Ask Jo: On Point?? YES!

Hello, and welcome to another edition of “Ask Jo”.  I get many comments and questions from all sorts of places, the comment section here, Youtube, email, and from our Facebook group.  Sometimes I think others of you might want to know the answers as well so I answer them here on the blog.

Today I’m only tackling one question.  It’s about a quilt that Ray recently finished as part of the community quilt project.

Ray finished this quilt and took time to tell you all that the quilt was set on point.  After that comment, many of you found yourself having trouble understanding.  After all, it doesn’t look like it is one point.


Helen made this comment, “Not sure this is on point but it is intriguing. I can see the intersection but can’t figure how to make the rest of the block. Can you draw this out for us, Jo? I would love to understand it. Yes, Ray is magical!!”

Ray wrote:  “The quilt was made on point. I know it does not look like it. But it has to have been made on point. The border was part of the outside blocks.”

First off, for those of you new to quilting, I want to tell you that quilts blocks can be “set” in several different ways.  On point means the blocks are turned so that they appear to look like diamonds vs squares.

This is an on-point setting.  I borrowed this picture from Pheobe Moon Quilt Designs.  She has an awesome explanation including charts with measurements on how to cut the side triangles to make this layout of the quilt.  I highly recommend checking out her website.  Find it HERE.

Quilt Set on Point showing blocks, side setting triangles and corner setting triangles
Look at the picture below carefully to see the intersection where the blocks come together.  Look specifically at the tan square in the middle of the picture below. Can you see the seam lines intersecting there?


Still can’t see it?  Look in the photo below.  I drew some rough lines over the intersection.

Helen suggested that maybe I could draw it out for you.

I popped over to EQ to see if I could draw it there for you.  I drew this far and realized I needed to modify some of the blocks as in the quilt that Ray shows, there are no actual borders that were sewn onto the quilt.  The borders were created as part of the blocks…but look, you can see how the blocks come together in this on-point setting to create the design.


Here…I reconfigured the blocks.  This is the design of the quilt.  The actual quilt has more blocks but I think you can get the idea.


This is the center block…

This is the corner block.

There is a setting or side block too but the program doesn’t print it right so I can’t show it to you.

This is very interesting to me…  Here again, is the original quilt.


I absolutely love diving into the construction of a quilt.  I love seeing the twists and turns that go into making a quilt.

This may be strange but my favorite magazines are old quilt magazines.  Quilting Today is one of my favorites.  Every time I see them I buy them.  In them is a section by Sharyn Craig.  The column is wonderful, at least in my opinion.  She takes blocks and changes colors or settings or styles and creates very different quilts.   I take the magazines to bed all the time and study them before I go to sleep.  Playing with the design on this quilt let me “geek out” and be Sharyn Craig for a moment and explain the construction of a quilt…I LOVED it!


26 thoughts on “Ask Jo: On Point?? YES!

  1. Christina Coats

    OMG thanks Jo, after reading Rays comment that it was an on point quilt, I looked and looked and decided my old brain did not compute! Now you have broken it down I can see it. Not an easy pattern to follow unless your 1/4″ seams where perfect . Loved your explanation, maybe you could do more of these????

    Reply
  2. Pamela Meyers Arbour

    I have to say that I have never seen anything quite like that. Very interesting. I’m wondering why she would want to put it on point when she can finish it quicker with the standard blocks and rows.

    Reply
  3. Donna

    And here I was trying to figure out how to put that little triangle onto the big triangle! LOL!
    Thanks for explaining the whole process and Ray, thanks for being so patient with us questioning it!
    Love and prayers

    Reply
  4. Bridget

    I also loved Quilting Today and Sharyn’s column. She showed you the technique and then showed you some of the possibilities…I had to downsize my magazines and QT and QNM were the ones I loved and kept the most of. I also love and use the Quilts! Quilts! Quilts! book as it gives the easy math for figuring side and corner blocks for on point. makes doing on point tops not a big deal :)

    Reply
  5. Sherrill

    My thoughts are along the same line as Pamela’s. And even though you’ve shown us how it was done, I’m STILL wondering #1 why?! and #2 how the HECK did she get those little brown squares in the center of the red to line up absolutely perfectly?!!

    Reply
    1. sew happy

      Why: maybe it was a mystery quilt. We do many silly things for mystery quilts. Or it was a challenge of some kind. Again enjoy the process.

      Reply
  6. Judy Adams

    Thank you Helen for asking this question! I too could not figure out how it was a point on point. I’d say this quilter is a seasoned quilter! Thank you!

    Reply
  7. Bonny

    Thank you Jo for showing the “bones” of the pattern! I couldn’t see it either! I learn something new so often from you!

