18 Feb

Prairie Points

I had several requests for a Prairie Point tutorial after finishing my “Beat the Blues” quilt with these triangles of folded fabric.
I was going to make some diagrams, but McCalls quilting has already done it very nicely here; About.com has instructions here (be sure to click “next” to see the variations and finishing tips); and of course, Simply Quilts features them here. My quilt has nested prairie points spaced out to enhance their pointy triangle-ness.

Prairie Points on Beat the blues

All of the diagrams and tutorials above (as well as my quilt) use individual squares of fabric so that one can make very scrappy prairie points. If you want to take it even further, sew two rectangles of contrasting fabric together to make your starting square, then fold as for “overlapping prairie points.” The contrasting fabric will peek ever so subtle through the vertical slits in the prairie points! On the other side of the coin, there are also a few speedier, if not as colorful methods. The quickest method is the one presented here by Rowena.

Back in 1996, I clipped this tutorial out of an advertisement for Quilter’s Newsletter, or Quiltmaker, or one of their publications. It shows the method Rowena demo-ed, plus a two color variation.

Easy Prairie Points -- one color

Step 1 says to cut a strip of fabric using this formula: desired height of prairie point + .25 inch x 4. For example, if you want your points to finish 2 inches high, cut your strip 9 inches wide ((2 + .25) x 4 = 9).

The formula is a little different if you want two colored points: cut two strips, each the finished height of the prairie points x 2 + .75 inch; then sew the two strips together lengthwise wrong sides together using a .25 inch seam allowance and press the allowance to one side. I think the rest of the instructions (steps 2 through 5) can be figured out easily enough by following the pictures.

Easy Prairie Points -- two colors

Also helpful is their formula to calculate how many prairie points you need. My formula was to make a lot and then place them around the quilt until it looked right — very scientific! If you want to be more exact the formula for nicely nested or overlapped points is: length of quilt ÷ finished base of prairie point x 2. For example, if your quilt is 90 inches square and your prairie points will be 3 inches on the base (taking away the seam allowance that will be hidden in the seam) you’ll need 60 prairie points for each side (90 ÷ 3 = 30; 30 x 2 = 60). Obviously, you’d calculate sides separately if your quilt is rectangular.

You needn’t use your prairie points just for finishing the edge of you quilts. Here’s points used within the border on the adorable baby quilt my MIL made for Zavi when he was born.

Points on Baby Quilt Border

And here’s points used within the border AND as edging on the bottom of a very “liberated” wall hanging I made ten years ago:

Points in border and as edge finish

Happy Prairie Pointing!!

7 thoughts on “Prairie Points

  1. ah, thanks so much! ^-^

    it’s the first time I saw those triangles (didn’t even know they are called prairie points) INSIDE a quilt – it looks very lovely!

  2. I learned more about prairie points from this one blog than from
    all my quilting and studying so far.
    Thank you!

  3. Did your MIL make the inner quilt top, sew the prarie points to it, THEN sew the cream-colored border to it? How did she sew the two together (the center with the prarie points to the border)?

  4. thank you for looking all that up for us! i have bookmarked and printed – i am going to try it out for a gift for my mom…but i am not really a quilter you know! 🙂

Comments are closed.