Bonus Triangles – Keep or Toss?

Posted by on March 7, 2016 in block lotto community | 7 comments

BonusTrianglesIf you have made some violet blocks, you likely have a pile of triangles that look something like this. These are the 88 bonus triangles you’ll have if you make 11 blocks for Old MacDonald’s Mystery Sampler.

Do you sew them up into half-square triangles and use them or save them or … toss them because they are too small?

When you make 6 -inch blocks, if you sew up the bonus triangles, you’ll have half-square triangles (HST) units that will finish at approximately 3/4 inch … unless you need to square them up to a uniform size, which I did a couple years ago. I used the tiny 1 inch pinwheels as cornerstones in this scrappy pinwheel quilt.


Pinwheel HSTeria - June's Lovely Finish


The larger pinwheels in this small quilt (25 1/2 by 31-inches) were made from the bonus triangles from another project and the string pieced borders were made from the leftovers of a novelty fabric swap.  Aside from the white background used for sashing and setting triangles, this quilt was entirely made from the bits and pieces that many quilters rightfully toss.

Tiny PinwheelsIt is pretty logical to toss something so small, unless those tiny triangles charm you into making them into something.  The fabrics in my blocks for the Block Lotto and for my scrappy graduated sampler seemed compatible, so I sewed them up into pinwheels–each of the pinwheel blocks is 1 1/2 inches (finished size). I think I must has tossed the bonus triangles from my first block and one of these is really muddled and not at all pinwheel-like so I likely will toss it, but I have an idea for a small quilt featuring the remaining 17 teeny tiny pinwheels.

Are you a keeper or a tosser?  If you keep the bonus triangles, how small is too small?  My limit used to be larger (at least 1 inch finished size) … until I made the Pinwheel HSTeria quilt. Now I see the value in blocks as small as these.


  1. I’ve got my triangles together with the blocks, to send them to the winner!

  2. I have a big quilt that started with a few bonus triangles from a Block Lotto block. They were a funny size and I only had about 20 of them. In hindsight, I should have used them as inspiration but started fresh with a more ‘normal’ size. I do keep bigger triangles (tossed in the scrap basket), but these would be too small and I would probably toss them. I admire your commitment to using them and they do indeed add a little sparkle to a quilt where a plain square might have been used.

    • I was thinking about your comment as I found myself making nearly 100 small (1 inch) HSTs to add to a quilt that started with bonus blocks. I couldn’t force myself to make them as small as my tiny 3/4 inch HSTs … at one inch, I have a die for cutting the triangles which makes it a little less painful.

  3. I’m a tosser if the pieces are on the small side like these are!

  4. If there’s enough fabric in a waste triangle after you make 1/4 inch seam I keep it. If not I put them in the mulch pile.

    I don’t make tiny HSTs but I have two waste triangle projects going – one an ocean waves (I call it confetti waves) configuration and the other butterflies. I just sew the waste triangles to background squares.

  5. I often add a second seam before cutting and save those extra triangle squares, but these seemed too small when I tried it.

  6. I did the second seam as Kathleen mentioned thought I may try to make some thing out of them seemed a shame to waste them. if I get a project done I will post it. i have a collection of these of varied sizes. so who knows what they might be used in..

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