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The first row of Sunflower Lattice has been pieced.

The first row of Sunflower Lattice has been pieced. The entire quilt is now too big to fit on my design wall. *sigh*

As you know (if you’ve been reading my blog, hanging with me on Facebook or if you haven’t dodged fast enough when you saw me in person), I’ve working on Sunflower Lattice for a while.

Usually I post pictures of the quilt on my design wall, all together, with as many hexagons and triangles as I have pieced and put together.  Many of the reactions I’ve gotten about this quilt are positive. but one comment I’ve gotten consistently has been about the “many inset seams.”

Well, I’ll tell you a secret.  There ARE no inset seams in Sunflower Lattice. I was not in any mood for inset seams, so I specifically went looking for a construction method didn’t require them.

It turns out that hexagons are made up of equilateral triangles. and if you add 3 equilateral triangles to the edges of a hexagon you end up with…a bigger equilateral triangle.

Then, you can assemble hexagons-within-triangles to other hexagons-within-triangles simply by rotating them. This is how I formed the rows.

Now, an alternative to putting together hexagons is if you attach 2 equilateral triangles to opposite sides of it.  In that case, you end up with a diamond, which you can sew in a row without rotating them.

Stars for Malcolm also uses hexagons.

Stars for Malcolm also uses hexagons. I will be sewing two triangles to opposite sides of the hexagons to make diamonds and then sew the diamonds into rows.

The problem, of course, that the length of the side of triangles you need are the same as the length of a side of your hexagons.

And most commercial templates and rulers, these are usually calibrated using the HEIGHT of the triangle.

The problem is, of course, that there’s no simple way to convert from the length of a side to the height of a triangle.  For that you need math and sines and a calculator, and… oh I see your eyes are glazing over.

Let me make it easier for you.  If you want to use commercial templates and rulers, these are use the HEIGHT of the triangle. The sides will be longer, but you don’t need to know their dimension as long as you consistently use the HEIGHT for all your measurements.

For instance, let’s say I wanted to cut the triangles in between the Seven Sisters blocks in Stars for Malcolm.

I could measure them but they are likely to be some odd measurement using 1/16th or something because I cut the diamonds for the stars based on their dimensions “flat-to-flat.”

So, it’s easier to  calculate the dimension I need based on the height of the hexagon, in this case, by counting the rows of diamonds. I start at the upper right corner and count straight down.  If I counted all the rows, there would be 10. and I know the diamonds finish at 1″.

Now, an interesting thing about hexagons is that since they can be formed from equilateral triangles is that the height of the hexagon will be the same as the height of two triangles. (This is before you add seam allowance!)

I needed to know the lenth of a side of the hexagons in Spirographology so I could make the 9-patches fit.

I needed to know the length of a side of the hexagons in Spirographology so I could make the 9-patches fit.

Since the triangles I want will be half the height of the hexagons, they will finish at 5″, and, adding in the seam allowance, I will need to cut the fabric in a 5.5″ row.

Now, if I wanted to cut out the triangles by the length of the side, my brain would explode, because all my measurements in this quilt are based on height, but in Spirographology, I had the opposite problem.

The side of the hexagons needed to be the same size as the 9-patches.  I couldn’t use a standard ruler to make the triangles, so I ended up using templates.

And, interestingly enough, the width of a hexagon (point-to-point) is the same as the side length of two triangles (again, without the seam allowance.)

It took a while to figure out what WHY the rulers didn’t work, but now I know: be consistent! Use the side measurements or use the height measurements, but don’t interchange them!

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