Monday, 27 March 2017

How to Make Half Square Triangles (HSTs) :: A Finish-A-Long Tutorial

Hello and welcome if you have popped over as part of the 2017 Finish-A-Long tutorials.  I am up first and was a little bit daunted ...... but having worked a lot with half square triangles (HSTs) recently it made sense to write up my findings.  

I hope you enjoy the various methods of making these cute little blocks.  I love the size of 2 1/2" squares, they are kind of my go-to size for squares, so the following tutorial is based on that size.


This method can be used if you want 2 HSTs in the same colourway

The general formula for this method is to add 7/8" to the finished size you require, therefore to obtain a 2" finished, ie 2 1/2" unfinished, you need to cut 2 7/8" squares

However, I find I always have problems with how wonky my HST turns out and it's nearly always undersized

To rectify that and achieve 2 1/2" unfinished squares cut a 3" square from your two fabrics

Draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, on one of the squares

Place fabrics right sides together as accurately as possible

Sew a line of stitching 1/4" away from the line on either side

I tend to move my needle position over one click so that it is a scant 1/4" seam

Place ruler on pencil diagonal line and cut

Below you will see the difference that extra 1/4" makes and also I pressed some seams open and some to the side:

Top left - this is using 3" squares and seam is pressed to the side

Top right - this is using 3" squares and seam is pressed open

Bottom left - this is using 2 7/8" squares and seam is pressed to the side

Bottom right - this is using 2 7/8" squares and seam is pressed open

Both the examples using the 3" squares result in enough fabric to trim to 2 1/2" and have good true squares, with the join in the middle

Both of the bottom examples are undersized and so I would need to do again (I know other people get good results with this method so please share your tips if you do!)

And trimmed!


This method can be used if you want 4 HSTs in the same colourway

To achieve 2 1/2" unfinished squares cut a 4" square from your two fabrics

Place the squares right sides together, as accurately as possible, and sew a 1/4" seam around the outside

Cut from corner to corner one way, do not move them, and then cut corner to corner the other way

You end up with 4 HSTs measuring 2 1/2"

I press my seams open to minimise any movement of the fabric when pressing and hopefully achieve true squares

Trim the dog ears and you are ready to go!

If you like to press your seams to one side I would cut the initial squares to 4 1/4" to allow a little wriggle room and then trim to 2 1/2"


This method can be used if you want 8 HSTs in the same colourway

To achieve 2 1/2" unfinished squares cut a 6" square from your two fabrics

Draw two diagonal lines, corner to corner on one of the squares

Place fabrics right sides together as accurately as possible

Sew a line of stitching a 1/4" away from the line on either side

Repeat for the other line

I tend to move my needle position over one click so that it is a scant 1/4" seam

I also tend to shorten my stitch length to 2 because the stitching is going to be cut (this is something new to me and I don't always remember as you may be able to see one stitch line is in my regular 2.5!) - I find this helps with keep the seams together when they are being handled and joined

Place ruler through the centre cross and align top and bottom squarely - cut

Rotate the ruler by 90 degrees and repeat

Place ruler on a diagonal pencil line and cut

Rotate the ruler onto the other diagonal pencil line and cut

You end up with 8 HSTs measuring slightly more than 2 1/2"

Trim HSTs to 2 1/2"

I use a smaller cutting ruler, this one is 4 1/2" square, and line up the 45 degree line with the join line in the fabric

Trim two sides and then rotate the block and trim the other two sides to 2 1/2"

I do own a 2 1/2" cutting square which would mean I would not have to pick up the ruler, rotate the fabric and replace the ruler, but then I am cutting at funny angles and, alas, I do not yet own a rotating cutting mat!

I also know Bloc-Loc rulers make this job easy but to use them you need to press your seams to the side

And there you have 8 HSTs ready for your block or project

Now what do you do if you don't necessarily want to double (quadruple or octuple - is that even a word?) up on your HSTs?  You sew on the bias.  Please don't look away it really is not scary!

1 AT A TIME HSTs - in different colourways!

Cut 3" squares from your fabric

Cut each square in half along the diagonal, from corner to corner

These cut edges are now on the bias, which is a much more unstable grain of the fabric - it will pull out of shape quite easily if manhandled

However, handled carefully it really is easy to sew - no matter what you have heard before!!

Place fabric in required colour pattern

Sew along the long bias edge with a 1/4" seam, taking care not to pull the fabric whilst sewing

You end up with HSTs that can be trimmed to the required 2 1/2"

The beauty of this method is you can see your design ahead of time and it is especially useful if you design and sew quilts ad hoc using a design wall

Phew this has turned into an epic post!!  I have some more I want to share with you but think that will have to be for another day.  It is actually my favourite way of making HSTs and flying geese units - be sure to pop back if you are interested!

