Please no solid black.  Pls email me so I know if you are thinking you need to do this!

The initial inspiration for the block was something I found online called the circus block, but when I test made it decided that I’d rather have a liberated block!

Here are four blocks - see how they are the same but different!


  1. This is a good way of explaining the block. I am excited about this =) woohoo =)

    1. Thank you for your encouragement and help! I had been struggling with how to get some larger triangles and your suggestion for how to do was right on! Also adding the different background so it wasn't all just white really adds interest to the block too. : )

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Lisa - I appreciate your reading this through, and so glad you liked the idea! : )


Feedback is welcome!