Thursday, November 5, 2020

My Rainbow Sierpinski Triangle Quilt Top is Complete!

 Check out the third coolest thing that I've ever made!

I was inspired to make this quilt when I was looking for ideas for baby gifts, of all things, and found a picture of this quilt. It's perfect for a baby, right? It's colorful. It's a great size for tummy time. It's got a clever and sophisticated mathematical pattern on it to build little baby brains!

And most important... I'm obsessed with rainbows. And math. And I like to sew.

I built myself a Sierpinski triangle template by printing this triangle graph paper and drawing in only the triangles that I knew would be black. I photocopied it, the better to make numerous attempts at a roughly symmetrical rainbow and then get mad at each one for a different reason and recycle it. Finally, I settled on this one--

--which I kind of don't love in some ways, because I wish it also had rotational symmetry, but it more or less works, and it looks pretty.

On to cutting out a zillion triangles with my brand-new 60-degree triangle ruler--

--and then laying them all out on the floor while binge-watching House until I got an arrangement that I liked:

Then I stacked them all up by rows--

--and pieced them together a little at a time, whenever I had some free time and felt like binge-listening to This American Life podcasts.

The media which will be binged is just as important as the activity conducted while binging, don't you think?

For pictures that show how to piece these triangles into rows, check out my quilted rainbow mug rug tutorial, where I give a step-by-step walk-through and have a bunch of pictures that I took while it was stormy outside and so the pictures are dark and gloomy and gross, too, and I don't want to republish them here.

But be assured that I pieced the entire triangle quilt just like I did in that tutorial: three triangles pieced together with corners matching, then that three-triangle piece pieced onto the larger strip:

My mini iron earned its keep here, which is awesome, because I'm pretty sure that I impulse-purchased it at least a decade ago and I'd be surprised if I really used it since.

I used the snot out of it ironing little triangle seams open, though!

Done by threes, each row comes together pretty quickly:

Sewing the rows together is a little trickier, and I ripped out my first row several times before I figured out a couple of different tricks to get my triangle points lined up at each row.

So, looking at the wrong side of the row, you can see the point at each seam where three different fabrics meet. If you put a pin through exactly at that point--

--and then poke it through the exact top point of the triangle facing it, you will have pinned them exactly to match:

If you're not feeling quite as picky, you can eyeball it:

But you probably know that I'm always feeling picky.

You should be good if you're sewing everything with a precise .25" seam allowance (don't be afraid to be picky!), but to make 100% sure that you're not sewing over any triangle tips, you can look for that same point where three fabrics meet while you're sewing the rows together. Put your stitching directly on top of that point, and your triangle tips will look perfect!

I'm not gonna lie--all these triangles did make for a LONG project, but it was surprisingly not tedious, because the whole time, it was really pretty! In every state of WIP, the quilt top was mesmerizing, with interesting patterns constantly being revealed with every new triangle sewn to it:

I think it's the prettiest now that it's finished, though, and you can see the complete pattern, both mathematical and rainbow:

The quilt, itself, isn't complete, but finishing that quilt top is most of the battle! I know exactly how I'm going to back it and bind it, and who I'm going to give it to for Christmas, and then, you guys...

I think I'm going to make another one for ME!

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