The linky party for all your gorgeous finishes is now open - head over here to link up. Whilst there is a link page on each Host's blog they are all connected so just link up each project once and it doesn't matter where you do it.  Also if you haven't had time to blog about a finish you can always link up an Instagram post.  Looking forward to seeing all the finishes this quarter. x

Sunday, 26 March 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long :: Link Up .....

It might be hard to believe but we have made it to the end of the first quarter of the 2017 FAL and it's time to link up your Q1 finishes! In addition to completing all those UFOs on your lists, we hope you have taken the first 3 months of 2017 to get to know all of our new hosts! The 2017 FAL has a community of bloggers across the world jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
      Social Media Director
  Before you link up, let's give a huge thank you to our fantastic sponsors:

For the 2017 FAL, we continue tutorial week. Here is the schedule so you can visit them all:
The 2017 Q1 link for your finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs - you only need to link on one blog for your finish to appear on each blog. Link-up "rules":
  • Add one link for each finish. If you want to link a round up post of all your finishes, use that link to enter one of your finishes and then link the rest of your finishes separately. Please, only one link per finish, as your link is an entry into the randomly drawn prize draws.
  • Please ensure that the photo or blog post you link up contains a link or reference back to your original list so that we can verify your entry (make sure it is from the appropriate quarter).
  • Please become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others and comment. We all need encouragement so let's applaud each other. The 2017 FAL Facebook page is here and follow us on Instagram @finishlong and tag your photos #2017FALQ1yourname (substitute your name), this makes it easier for us to match your finishes with your lists.
  • Our hosts will also link their finishes to share in the community, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes.
The Q1 Finishes link will stay open from now until 01 April 2017 - link up your finishes early and if you have a last minute one, add that one later so you don't miss out. The prizes will be awarded as soon as we can verify all the entries and do the drawings. We will post the winners on each hosts' blog.

And don't forget to start making your Q2 lists as the Q2 list link opens on 02 April.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Modern quilting ....

Last September I attended the inaugural meeting of the Oxfordshire Modern Quilt Guild.  Whilst it's not particularly local to me, it was a chance to meet and sew with other people who shared a love of modern quilting.  I had been thinking about setting up a group in the Midlands for a while so when I saw a post on IG I jumped at the chance.

Best in Show
Pieced and quilted by Katherine Jones
Chigwell, Tasmania, Australia
Tasmanian Modern Quilt Guild
Last Saturday we had our March meeting and of course the topic of QuiltCon came up.  I had dearly hoped to attend this year and we had even tentatively planned a family holiday around it but then the girls decided to go to school ..... oh well there's always next year and the year after that and the year after that .....

Group and Bee: 1st Place
Direction Optional

Pieced by Stephanie Ruyle, Leanne Chahley, Karen Foster, Hillary Goodwin, Marci Debetaz, MR Charbonneau, Felicity Ronaghan, Debbie Jeske, Anne Sullivan, Kari Vojtechovsky
Quilted by Christine Perrigo Denver, CO, United States
Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild
I have really enjoyed reading some accounts of QuiltCon and thought I would share the links here for you if you care to read them.  Also please let me have your links if you have read a good account.

Kitty at Night Quilter

Jessica at Quilt Habit

Small Quilts: 2nd Place
Pieced and quilted by Paige Alexander

Easley, South Carolina, United States
Greenville Modern Quilt Guild
Whilst, of course, the event is all about the quilts the overriding feeling I get for the event is the people.  We are such a diverse group of people spread far and wide geographically so to be able to meet and mingle with so many like minded people must be amazing.  We have lots of Quilt Shows in the UK, see here for a list for this year, but nothing to rival QuiltCon in terms of the modern aspect.  Excitement is starting to build about Festival of Quilts in August, entry forms are out, workshop and lecture booking will soon open.  For the first time last year they had a Modern Category which was great.  I am hoping more people will enter this category this year and make it a permanent fixture. I wrote a review about FoQ last year which you can read here.

The other Quilt Show with a dedicated Modern Category is the British Quilt & Stitch Village.  I visited for the first time last and have decided to enter a modern quilt this year.  It is based on the block I designed for the Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop last year.

The top is done but has yet to get quilted - I am hoping to get this on the frame this weekend with a view to quilting it next week.  In other MQG news I am off on retreat!  At FoQ last year I met a lady who had pattern tested for me and she is involved with the Jersey MQG.  She invited me to their retreat and that is where I am headed next week.  I am very excited to be going and looking forward a wonderful few days of sewing and quilting amongst others.

The pictures in this post come from the MQG website where there is a full list of all the winners.  Of course, winning is not everything and quilt shows would not happen with people entering their quilts.  Jess, from Elven Garden Quilts, recently wrote on the subject, On quilts shows and ribbons, wihch is really worth a read.

Hope you all have a great weekend! 


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