Quilting Techniques: Triangles

One of the first shapes we learn about as kids is the triangle. The triangle can be seen in many forms around us, from basic architecture to structural supports and in our food (think your favorite PB&J sandwich cut on the diagonal!!).


Image from Google

A triangle can be defined as a three sided and two dimensional closed structure. It is a polygon with three corners, and often makes up other polygon shapes. But why do we like to use these in quilting? I like them because the are aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and add interest to linear piecing.

All of us on the Education team have been quilting these gorgeous panels and they will be on display at Quilt Canada this month in Ottawa. Let’s focus in on a section of my panel where I quilted with different triangles. This can be done using a ruler and ruler foot (free motion technique) or by using your walking foot and simply sewing from pre-marked point to point.

All of my triangles were done with some basic tools: the narrow Acufeed Flex Foot, quilting gloves, a wash-away marking pen and the straight 3″x 8″ ruler from our Ruler Set.  As I approached each section, I made some small marks as reference guides so that I could make sure that my stitching was centered or placed where I wanted it.

For this section (above pic), I wanted to create a horizon with a reflection. To do this, I marked the center down the whole square, and marked out my points for the top section at 1″, and then two more at 3/4″ away. Then I halved those measurements and made the corresponding marks for the reflection area. This is an effective way to add interest on a rather simple square.


Next up was a larger section of the panel (above), that has a printed pinwheel design on it. While I liked the design that was there, I decided that placing quilting lines in other areas created more triangle shapes. This block has more that just equilateral triangles, it also has isosceles and right angle triangles made from the stitching lines and the printed sections of the fabric. This type of quilting would also look nice on large scale floral blocks, the center section would allow the petals to stand out.


Adding in triangles on a solid color like this (above) adds visual movement to an otherwise simple four patch block. You can do this with any combination of fabrics, not just solids, to add interesting optical effects to your quilt. Imagine what it would look like if the triangles were on all four blocks. It would give a pinwheel look.


This block is one of my favorites (above). I love chevrons and arrows, I think they are the coolest shape. In fact, I have on my “quilt wish list” several patterns like this. It adds places for your eyes to travel to on your quilt, so it would be a very effective shape to draw attention to a focus fabric or border strips. The top left corner makes me think of the big power line towers that you see out in the country, with all the different supports to hold up the power lines. So often we don’t realize just how many triangles we see every day!


These last two blocks (above) show the usage of ‘crosshatching’ techniques. You can have all your lines intersect evenly and leave out a couple to make the center of a block puff up a little, or you can have them intersect at the same point for a different effect.

Many techniques that we have covered today would look amazing on whole cloth quilts, or in negative space to fill around some amazing piecing. No matter which you choose, adding some triangles to your quilting is a great way to increase your skills when finishing your quilts.

The next segment on this panel will be Quilting with Decorative Stitches, so make sure to watch out for that in July.

Until next time,


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8 Responses to Quilting Techniques: Triangles

  1. In the examples what is the stitch length?


  2. dot@americanfiberr.net says:

    Good lesson, on thinking outside the box and ditch!


  3. Kate Erickson says:

    Can you please share basic machine settings such as foot pressure and tension, my instruction manual is not clear and I can’t find any information, I know all machines are different but basics would be good for new quilters. I have the 6600P and she is the best Janome I have owned


    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Kate,
      Did you ask your Dealer where you bought your machine to explain this to you? Or have you taken advantage of your Owners lessons with your Dealer? That would help you a lot.
      We will see if we can offer some of this information you request in future blog posts.



      • Kate Erickson says:

        Unfortunately dealer lessons are out, I purchased my machine online as there is not a dealer close to me, it would be a 6 hour return trip for a lesson. I look forward to any help you can give me.


  4. Brill Nickerson says:

    Thank you for this wonderful info. I am a newbie and just finished my very first pieced top yesterday. Your series will be so helpful as I quilt my very first quilt. I’am looking forward to your further posts. THANK YOU>


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