Setting Your Quilts up for Success

Jul 30, 2022 10:00:00 AM / by Erica Bottger

As quilters, we tend to toss around terms that others may not understand – sometimes, even other quilters! You know, terms like "stash," "fat quarter," "WOF (width of fabric)," "UFO’s (un-finished objects)," and "PIGS (projects in grocery sacks)." Right up there near the top of the confusing terms list must be the term "setting."



What Is "Setting" in Quilting?

According to AccuQuilt's Glossary of Quilting Terms & Acronyms, "setting" refers to "[t]he arrangement of completed Blocks forming the Quilt Top. Blocks can be set side by side, or on point, like diamonds, with or without Sashing. Arrangements can also vary with certain asymmetrical block patterns."


A good way to look at it is thinking of setting blocks on point, finishing on point quilts with setting corners and setting triangles, and using setting squares. Just like most curious terms, this mystery is easy to solve. Quilters use the term "setting" to refer to placement, so setting blocks on point means placing them on an angle in the quilt.


Setting quilt blocks on point can completely change the look of a quilt block and add new and exciting secondary designs to a project. This is typically accomplished by sewing together quilt blocks in diagonal, or angled, rows vs. horizontal or straight across rows. A fantastic example of setting blocks on point is the GO! Stars in the Crown Quilt.



GO! Qube 8" Stars in the Crown Throw Quilt Free Pattern



Take a look at the basic block in the quilt, a Sawtooth Star variation that can easily be made with any GO! Mix & Match Qube.



Sawtooth Star Variation Block



Rotating that block to be on point gives it the illusion of being an Ohio Star block!



GO! Setting Triangles-8" Finished Die Block Example




Great, right? But now, how exactly do you finish the edges of your quilt? Looks like big triangles, and many a quilter has cut large squares in half from corner to corner to create these end pieces only to discover that they have cut the bias, or stretchy, part of the fabric on the outside of their quilt, causing it to warp or go “wonky” (yes, another highly technical quilt-y term).




GO! Stars in the Crown Throw Quilt Design




Determined quilters could use a complicated equation to calculate how to cut setting triangles to go along the edges of an on point quilt that put the tight, lengthwise grain on the outside edge, but this process is difficult at best and can cause quilters to walk away from the design possibilities of setting their blocks on point. Luckily, AccuQuilt has the perfect solution!




GO! Setting Triangles Ultimate Die Bundle




Setting Triangles

GO! Setting Triangle Dies come in seven different finished sizes to match the seven sizes of GO! Qubes – 4”, 5”, 6” 8”, 9” 10” and 12”. By laying the fabric out on the die board with the lengthwise grain running parallel to the lengthwise blades on the die, it’s simple to set blocks on point.




GO! Setting Triangles-8" Finished Die Board with Cut Fabric Pieces




These dies also include perfectly sized setting corner triangles to finish off the four corners of your quilt.


To see a GO! Setting Triangles Die in action, take a look at this video tutorial that Pam and I made:







The GO! Setting Triangle Dies will work with any matching size block/die. The GO! Hunter Star Block on Board Die finishes to 12”, so you would set it on point using the GO! Setting Triangles-12” Finished Die. The GO! Weathervane Die finishes to 8”, so you would use the GO! Setting Triangles-8” Finished Die, and so on.



Setting Squares

So, what happens if you want to alternate your pieced blocks with solid blocks? Those solid blocks are referred to as setting squares. Setting squares need to be the same size at the blocks used in the project.


Setting squares can be used

  • To add another level of design to any project
  • To add larger scale prints to a quilt, giving them a way to really shine
  • With a solid or low volume fabric to give the eye a place to rest between complex blocks
  • As background to add applique to a project
  • To provide open space for complex custom quilting
  • To add to the overall design.




Examples of Using Setting Squares

A great example of using setting squares is in the GO! Gingham Heart Throw Quilt. 



GO! Gingham Heart Throw Quilt Free Pattern




In this quilt, the GO! Big Square 9 1/2” (9” Finished) Die is used to create the on point gingham background, highlighted by a heart that’s cleverly created using the GO! Grandmother’s Fan-9” Finished Die. The sides and corners are finished off using the GO! Setting Triangles-9” Finished Die.


Download the Free GO! Gingham Heart Throw Quilt Pattern Here


Another example is the GO! Freshen Up Table Runner.



GO! Freshen Up Table Runner Free Pattern




This pattern combines the GO! Qube Mix & Match 10” Block and Companion Set-Corners with the GO! Setting Triangles-5” Finished Die because the units on point in the center of the runner are 5” finished units from the 10” Qube. Tricky, right?


Download the Free GO! Freshen Up Table Runner Pattern Here



On a different note, the GO! Daisy Chain Wall Hanging uses setting squares to create a design element without being on point.



GO! Daisy Chain Wall Hanging Free Pattern



The daisy blocks are created using the GO! Courtyard-10” Finished Die, alternated with 10” finished squares made with the GO! Square-5 1/2” (5” Finished) Die.


Download the Free GO! Daisy Chain Wall Hanging Pattern Here



Along a similar vein, in the GO! Stars in Space Throw Quilt, the setting squares add to the negative space in the quilt.



GO! Stars in Space Throw Quilt Free Pattern



This not only gives the eye a place to rest, but adding to the overall design by allowing the GO! Starry Path-9” Finished blocks to float on point across the quilt.


Download the Free GO! Stars in Space Throw Quilt Pattern Here



A striking use of setting squares can be found in the GO! Stacked Circles Throw Quilt.



GO! Stacked Circles Throw Quilt Free Pattern



The GO! Square 7 1/2” (7” Finished) Die is partnered with the GO! Drunkard’s Path Block on Board Dies in the 7” and 3 1/2” finished sizes to create the stacked, 3D effect with ease.


Download the Free GO! Stacked Circles Throw Quilt Pattern Here




How Will You Set Up Your Next Project?

All the patterns shown above are free downloads available at I hope you’ll expand your quilting horizons by exploring the possibilities created when you set blocks on point and use setting squares in your projects! Be sure to share them on social media using the hashtag #AccuQuiltBuilt and tag us @AccuQuilt so that we can all be inspired, too!

Topics: Patterns, Tutorials, Tips & Tricks

Erica Bottger

Written by Erica Bottger