Carla is always looking for ways to make piecing faster – by breaking the rules – and using a standard 24” quilting ruler. Meet Carla and Bill as they weave their way across the country, vending, teaching and creating more and more designs using these unique techniques.
Meet Carla, in her own words…
I made all my quilts by hand between 1976 and 2005 – and then I discovered the rotary cutter! Recognizing how much faster making quilts would become, my ideas just went wild. There wasn’t enough time to execute all these quilts without finding ways to go faster. So this resulted in Shortcut Sheets – an accident discovered by breaking the rules.
See how these ideas evolved to now encompass 8 methods and 40+ quilt designs.
This was where it all started – a quilt using the Chinese puzzle block (although I didn’t know the name at the time). The block was from a sketch, saved for many years with the intention of doing a floor tile mosaic. But the rotary cutter changed all that.
Which turned into…
Making the required 600 Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs), in 8 fabric combinations, both left and right versions, was going very slowly one at a time. But when throwing the units on the table, I noticed they made a pattern of squares between strips.
Method 1 – QST
By a little reverse-engineering, I discovered how to make 44 units from the same ‘sheet’, 22 left and 22 right. By breaking the rules and cutting the units on a bias, I was able to complete 600 QSTs in record time.
The resulting rows are cut into their final units.
The inside of the ‘sheet’ is completely cut into final sized units, pressed and ready to use. The waste is all on the outside of the ‘sheet’.
Method 2 – HST
Now the same quilt also required 1200+ half square triangles (HSTs). By applying the same principles, and sewing all fabric combination strips in a continuous ‘sheet’, these were also made in record time.
Cut the sheet diagonally at 45 degrees using the angle of the ruler aligned with one of the seams. Then Cut rows the height of the final unit size.
Waste is around the outside of the sheet.
Many quilt designs use only HST and/or QST units.
Me and My Shadow
This led me to some innovation – ‘lace’ QSTs and HSTs are new units created by adding an additional strip to the sheet.
All these unit options were cut from the sheet
Method 3 – Flying Geese
Next came the method for making sheets of flying geese. This odd looking ‘sheet’ makes 20 Flying Geese units.
With little waste.
Flying Geese units are frequently used in quilts.
Flying in Formation
FG units can also be made so there is extra space above the triangle point.
A sheet of 3” x 2” FG units
Units have ½” plus ¼” seam allowance of background fabric, which creates an appealing effect as shown in the quilt below.
Method 4 – Hourglass
Hourglass units are made in a similar way as QSTs.
Sheet of over 100 HG units
All units go in the same way but making left/right units are part of the instructions.
Take a look at this fun quilts! Getting inspired?
Time Piece – large and small hourglass units
Method 5 – Triangle-in-a-Square
Triangle-in-a-Square units are modified since 60 degree triangles are wider than they are tall so there is space above the triangle which makes it ‘float’ in the square.
The left unit is modified, the right unit is traditional.
Method 6 – Four-Patch
Four-Patch units are the only ones that are cut straight of grain.
Sheet of 3 fabric four-patch units
Cut units apart straight of grain.
Method 7 – Six Point Star
The first of 2 block methods. The star is made in rows, 10 at a time.
Make 10 blocks at once
A Star is Born
Seven Sisters – a Group project
Method 8 – Hunter’s Star
The Hunter’s Star is the second block method. Using strips, first make square-in-a-square blocks. Then cut each into 4 pieces diagonally. Mix and match the centers. Replace outside triangles with solid triangles.
Use the scrap triangles in the border.
Although the possibilities are endless, here are a view variations.
All 8 methods have been published in binder format – each is a laminated reference card with multiple size calculations.
Shortcut Sheet Mosaic – Technique of the Month
This quilt is a technique of the Month – like a block of the month – fabric and instructions arrive by mail each month. Learn all 8 methods while building the blocks for this quilt.
Shortcut Sheet Mosaic
Shortcut Sheet Schoolhouse
Join our first Shortcut Sheet Schoolhouse – August 11 to 17, 2019 – in Sebego Maine. Learn all you need to know in this comprehensive but fun week. Download the brochure for more info.
Come by and say Hi
Meet Carla and Bill at Quilt Week in Paducah and Grand Rapids. Visit their website for more exciting designs –