Tessellations with the 4 1/2 inch strip die

From Wikipedia: “A tessellation or tiling of the plane is a collection of plane figures that fills the plane with no overlaps and no gaps. One may also speak of tessellations of the parts of the plane or of other surfaces. Generalizations to higher dimensions are also possible. …”

I am so excited. My 4 1/2″ strip die came yesterday. I just let it sit for a few hours as I was working on other things. Then I opened it, looked at it, walked around it awhile, and then a wonderful idea just popped into my head. It has a blade right down the middle which means that I can make my favorite pinwheel tessellation with it. It was late last night when I started, but the ideas are spinning in my head.

So far, this is what I have done:

I cut a 4 1/2 inch strip, and then cut it again into squares. I made stacks of squares all with the right side up.

Then I marked the die so that there is a parallel line exactly one inch on either side of the center blade. I made this line a different color than the blade lines.

Then I laid stacks of 6 squares on the die with the upper right corner touching the line on the right and the lower left corner touching the line on the left. You can reverse this; but if so, the blades of your pinwheel will rotate counterclockwise.

Then I cut them.

I stitched and pressed. This gives me a wonky rectangle.

The wonky rectangle goes on the 3 1/2″ square die using the registration lines to get them fairly even across the blades. It doesn’t matter if they’re a little off.

Then I have four squares which make a finished 6 inch block.

7 Replies to “Tessellations with the 4 1/2 inch strip die”

  1. Okay, I need to know about all those other lines on the 3 1/2″ die. Is there a great tutorial or video somewhere that I can look at to understand that and maximize the possibilities for using my dies?

    1. Hi Gene,
      There is a brief video on youtube that I did and there is also a link on the Accuquilt site video list. However, the video doesn’t tell the whole story. In the beginning (when there weren’t many strip dies), I drew parallel lines halfway between the blades for cutting strips and then repositioning to cut to a smaller width. Now that there are dies for all those strip widths, the parallel lines are not needed. The angled lines are for 45 and 60 degree diamonds–cut strips and then reposition them and cut into diamonds. The 90 degree lines are used to position sets of long sewn strips for cutting blocks like four-patch and nine-patch or even trip around the world style quilts. It’s pretty incredible – after sewing long strips, you can use a strip cutter and in two passes with the GO, you can cut a whole lap quilt of four patch blocks. It’s great to keep stacks of them beside the machine for leaders and enders. I’m sure the possibilities are endless, I just haven’t thought of them yet. I was so excited about the tessellations. Am still working on the Carolina blue one – other things have distracted me from finishing my piecing this week.

    1. Hi Alicia, The marker I used for the light colored line is a silver Sharpie. The blades are marked with a black Sharpie, so I used the silver to remind me which is the blade and which is just a placement marker.

  2. Hi, Your videos re great. Could tou please email me back the instructions for the 45 and 60 degree angles on your 2 1/2 ” cutter. I noticed that you had also marked out squares. Are these 2 1/2 ” as well? Looking forward to your reply.

    1. Hi Linda,
      I don’t have any written instructions for the 45 and 60 degree angles. There are also other videos besides mine that talk about cutting diamonds using the strip cutters. You might check the video page at AccuQuilt.com for more videos.

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