Today I am going to show you a block I am calling "Getting Ziggy With It" (Ziggy for short) although I am sure this one has been made before and has a real name.
But on top of the block I am going to show you a new tool I recently came across. Usually on every other Tuesday I host "Terrific Tool Tuesday" where I try to showcase a tool that I have found useful in quilting/sewing. This is a repeat tool for followers of my blog, the Clearly Perfect Angles template by New Leaf Stitches.
This template is a thin piece of acrylic that sticks to the bed of your sewing machine. It has guide lines on it to help you stitch a perfect 45 degree angle. I use this on all of my half-square triangles, flying geese and snowball blocks and also when I make binding. The Clearly Perfect Angles template (CPA) is designed to be used on a machine with an acrylic extension table, but I do not have one and have found it works just fine without it, you end up using the green diagonal lines to keep your block straight. I am not going to get into the background too much on the CPA, if you are interested in learning more about how to install the CPA you can hop over to my review post here.
For the Ziggy block, we are going to use the "No Waste" method of making half-square triangles, where you get two complete HSTs per set of squares you sew together.
Here is what you need for one 12.5 inch unfinished Ziggy block:
White - 4 pieces 4.25 inches square, 4 pieces 3.5 inches square
Pattern/Solid A- 2 pieces 4.25 inches square, 2 pieces 3.5 inches square
Pattern/Solid B - 2 pieces 4.25 inches square, 2 pieces 3.5 inches square
1. Starting with one 4.25 inch white and one 4.25 inch pattern square lay them right sides together, if you do not have a CPA you want to draw a line diagonally from corner to corner lightly with a pencil. If you do have a CPA just line up one diagonal corner with the line between the green and gray diagonal lines on your CPA, you can see in the picture below I marked the corner of my square with a black arrow.
2. If you do not have a CPA you want to sew a seam 1/4 of an inch on each side of the line you drew. With the Clearly Perfect Angle template all you have to do once you have your block lined up is watch the other corner nearest you while you are sewing. For the No-Waste method you want to keep that corner on the outer edge of the gray area as you sew. You can see how I aligned the corner with this line in the first picture below, marked again with an arrow.
Once you finish your first 1/4 inch seam turn your block around and repeat on the other side of your drawn line. You can see I repeated the same process below on the CPA again aligning the corner with the same line I did before.
3. Cut your blocks apart on the line you drew from corner to corner and press your seams toward your print or darkest color. I made these HSTs big so you have a little wiggle room to sew. I hate it when I am sewing HSTs and they end up too small when I am done.
4. Trim your pressed HST to 3.5 inches square. I like to align my diagonal with the 45 degree diagonal on my cutting mat that goes from the 6 to 18 inch mark on my mat. You want a diagonal that goes from corner to corner on the squares of your cutting mat. You can see below I added arrows (I know I love my arrow tool) to show you exactly where to line up your block. Leave your block hang over the left and top line just a little, about an 1/8 of a inch or so. Then if you look closely at the picture below you will see I marked my trim lines in black. (You should be able to click each of these pictures to see them a little larger) I trim off all 4 sides to yield a perfect HST. I just find it is a lot easier to match my seams if my HST are perfect from the start. Repeat steps 1-4 for one other print A and both of your 4.25 squares of print B.
5. Sew your 3.5 inch blocks together, one print to one white. Repeat for the remaining 3 print/white combinations. Press your seams open.
6. Lay out your HST as in the picture below and start sewing together by sewing the top left HST to the one below it. Press your seams open. Repeat for the top right HST. Repeat the entire process for the other print.
7. Sew your 4 HSTs of the same print together. Note: The seam where your diagonal seams meet is going to be a pain to sew. There is 6 layers there! I had to gently pull on the back of the block while I was sewing because at first my machine wanted nothing to do with that seam. Press your seam open when you finish.You should have the picture below. Repeat for the other print.
8. Sew your 3.5 inch square/print block onto each end of your diagonal. Repeat for your other print. Press seams open again.
9. Layout your two print Zigs as in the picture below, pin your seams well and sew your two prints together. Again the points where your diagonals start are going to be 6 layers thick. Carefully sew those points together, you may have to gently pull from the back again to get your sewing machine to go over the point.
This block should finish around 12.5 inches square, mine was just a little bigger than that. Here are some layouts I created in Photoshop Elements to show you how you can use this block in a quilt layout.
The Clearly Perfect Angles tool can be bought from New Leaf Stitches for $10 plus shipping. If you order more than one, Kari gives you a little discount, so get some friends together to treat yourselves this Holiday Season. They make great stocking stuffers for your quilty friends!
Please feel free to hop over to my review post to see more information on the CPA and to watch Kari's videos. You can also read all of my previous Terrific Tool Tuesday post by using the tab at the top of the page. I just finished a fabric marker showdown where I tested about 7 different brands of fabric markers for their ease of use, color fastness, and feathering.