Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Bonus Triangles

I've had a couple inquiries about how I made my flying geese units and the bonus triangles for the Scrappy Star blocks.  There are many ways to make flying geese, but my favorite way has always been to use two squares and a rectangle.  I draw a line down the center of the squares, sew on the line, then cut away the excess (and throw it away!).  

Somewhere along the line, I heard about this "bonus triangle" idea, but it seemed like a lot of extra work and also seemed like you ended up with odd size triangles that didn't fit in well with other size squares or block units.  

Earlier this year, I took a class with Bonnie Hunter and she showed us how to get bonus triangles from the project we were working on.  I decided, "what the heck, I'll try it for THIS project."  Well, that's all it took.  I'm hooked!  This little mini is made with bonus HST from that Bonnie workshop!  Just FYI, Bonnie has a great article on her website.

When I started the Scrappy Stars sew along, I knew it would be another project to take advantage of getting those bonus triangles.

For the flying geese in the stars, which are 12" blocks, I start with a 3.5" x 6.5" rectangle of background fabric, and two 3.5" squares of "color" fabric.  I draw a line, diagonally, down the center of the 3.5" squares.  Then, using my ruler, I draw another line 1/2" from the first.  You can see my first pencil line if you look closely (double click photo).  A half inch space works fine for this size block, but sometimes you might have to adjust that spacing in order to end up with a workable size HST.  Bonnie explains that better in her article!

Place the square on top of the rectangle, making sure the second line is on the "outside."  Sew both lines.  Bonnie recommends sewing the center line first, then folding the fabric back to make sure your triangle is going to line up with the background fabric.  

Cut apart between the two seam lines....

Press triangle open and repeat on the opposite side...

Square up the bonus HSTs...in this case, they square up to 2.5", unfinished.

and voila!  You have your flying geese unit and two HSTs!  That's it.  Truthfully, it doesn't take much extra time...especially considering the reward of all those awesome HSTs you'll get to use in another project.  :)

Happy Quilting!


  1. It's such a great use of those scraps.

  2. I did my first block that way, then decided I didn't want all those leftover HSTs to use up, so now I'm making mine the other way. :0)

  3. I love, love, LOVE bonus triangles :o) I used to draw the second line, but then I read that Bonnie just moves her needle over one position and then guides the already stitched line along the edge of the foot. I know that gives you a skinny seam allowance when you cut them apart, but most of the time I don't have to do any trim cutting on my bonus HSTs at all.

  4. Anonymous2:55 PM

    I love doing this as well. Even have a basket full!

  5. Beautiful block made from your BTs, Michelle!
    I love having all of those "pre-made" pieces ready to play!

  6. Thanks for the lesson~ I'm going to try this!

  7. A great scrappy block! Love bonus triangles...I have bags full of them!

  8. Sometimes I have more fun with the bonus triangles than the original ones.


Love hearing from my blog friends! I had to disable "Anonymous" comments though. Thanks for stopping by!!