Posted in Piecing, Quilting, Studio 180 Design tools and techniques, Uncategorized

My Quilting Power Tool!

The Studio 180 Design’s Tucker Trimmer is my power tool! I use it every time I’m working on a quilt. Here are just a few of the units you can make with the Tucker Trimmer. I used a charm pack – all the squares are 5″.

Half Square Triangles

This is the Size Chart that is included in your Tucker Trimmer instructions.
The Finished size is the size of the unit when it’s stitched into your quilt.
The Cut Size is the size before the unit is stitched into your quilt. (Almost always 1/2″ bigger.)

The Starter Squares we are using are 5″. Looking above the 5″ you’ll see that the Cut Size will be 4 1/2″ and the finished size will be 4″.

The Tucker Trimmer has two circles on it. In the upper right is a full circle and in the lower left is a half circle. When trimming your units the circle will be in the upper right if you’re right handed and in the upper left if you’re left handed. The full circle means you’re trimming to the full inch and the half circle means you’re trimming to the half inch. The broad line that runs from the lower left to the upper right is called the common diagonal. This line is always used for trimming and it’s the only line used when trimming Half Square Triangles. The broad and dotted lines running in the opposite direction will be used to trim Quarter Square and Combination Units depending what size unit you’re making.

Quarter Square Triangles or Hourglass units. Layer two half square triangles (untrimmed) right sides together, nesting the seams. Draw two lines each 1/4″ from the center diagonal. This line should be opposite from the previously stitched lines. Stitch on lines. Cut apart. Follow the captions on the pictures to spin the seams, creating less bulk in the center. Great tip and can be used when making many different units.

Looking at the Size chart above, you’ll see that when making quarter Square or combination units the 5″ charm square will make a cut size of 4″ and a finished size of 3 1/2″. Each of these units have a second seam so the units will be smaller. To trim the Quarter Square Triangle units place the full circle in the upper right (lefties upper left)’. Line up the common diagonal on one seam and the 4″ solid line on the other one. Those lines will intersect at the exact center of the block. Trim the first two sides, rotate the block, lining up the trimmed edges with the 4″ lines on the Tucker Trimmer. Trim sides 3 and 4 (second trim). Perfect Quarter Square Triangles every time!

Combination Units

Combination Units are made with a solid 5″ square and a half square triangle unit. Center the Half Square Triangle on top of the solid square , centering it. Draw the lines corner to corner on the HST – opposite direction of the seam. Stitch and cut apart. Press to the larger triangle by placing it on top on your pressing mat. Press with your iron, then finger press. Final pressing from the front before trimming. This will be trimmed to 4″ and finish at 3 1/2″.

When working with Charm Packs (5″ squares) I prefer to make my units smaller. The charm packs have pinked edges and are not perfect 5″ squares. I would make all my units cut size 3 1/2″ so they finish at 3″. You’ll be trimming off a little more fabric than usual. And 3″ squares are a common size in lots of quilt blocks! Do you like to work with Charm Packs?

Go shopping here!

Quilt Patterns that use the Tucker Trimmer

Tucker Trimmer

Magic Wand

Wool pressing mat

And don’t forget to get your FREE Storm at Sea pattern!

Leave a comment and let me know what you’re making with your Tucker Trimmer or if you have any questions!


Barbara Dann

Alleycat Quiltworks

Posted in classes, Piecing, Quilting, Studio 180 Design tools and techniques, Uncategorized

It’s always the last one………

I bought 26 fat quarters of Alison Glass Chroma fabric to use for my next project.  Yummy, right?


And then the dilemma.  I need background fabric.  Lots of background fabric.  Do I choose white – safe but not a wow background?  Maybe black – I always default to black.  Tried both and blah, nothing exciting there.

So off I go to see Cynthia at Stitch Your Art Out for some inspiration.  We spent an hour trying various shades of blue, yellow, and gray.  Nope – all were ok but not “it”.  Then Cynthia pulled a beautiful dark brown and it looked great with the fabrics.  Made them pop and I liked it.  We continued to try a few repeats just to make sure brown was the one.

And then Cynthia said –  “Let’s just see how this purple looks.”

WOW!  I knew right away that was it!


Here are some of my blocks so far:

Bubble Gumblock 1

Boutique Shimmerblock 2

Babbling Blueblock

Thanks, Cynthia for helping me choose a not boring background!  More blocks to come!

Do you have a go-to background or do you like to try lots of fabrics before deciding?

Happy Fall!





Posted in classes, Piecing, Quilting, Studio 180 Design tools and techniques, Teaching, Uncategorized

Four Patches

Four-patches look like the simplest piece to make, right?

But getting them to be perfect isn’t all that easy.

Even after careful cutting, stitching and pressing, these units may not quite line up. That can be frustrating.

I’ve probably sewn thousands of four-patches over the years, and the truth is mine weren’t always spot on.

In fact, they were always a little wonky. But I was able to make them work by lining them up with the trimmed V-Block (or whatever) unit I was stitching it to.

When this tool was first introduced I wasn’t convinced that most quilters would need it. Then I started using the right tool for the job and it made a huge difference for me.

The Four Patch Square Up Ruler works like all the Studio 180 Design tools: You’ll make the piece a little bit bigger than needed, then trim it to perfection with the tool.

Here is what my four patches looked like before. Not quite big enough and not quite square.


Here is what my four patches have looked like ever since I started using the Four Patch Square Up Ruler every time I make a four-patch.


Being a little off here and there is no big deal. But if everything is off, all those mistakes start to snowball. After all that time, effort and money, the last thing you want is to be unhappy with your finished project.

Everything won’t always be perfect, but this tool is going to get you pretty darn close.

DT17_-_Four_Patch_Square_Up_ruler_with_instructions_1024x1024       IMG_1976[1]



GALAXY is a class favorite and one of my favorite quilts!  I love a quilt that looks difficult to make and it’s not!  Many Four Patches and V-Blocks create this stunning quilt!  And there’s no curved piecing! Would you like to have this class at your guild or quilt shop?


Have you used the Four Patch Square Up tool?  Do you struggle to get those
Four Patches perfect?

Until next time –