| |

Pink Sprinkles in progress

Ever since I started making these pink and white Shoo Fly blocks a couple of months ago, I’ve been craving cupcakes with a big dollop of pink frosting. Last night, I made a batch and today I spent way more time than is practical taking pictures of pink and white quilt blocks and pink and white cupcakes. Tomorrow, I take the results (the cupcakes) to work and distribute the calories around the office.

Since this is a quilt in progress, I don’t have the finished image to share with you yet and actual yardage hasn’t been calculated. This is a stash quilt. When I first planned it, I wanted to focus on simplicity of design with good hand quilting. At the time, that meant no borders so the instructions I am giving here are for that plan. However, I’ve since decided that one can never make enough half square triangles (which will be referred to as hst for the rest of this post). I am now planning some borders to make sure I get really sick of making hst but those are still on the drawing board. My quilt, without borders, will be 45″ by 51″ so a nice size for folding up and using to decorate while also large enough to throw across one’s legs if it’s chilly yet still small enough to hand quilt in one lifetime. I’m using the Shoofly block in pink and off-white, set with alternate solid off-white blocks. Blocks are 3-1/2″ unfinished and finish to 3″. At least, that’s the plan. I’ll need 128 total Shoofly blocks and I’m using a variety of pinks. I’ll need to cut 127 3-1/2″ solid off-white blocks.

My favorite gadget for making half square triangles, especially for a scrappy quilt, is a product called Thangles. There are other products that do the same things but in different ways and some I think are better when making a quilt that uses many hst cut from the same fabrics. But that’s not the usual case with me and not the case for this quilt so let’s focus on Thangles. Note: the Thangles company is not paying me for this post and they aren’t even providing me with a free product. I wish they would but clearly I’ll use them without any incentive. So, this is a real endorsement.

strips of pink and white fabric

Thangles are strips of a special, easy to tear paper printed with sewing and stitching lines and made to be used with fabric cut into strips. The number of hst units one can get from a single Thangles sheet depends on the finished size of the hst unit. In other words, you can get Thangles in different sizes and a package will yield different amounts of hst units depending on the size you buy. You can watch a demo video made by the Thangles company here. They are very easy to use and, as I said, I really like them. For my project, I can get 2.5 Shoofly blocks from every 1″ Thangles strip so I’m using four Thangles strips per pink fabric and making 10 blocks from each pink fabric. That means I’ll need 13 different pinks. Don’t worry, my stash can handle that.

The next information is important…this is where I deviate just a bit from Thangles official instruction. The package and demo video will tell you to cut your strips of fabric the same size as the Thangles strip. Do not do this. Instead, cut your strips 1/4″ larger than the instructions tell you. For example, I am using Thangles for 1″ finished half square triangles. The sheet of Thangles paper is 1.5″ wide and the instructions tell me to cut my fabric strips 1.5″ wide. Instead, I cut my strips 1.75″ wide. Why, you ask? This is that all important Fudge Factor so you aren’t worrying about getting the paper exactly straight and/or your fabrics slipping around. You can see the difference in fabric strip size and Thangles size in the photo above. Think of this hint/step as squaring up 10 hst all at the same time. You’re welcome.

This is the next important hint…but let me start with a question. Do you let your fabric scissors touch paper? I didn’t think so. It follows logically that you would not want your fabric rotary cutter touching paper either. I have dedicated a separate rotary cutter for cutting up the sewn Thangles strips (and other paper, as needed). I even went to the store to buy a label maker just so that I could put the word PAPER on my designated rotary cutter. Actually, the label maker was to put my husband’s name and phone number on his glasses case since he has a habit of losing them pretty much every time he leaves the house. But…it has other uses. When my fabric rotary cutter blade gets dull I demote it to the paper rotary cutter and put the new blade to work on fabric. For those like me who just feel like they are throwing away money when you change a blade (until you cut fabric with a new blade and ask yourself “why did I wait so long?”) this is a way to feel better because you’re still using that old blade.

Close up of Thangles paper and cut fabric pieces

The demo video will show you how to layer your two fabrics with dark facing up on bottom and light facing down on top, and pin the paper to your two layered strips away from the dotted sewing lines. The demo says to sew in a “normal” stitch but doesn’t say what normal is. I use 2 or 2.5 on my Bernina.

pressed half square triangles

The reason for layering with the dark on the bottom is so that when you press, you’ll always be pressing toward the dark piece. So smart!

Then comes the fun part. Seriously, there is something rather satisfying about sitting in front of the television tearing papers off your half square triangles. You grasp the seam allowance, putting your thumbnail right next to the stitched seam and use your other hand to rip off the triangle of paper. Then pull the bit left in the seam allowance off. I had to hold the camera with my other hand which is why (1) the photo is blurry and (2) it doesn’t show the second part of these instructions. I bet the demo video does show it.

quilt blocks in progress

So, that’s basically it for using Thangles to easily make scrappy half square triangle units. One note about striped fabric…you’re going to have pieces pointing in different directions. I am certain there is a time consuming way to fix that but I like scrappy and folky quilts and it really doesn’t bother me. So, I let the stripes point where they will. If your local quilt shop doesn’t stock Thangles I have listed two sources below. I haven’t bought from either (yet) but will soon because my LQS has stopped carrying them.

Where can I buy Thangles?
Missouri Star Quilt Company (best price)

Similar Posts


  1. I love double pinks to begin with & your little “Pink Sprinkles” is right up my alley. I can’t wait to see it all done! Thanks for sharing these with us!

  2. I bought a pack of Thangles months ago and have yet to make a project with them…u til now! Awesome post, I love pink so much I have to force myself to not use it too much lol.

    Now….where did I put those Thangles??! My craft room looks like a Goblin had a party at left me the mess. Time to clean and make this block!

  3. What a beautiful post today! I love pink and just received my pink KitchenAid this week..hey, I can make some cupcakes with pink frosting! You have inspired me greatly. 🙂 I also ran off to buy some Thangles, which I have never used, but if I can get the beautiful results that you do, I’m all for it! I NEED to make one of these pink and white quilts.

  4. Dellightful pink shoofly blocks. I have been drawn to pink fabrics of late.

    Are those stands the cupcakes are sitting on, made for cupcakes or do they have another use? Makes for a nice cupcake displa regardless.

  5. The cupcakes are so pretty, and the perfect compliment to those sweet pink Shoo Fly blocks.
    I enjoyed the description of your process (with sprinkles of humor). I have only used Thangles once many years ago. I think I am too cheap to buy them in the size and amount I need for each project. 🙂

  6. What a yummy post! Your cupcakes look so professional as well as delicious and those pink and white blocks are adorable. I have used Thangles and Triangles On A Roll – both sure give accurate results.

Comments are closed.