Thursday, December 23, 2010

Little Trees Revisited

Well, it’s true that I lost the pictures for making the little trees using the Pyramid Triangle foundation from Miniatures in Minutes when my computer crashed, but I think I may have enough photos that I put up on the blog while I was in process to make some useable directions. 

To begin, here is the Quilt Layout Diagram (correct this time).  Unlike every other quilt layout diagram I’ve done, this one is numbered.  The foundation will make 12 little trees.  You will need forty-eight patches (sizing provided in Miniatures in Minutes).

[Pyramid Triangle Little Xmas Trees[4].jpg]

Usually, I draw seam allowance lines before adding the lettering (numbering in this case).  This time I added the numbers first, remembering to put the numbers to the far right of the patch.

[mini trees 1[3].jpg]

This allowed me to add seam allowance lines to only those patches that needed them, which is to say, to the right of patches 1, 2, and 4.  (I forgot to draw the lines for the number fours on the right side of the foundation, but you can imagine they’re there, right?).

[mini trees 2[3].jpg]

Now add the first patch set: the number 1 patches on the left side of the foundation, right side up as always.  This is the first place where we’re running into my having lost those photos – I’m pulling in a photo from my first take on this pattern, back when I lettered the foundation as usual.  So, there are letters in the photo instead of numbers but the placement is correct. 

[mini tree 1[3].jpg]

Place the second patch set (#2)  face down over the first set of patches.  Flip the foundation over and sew on the seam line between patches 1 and 2, using Sew and Skip (described in Miniatures in Minutes).  As usual, flip back over and glue and iron them open.

[mini tree 2[3].jpg]

Add patch set number 3 using the same method, sewing on the seam line between patches 2 and 3.  Do not worry about adding the number 4’s at this time.  Just move over to the middle column and start adding patches 1 thru 3. (We’re switching over to my second take on this project now, so the foundation is numbered and the fabric has changed).

[mini trees 6[3].jpg]

Keep going and add patches 1 thru 3 for the third column as well.  After all of those patches have been sewn, glue all of the patch set #4 to the foundation. 

[mini trees 7[3].jpg]

At this point, I cut apart the foundation so that I don’t mistakenly join rows that I shouldn’t, so cut apart between rows 2 and 3, 4 and 5, and 6 and 7.

[mini tree 7[3].jpg]

Join the rows and then trim to individual triangle units.

[mini tree 8[3].jpg]

I leave the paper on until after I have completed the tree unit, so now add the triangle pieces. 

From the white background fabric, cut twelve 2 1/2" squares.  Place two of them wrong sides together (or right sides together, for that matter – just so they are not oriented both sides facing the same way).  Using the Fons and Porter Pyramid Ruler, cut a triangle set.  Be sure that you are lining up the ruler as shown below so that you get the seam allowance you need.

[mini tree triangle ruler[3].jpg]

Now pivot the fabric and cut another triangle set.  You will have just a little strip of fabric as waste.

[mini tree 12[3].jpg]

The two squares will give you the triangles for two trees.

[mini tree 10[3].jpg]

I’m sadly lacking on pictures from here on out, but I think you can figure it out.  When I added the triangles to the trees, I used the method described in the book for the Square in a Square foundations – that is, I had the seam flap folded towards me as I sewed up to the point where the pyramid triangles joined on the foundation; then I lifted the needle and presser foot and folded the flap back; I came back down in at the point where the triangles intersect and finished out the seam line.  After sewing, I cut the thread that had skipped over the foundation.  This gave me two advantages: one, I didn’t have any paper pieces sewn down into an intersection where they would be hard to get off and out, and two, I was able to press the seam open which meant the trees laid a little flatter.  And, well, yes, I wish I did have a photo of that particular process!

Cut 12 tree trunks, 1" by 1 1/8".  Cut 24 background pieces 1" by 1 3/8".  Sew a background piece to each side of the trunk.  Add to the upper tree unit.  And, finally, remove the paper. 

[little tree block[3].jpg]

Twelve little trees.  Obviously things got a little wonky here and there; I just trimmed them up.

[little trees quilt blocks[3].jpg]

Sharon, who originally asked me for a way to make little trees using the Pyramid Triangle foundation, wanted to make pincushions.  I decided to sew up a little wall quilt instead.  My sashing strips finish at 1/2" wide. 

Well, those certainly aren’t the directions I originally intended on creating, but I hope you can follow them!

I just poked my head out the back door.  No snow but cold and damp.  It’s not bothering Mr. Cooper who has his own fur coat, but me?  It’s bundle up time for that morning walk.



  1. I am not usually wild about seasonal quilts but these little trees are wonderful. Maybe on my list for next year!

  2. I have always loved tree patterns, and this one is just lovely! You did a wonderful job!

  3. Very cute. You make it look so easy too. Inspirational.

    I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.