Saturday, March 9, 2013

More than I can chew

I have been compulsively working on Bird Trap Blocks for weeks now & trying so hard to keep from blogging about it every day.  Because I cannot stop thinking about Bird Traps, I cannot stop talking about Bird Traps.  You people are lucky, anyone I can get on the phone not so much.  All my waking hours, some part of my brain is arranging, re-arranging; I rotate them, I imagine different parts coming together, I cannot stop. 

Because the Bird Trap Blocks are improv (I like to call it jazz piecing), there never was a set of directions.  One of the guidelines is a plank round of 1/2-square triangles.  In short, I am cranking through 1/2-square triangles.  & the big question everyone who asks about this block is where did they all come from?

In the other side of this post, Block Lotto's week-end update this week is all about How-To's.  So this is my How To tip.  How to take a bit of extra time & build up a supply of random 1/2-square triangles that you might never use...unless you decide to make Bird Traps along with me. 

& now for the meat.  A couple of years ago I made a quilt top of rainbow colored rolling stone blocks.  I was approached by a friend who was looking for a rainbow themed quilt for a regional GLBT fundraiser.  I made the top in a bit less than 5 days.  That's soup to nuts, telephone call to mailing the top off.   I never took a picture of the original & the pics I got of the completed quilt were not digital or I would share, but I loved the top & have been thinking about making one for myself ever since I made it.  So here are the blocks I have made so far for the quilt for myself; the fabrics are different, but the color-concept is the same.

What does that have to do with anything at all?   am glad you asked.  See those on point squares at each corner?  Well, each one of them began as a 4.5" square & then had little squares added, flipped, pressed & clipped to make them what you see.  This means that every single rolling stone had 16 orphan, 1/2-square triangles cut away as scrap.  & all it took was an extra swoop in the chain piecing to gather them together.  This quilt top (& the original) is a 4x4 pattern, at 16 leftover units per block, that means a total of 256 1/2-square triangles going spare. 

If this all sounds a little bit compulsive, I hear you.  & after all I had no idea I was going to be Bird Trap Block possessed when I started down this road.  On the other hand, without that cache of trash I probably would never have thought improv block design was an option. 

Besides, this random piecing has served me well before.  One of my favorite quilts began as the same 1/2-square triangle leftovers from a very large churn dash block table runner.  One of my go-to baby gift quilts (& grown-up quilts) begins with strings.  & I have never been put off just because none of the pieces really fit together.

So my tip?  Uhm.  I guess, if you are already sitting there, piecing & cutting, what's one more for the pile? 


  1. Thanks for linking to the Weekend Update and sharing your compulsion. I love those extra half-square triangles, too, and cannot toss them. In fact, I've been know to ask people to send theirs to me if they were going to otherwise toss them. As for your Bird Trap blocks ... I love them and like how each is unique. I look forward to seeing them on your blog and can't wait to see the quilt you make from them.

  2. Me, three! I don't think I ever had a project that generated 256 of them, though! Glad you feel better about not going to the Jax APQS road show. =)