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, Storm at Sea Quilts, Studio 180 Design tools and techniques, Teaching, Uncategorized

How to use Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design Square Squared Ruler

The Square in a Square unit certainly looks easy enough – Just sew 4 triangles to a square. How hard could that be? Well – very. The center square is precision cut, and each triangle needs to be positioned perfectly to be sure the square is centered accurately. Ugh.

By making the precision cut easy and oversizing the triangles the Square in a Square can be made easily and accurately.

Here’s how: (click on the picture to see it without the words)

This is the first block in the Storm at Sea Quilt. Click HERE to get the FREE Storm at Sea pattern.  


A little more info on the Square Squared ruler:

  • Ruler size – 6 ½” x 12”
  • Unit sizes – 6 size options from 1” finished units to 6” finished units
  • Step by step illustrated instructions
  • Instructions for left hand cutting and trimming
  • Fine lines for high accuracy
  • We have companion patterns – but you don’t have to use our patterns to use our tools.  If the Square in a Square unit is in the pattern – just use your Square Squared ruler – fast, easy and super accurate!!

If you have any questions or need some help – just send an email to – I’m happy to help!

Until next time,


Barbara Dann
Alleycat Quiltworks 
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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!