As the needle bends

A world view thru my hobbit hole door

De-mystifying John Flynn’s Diagonal Pieced Backing Directions

There’s been some discussion on StashBusters about the directions on John Flynn’s site for piecing a quilt backing diagonally. I must admit that I was totally baffled when I first read the directions, but since we were leaving the following week for Maine, and I had used one of two coordinating fabrics for the border of a quilt I was putting together as a hostess gift for my husband’s Aunt Carolyn, I really wanted to use the other for the backing. Forget the fact that the quilt top was 65" long, and I only had 3 yards of the fabric, which had been in my stash for a couple of years so there was NO hope of finding more.


After I found John Flynn’s directions, I piddled with my calculator, until I could come up with the same figures he came up with in his example. Then I plugged in my own numbers. It took all my self-control to make myself cut into that fabric, but I took the plunge and was glad I did.


The math part throws some people off. The formula to figure out how much longer than the desired length of your backing the starting yardage must be looks confusing but take a calculator, and work with the example he gives, until you get the same figures he did. Remember you have to work the "math problem" INSIDE the ( ) before you can multiply it x the desired length of your backing, then you have to divide that resulting number by the results you get in the formula below the line (two times the width of your fabric minus the desired width of your backing). This will give you the number you have to add to the desired length of your backing to have a piece of yardage long enough that you will be able to slide the triangles past each other far enough to get the piece wide enough. Does that make any sense?

If it’s the concept – I couldn’t grasp it until I tried it. Do as someone else suggested and take a piece of paper – cut it from corner
to corner diagonally. Leave the two resulting triangles laying next to each other. Slide the one with the point heading down along the long angled side of the other – until you have ’dog-ears’ hanging off both one top corner and the opposite bottom corner. Can you see how the "piece" is now wider? Keep sliding until the piece is as "wide" as you need plus 1 inch, which you will use up sewing the pieces back together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

The best way to handle how you "package" your two triangles to sew them together is something I can’t help with too much. It has been over two years since I did this – but if I recall correctly, I just pinned and pinned and pinned, then sewed the diagonal seam, and then (only after I pressed and made sure it REALLY was going to fit) trimmed off the dog-ears that John shows in his diagram (linked above) as destined for the scrap bag.


Can you see the diagonal seam that doesn’t follow the same angle as the other diagonals? Hint: it starts about 1/3 of the way down the left side and ends about 1/8th of the way up the right side. If your print is nice and busy, you will have no trouble at all hiding this extra seam!

I hope this helps demystify John’s directions. I take none of the credit for creating this method, and am immensely grateful to John Flynn for helping me out of a jam with his directions, when I thought my backing JUST wouldn’t quite stretch far enough – but it did – and I’ve enjoyed trimming the scraps of it in my scrap bag, and think of Aunt Carolyn’s quilt every time!

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March 25, 2007 Posted by | Life and Ramblings, Quilting and Hobbies (wishing I had 'spare' time) | 8 Comments

“The Bricks” method of job selection for new hires

A friend sent me the following in an email. After a great deal of deliberation (15 or 20 whole seconds), I decided that this was a great idea, and am forwarding to our Human Resources/Recruiting department:

1. Put 400 bricks in a closed room.
2. Put your new hires in the room and close the door.
3. Leave them alone and come back after 6 hours.
4. Then analyze the situation:

a. If they are counting the bricks, put them in the accounting department.

b. If they are recounting them, put them in auditing.

c. If they have messed up the whole place with the bricks, put them in engineering.

d. If they are arranging the bricks in some strange order, put them in planning.

e. If they are throwing the bricks at each other, put them in operations.

f. If they are sleeping, put them in security.

g. If they have broken the bricks into pieces, put them in information technology.

h. If they are sitting idle, put them in human resources.

i. If they say they have tried different combinations, they are looking for
more, yet not a brick has been moved, put them in sales.

j. If they have already left for the day, put them in marketing.

k. If they are staring out of the window, put them in strategic planning.

l. If they are talking to each other, and not a single brick has been moved,
congratulate them and put them in top management .

Finally, if they have surrounded themselves with bricks in such a way that
they can neither be seen nor heard from, put them in Congress.

Seems perfectly logical, doesn’t it?

March 23, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll | Leave a comment

Computer Vacation

My  computer had been doing strange things, so my loving husband decided that it was time to upgrade to XP operating system.  Evidently, my computer either doesn’t like this operating system, or has a bad CD Rom drive because it’s been saying “approximately 33 minutes left until setup is complete” since sometime last night.

I know that very likely, his highest priority will be to get my computer working, but sometimes these things just take time, as he also sometimes decides that he might as well tweak the hardware while the computer is down. So, I’ll see ya’ll when my computer is healed. Don’t forget to come back and look!

March 11, 2007 Posted by | Life and Ramblings | Leave a comment

Not a quilt yet but NOT a UFO!

My New Year’s Eve Mystery quilt is still not a quilt. However, as of Sunday, March 4, 2007, it’s definitely NOT a UFO – it’s a quilt top! Now I have to decide how to piece the fabrics for the back. I likely have enough fabric to do a simple two fabric back but think it’d be much more interesting to do a pieced back – maybe a center panel of 10" squares of the chicken fabrics that I have left from the front, along with a leftover 9 patch block leftover from the front, and the strip of chicken border, then "log cabin" it with wide strips until the back is large enough. But that will have to wait for next weekend, after we go retrieve our hot-tub. SIGH… A quilter’s work is never done!

Here’s a picture of the completed top:


and a closer look at the border treatment:


As The Needle Bends

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March 4, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments