Distraction and triangle confusion

I’ve been very distracted lately, so progress on my spring quilt is somewhat stalled. When I finally mustered a small bit of attention span to work on it last week, I realized a serious cutting mistake which needed correcting. Fortunately, I wasn’t too far into it, so things were salvageable.

The original layout was a straight horizontal set


featuring this block called economy:

economy block

To reduce the number of seams, I converted the layout to an on-point set


consisting of square-in-a-square blocks alternating with 4-patch blocks.

sq-in-sq block

4-patch block

When I printed the rotary cutting instructions for the pieced setting triangles featured in the on-point layout, this was what Electric Quilt generated:


The diagram shows the white triangles as half-square triangles, and despite my funny feeling about that, I proceeded to cut two or three squares in half and position them on the design wall. In a flash, my funny feeling became full-blown realization: half-square triangles are used to finish the corners of diagonally set quilts; I needed quarter-square triangles for the setting triangles. (Can you tell I’ve made very few on-point quilts?)

Sewing half-square triangles into the pieced setting triangles would result in a bias edge the entire perimeter of the quilt top (before borders). This top would stretch out of shape so fast, it wouldn’t be worth the bother.

So why did the EQ instructions call for half-square triangles?

EQ allows you to position a block in every other space of your layout by pressing the ALT key. This means the software reads all those partial blocks (like the one highlighted in green, below) as 4-patch blocks.

quilt setting triangle

The triangles that are visible in the layout are therefore assumed to be half-square triangles.

To confirm this, I checked the cutting instructions for the horizontal set layout made with the economy block.

quilt block selected

Sure enough, there was the diagram for quarter-square triangles.


This reminds me of a conversation with our boys many years ago when they were complaining about having to learn to spell. They didn’t see the point—isn’t that what spell check on the computer is for? They were so disappointed when I reminded them of all the homonyms in the English language and pointed out that the computer doesn’t distinguish between words like there, their and they’re, so you have to know how to spell and when to use all three.

I’ll be applying that same logic when reviewing cutting instructions for the setting triangles in on-point quilts.


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Filed under designing, Electric Quilt, rotary cutting

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