Anatomy of a Quilt: Day Two

More parts explained! Here's my quilt example and a few more defining terms. Once we stitch a block (pieced or appliqué), we can "tilt" it so the points of the four corners are North-South-East-West.

Today I want to talk about BLOCKS ON POINT. Here is a simple, single block that is turned 45 degrees. I call it Four Buds and it's from 2002. I think I paper pieced this.

Four Buds Mini Quilt
Here's what the block looks like before it was turned on point:

Four Buds Block
The addition of four CORNER triangles cut from TWO squares sets this block as shown above. There is a formula for doing this and I've shared it here several times before. You can find it again further down this page.

What about setting a block not quite on a 45 degree turn? I call this my Tilt. These squares use a different angled triangle. If you have a Tri Recs ruler set in your sewing room, the Recs ruler is what I'm referring to. "Rec" refers to half a rectangle. Let's see some of those Tilt quilts.

Cream and Sugar Tilt Quilt
Those block centers are squares. The triangles that surround them are about 56 degrees. Four of them of the same angle tilt left; four that are mirror image triangles tilt right. The resulting blocks become bigger squares.

Here's my first Tilt quilt (from early 2000). As you can see, all the squares tilt in ONE direction.

First Tilt Quilt
And some recent Tilt quilts:
A charity quilt perfect for a critter loving child
How about the panels from a soft book? This also was donated for a local charity which gives out quilts to little children.
The Pokey Little Puppy soft book becomes a talking quilt!

Two mug rugs for an animal rescue fund raiser:

Dog fabrics all the way!
I have more, but I think you get the idea!

Here is an OLD quilt with vintage appliqué flowers and baskets. They were received in the Quilt Magazine office for a block contest and my editor asked me to create a quilt with them. Five blocks set on point with simple side and corner triangles. And, yes, there is sashing separating the blocks.

Five Vintage Blocks on Point
And how about only four basket blocks set on point? The addition of a fifth plain square is needed in the center. No sashing here. This obviously was NOT quilted by me! The longarm quilter worked her magic in those light green triangles and square!

Peach and Green Baskets

In both these peach/green quilts there are TWO sizes of triangles needed to set these blocks on point. The side triangles (which are larger) and the corners (smaller).

Here is my formula sheet. This is a magic sheet! Those mathematical formulas are accurate and work every single time! The parameters of this blog prevents me from putting a pdf here, but I think this is readable!

So, let's look again at my digital Anatomy of a Quilt. The center row shows the two types of blocks set on point. The pieced block is set at a 45 degree angle. The hexagon block uses the Tilt angle.

Anatomy of a Quilt terms

And now for a show of several more quilts with blocks on point. They never get shown anywhere anymore. They have been given away and they would be so pleased to know that you enjoyed seeing them!

Printed panels of Baltimore Album blocks made this quick and easy.

Simple printed Baltimore Album panels set on point
Basic Pinwheel blocks steal the show when the setting fabric is plain.
Pinwheel blocks set with plain black print squares and triangles
Simple appliquéd circles and squares in squares are my Spiroglyphics quilt from mid 2000. It was a popular workshop. Notice that the side and corner triangles are two different colors!

Spiroglyphics quilt
Sunshine Butterflies from early 2000 is a variation of a Drunkard's Path block. This is one of those quilts that's hanging on the Giant Quilt Rack in the Sky. This time I added sashing strips between the blocks. We will be talking about sashing strips and cornerstones in my next post.
Sunshine Butterflies
I hope you got the picture of what I mean when I say a block is on point. My quilts thank you for letting them show off!


  1. Hi Debby! I am enjoying this series so much. Plus we are getting to see a variety of your quilting projects as well. Happy New Year to you - I may have already said it but it's still acceptable for this week. ~smile~ Roseanne

    1. Thanks, Roseanne. Glad my quilts are enjoying those oldie quilts, too!

  2. Your timing was great I am planning to do on point quilt and needed the correct setting sizes thank you so much for the info. Theresa

  3. So glad this is helpful, Theresa. That chart is still very much used in my own sewing room. Those numbers are magic!


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