Making triangles into squares (tutorial)

It’s official, my favourite part of quilting is playing with the pretty fabrics. I am still working on putting together the Easy Street quilt top, but I decided to break from that last week to make the March block for the Canadians Quilt {bee}. Shena is my co-administrator, and asked for a fun block called Birds in the Air, which makes lots of triangles. Now, she does have an excellent tutorial for the block using squares and rectangles, but I decided to make her block extra-scrappy.
Super scrappy Birds in the Air
First, I made 6 different half square triangle units (HST) using one print and one low-volume background. I used the technique which starts with 2 3″ squares, meaning I have 6 HST units left over for another project. Next I used my flying geese ruler (this also works with an Easy Angle ruler) to make print triangles, starting from 2-1/2″ strips. The nice thing with this technique is I could raid my stash of 2-1/2″ strips or use pre-cut jelly roll strips, rather than needing a 3″ wide piece of fabric. These triangles line up nicely with the 2-1/2″ square unit.

2.5" triangle

Cutting 2.5″ triangle from 2.5″ strip using flying geese ruler

(When I have leftover scraps, I cut 2-1/2″ squares and strips. Anything smaller than that goes into a bin on the floor for my daughter to play with.)
Next, I cut some 4-1/2″ strips from my selected low volume fabrics and cut the triangles for the other half of the 4-1/2″ units. I used the edges of these triangles for my quarter inch seam guide, resulting in a perfectly sized square.
4.5" trianglepic0316_000
I wouldn’t make a ton of HST this way, and it does mean working with a lot of bias edges, but it is a nice technique for a block like this.

In other news, in the last week it has been anywhere from 9 degrees to minus 17, sometimes within 24 hours. I was excited to be able to see the dirt in my garden but our walk Sunday was, in a word, frigid.

With a cold wind blowing up the Ganaraska river, Barrett Street bridge

With a cold wind blowing up the Ganaraska river, Barrett Street bridge

Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday with Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts, Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story, and Let’s Bee Social with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts.


  1. Oh my gosh. Frigid is right! I love your block. It looks happy with so many colors.

    1. Thanks for coming by to visit!

  2. Thank you for the tips.. 😀

  3. The Sassy Quilter · ·

    Too cold for me:) The block looks great and interesting technique. Haven’t used that one, good to know. I just started cutting all my scraps into useable sizes and it is working great so far.

  4. What a beautiful block!!!! Lovely fabrics!

    1. I think the secret to the best bee blocks is using fabrics that I love.

  5. Those are some lovely flying geese! Your playful choices for the low volume background are great. Thanks for sharing your tips. Hope the real geese are soon back. Sure could use some proof that spring weather will soon be here!

    1. it is amazing how winter is hanging on, I’m glad Easter is late this year.

  6. Love your fabric choices – great colors!!!! I bet the entire quilt will be fantastic! Cold here in the NE of the US… we are not so patiently awaiting Spring!!!

    1. I keep telling people we deserve an awesome summer to make up for this winter!

  7. oh my word, I love fabric too. So much. I work for fabric! I have done every craft but always stay with fabric and love commercial prints as well as my hand dyes. The ruler looks like a good one. Do you use it a lot? I have a lot of rulers.
    LeeAnna Paylor blog: Not Afraid of Color

    1. I use this ruler regularly to make triangles, liked I showed here, or for quarter square triangles, but usually for flying geese I used the no-waste method which makes 4 at a time.

  8. Wonderful looking fabrics and a great block! Very pretty!

  9. Nice block, Lisa!

  10. What a great block! I love the scrappiness!

  11. Refreshing look to your blocks, I like it!

    1. Low volume backgrounds work because they’re so scrappy, your eye gravitates to the colors in the print triangles. I look forward to seeing these all together!

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