    Reply
  8. The Joyful Quilter

    Tricky technique! I’m not a fan of applying long borders, so this construction really intrigues me. I was able to see it once Ray pointed it out. Thanks for going the extra mile for those who weren’t able to wrap their head around his explanation, Jo!

    Reply
  9. Mary F Nelson

    I wonder if the quilter decided to use all the same fabric for the small triangles instead of two different fabrics in opposing spots. By doing so, it changed the area into looking like a square of the same color, instead of the intersection of triangles of two colors. That for sure would have made the “on point” appearance of this quit very obvious.
    If I had made this same “mistake” , one fabric for the triangles choice, I would have been upset that the secondary pattern was lost. The blocks could have been constructed so much more easily to achieve the same look. But this quilter did a great job with her precision!

    Reply
  10. Kim J LeMere

    Thank you Ray for showing us a challenging design setting. My brain had to think about it when he pointed it out and I drew some imaginary lines on those blocks to get it. I like how you showed it block by block and what a creative way to challenge a quilter to see something new. I will have to check out Phoebe Moon Quilt link.

    Reply
  11. Kat

    Thank you so much – I can see it now! I was so excited you answered my question, my Husband told me to invite you over for tea!!! Anyway, if you are ever in AZ, let’s get together and talk “on pointe”!

    Reply
  12. Helen

    Ok, easy peasy when you know how, huh? Thanks so much Jo for figuring it out and sharing with us! Very interesting design. I am always fascinated by how quilt blocks can be put together and achieve either the same look with different processes and achieve different designs with the same processes! That’s why we love quilting isn’t it? Come “have tea” with me too Jo! God bless all!

    Reply
  13. Helen

    I am going to disagree here. The border is made from 4 pieces of fabric that are mitred.

    I think the blocks with the squares in the centre were strip pieced and then cut with a triangle ruler like is used for cutting the centre of a flying geese unit – possibly left over from a different quilt as was suggested by Carla.

    Reply
  14. Helen

    That comment wasn’t from this Helen. More then one Helen on this blog commenting. Thanks again Jo. However it is put together, it has certainly generated lots of interest. Thanks to all for sharing their thoughts. Fun discussion!

    Reply
  15. Barbara Lutgendorf

    So is this a version of a square in a square with little triangles at the corners? I can see it going on point when I think of it as that kind of block. Very impressed with those seams matching up!

    Reply
  16. Janice Brown

    I really like Jean’s quilt. I find it very striking, and I am intrigued by the construction. I’d love to see in person. Great job Jean in WI, and thank you Ray for mentioning the quilt’s detail in your post.Ray, the floral quilting motif works really well with quilt.

    Reply
    1. Janice Brown

      Oops! Missed this in my reply above . . . Jo, thank you for going into more depth on this quilt. Quilt design and construction can be fascinating.

      Reply
  17. Ray LaGrange

    I love you all!! I wish I could show all of you in person the quilt. I have also thought about the why. I think it was made on point so that the piecing of the solid block with the gray square in the center would not be cluttered with a lot of piecing seems. If you just look at that one block, there are basically 2 sets of seems making an “X”. If you made it as a regular block , there would be four seems as in a 9 patch block. Sometimes less is more. I must also agree with everyone that matching points is a royal PAIN. However, practice. [practice, practice. I can not think of a better way to practice than making a beautiful quilt like Jean made. Thanks so very, very much for teaching me.

    Reply
  18. Lisa B

    Beige center block. Gray square in the center. It looks green on my cell and desktop! Interesting how the colors vary by computer. I guess Gray is correct since Ray saw the original quilt last. Unless these were leftover blocks I would make it the easier way!

    Reply
  19. Jean G-B

    Hi, this is Jean from WI. I have enjoyed reading all your comments and thank you for your complements. This top has been in a pile of completed tops for a while. I call myself a piecer and not a quilter, which is why Jo got so many tops from me a while ago. I had invested in a long arm but we never became friends. The top is old enough I don’t remember a lot about it. I do remember getting the floral which was pieces cut out for cushion tops at a guild thrift sale. I don’t use a lot of fancy rulers so the triangle ruler idea is out. I think the olive (yes olive) corner stones started cause of some cutting mistakes. Sorry, I can’t add more. All these comments have been a lot of fun.

    Reply
  20. Gail L Piper

    Thanks for the explanations – interesting technique! Also thanks to Ray and Jean for their comments!

    Reply
  21. Melody

    Jean GB, Do you remember anything about the borders? I find that the most intriguing Part of this mystery
    What a fun puzzle. How many of you have gone to your cutting table to try this?

    Reply

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