Thursday, July 21, 2016

Summer Solstice Quilt-A-Long - Half Square Triangles

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Summer Solstice Quilt-A-Long.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win $100.00 Gift Certificate and Fat Quarter Bundle grand prizes sponsored by The Intrepid Thread and Fat Quarter Shop ) you can find a list of the post links here :)  Here is the schedule

July 21st - Half Square Triangles (Today)
August 4th - Drunkards Path
August 18th - Building Blocks
September 1st - Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky
September 15th- Summer Solstice Parade and Grand Prize Winners

Now, first off for this week, we need to pick a winner for the Flying Geese Assignment.   And great job to everyone on their gaggle of geese!!!  It is so much fun to be quilting-a-long with you all!!!

The Flying Geese assignment winner who gets a  Volume II Jelly Roll by Sweetwater for Moda from Lou Lou's Fabric Shop is . . .
#19 - Marlene!!! - Congrats :)


So I know lots of you have been anxiously awaiting this assignment . . .  so let's get right to it :)  If you are just finding this QAL, it's never to late to join in the fun :)


Half Square triangles are fun and fast and probably the most versatile building block in all of the piecing units you can make.  (At least in my opinion :)

Start by gathering all your squares for the HST's, print fabrics and background fabrics.    These are the squares you labeled with HST and should measure one of the following sizes.  (They can easily be confused with the DP squares, so be sure to double check ;)
For a 20" Block - 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" squares
For a 24" Block - 4" x 4"
For a 28" Block - 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"
For a 32" Block - 5" x 5"
For a 40" Block - 6" x 6"

So just to help clarify . . .  if you are doing the 2 x 2 the 3 x 3, or the 4 x 4 layout, you should have 12 squares of each of your print fabrics.   So the 2 x 2 layout, 12 squares each of 4 different fabrics for a total of 48 print squares and 48 background squares.   For the 3 x 3 layout, 12 squares each of 9 different fabrics for a total of 108 print squares and 108 background squares.  And for a 4 x 4 layout, you should have 12 squares each of 16 different fabrics for a total of 192 print squares and 192 background squares.  

And if you are doing the 1 x 1 layout You should have 8 squares of your "Corner" print fabric and 4 squares of your "Surround" print fabric.  You will have a total of 12 squares in 2 different prints and 12 background squares as well.

So has everyone found their squares??  Excellent, let's make some Half Square Triangles!!!
Start by using a ruler to draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of all of your print fabrics (or if your background fabric is darker than your print fabrics, draw the line on those instead ;)  I like to draw my lines with a Frixion Pen as the lines will disappear with heat.   And depending on your machine set-up . . . you might be able to skip drawing the lines all together.

If you have a table around your machine, or if your machine comes with a large "table" you can extend your machines 1/4" mark with tape and then use that as a guide instead of having to draw a line.  There is a great You Tube Video from Fat Quarter Shop on how to mark your machines 1/4" line, I just don't bother to layer the tape as I am just using it for a reference, so just one layer.     Or, I recently discovered the Clearly Perfect Angle, which has both the 1/4" Mark and the Center Mark (for stitch and flip) marked.  I have quickly become a huge fan of this as it eliminates a whole ton of drawing lines!!!

So how do you use your extended  1/4" line guide.  Easy!!  Simply line your 1/4" foot up with the corner of your square, then align the opposite corner with your 1/4" guide.  Start stitching and just keep the corner of the square aligned with that 1/4" extended line while stitching :)  Easy as that!!!  And the nice thing is, we will be trimming these HST's so if you get a bit off, no worries ;)  But I will mention, if you are doing the larger squares, you are most likely going to have to draw your lines as you table will most likely not be long enough to see the alignment.  (Although the Clearly Perfect Angle uses those angled green lines to help with that ;)

Okay . . . With that little tidbit that can hopefully save some of you some time . . .Let's get back to our Half Square Triangles ;)  

Take a print square and a background square and align them with rights sides together.  Pin both sides adjacent to that drawn line, be sure to place them far enough out to leave room for your presser foot to stitch on by.  Depending on the size of the square will determine how many pins you want to use. (if you use any at all, if you are feeling confident and your squares aren't to large, you can stitch these without pinning :)   Stitch a seam 1/4" from EITHER side of the drawn line (the black lines represent your stitching lines :)

And just like our Flying Geese, the easiest way to do this is to chain stitch in assembly line fashion ;)  So just like in the Flying Geese, Start by stitching a 1/4" seam on the right hand side of the drawn line (or along the center aligned with your 1/4" guide if you don't have a line) . I chain stitched all 108 units at once making a very long snake, but feel free to break it up into blocks if  you prefer ;)  

  Then clip the threads between the squares, stack them up, and you are ready for more stitching.  Now stitch the 1/4" seam on the left hand side of your units.  Once they are all stitched,  clip the remaining threads between the squares  ;)  And if you notice my little ipod under the table, that's because I love to listen to a good audio book while doing all of this stitching :)

Now, with the stitching done, it's time to do some more cutting.   Align your ruler along the drawn center line (or from corner to corner)   Cut along the edge of your ruler, creating two triangles that each have a 1/4" seam along the long side.

Now Pressing.  (and this is where I like to watch a good movie :)     Press your HST units towards the darker fabric, so in my case that would be the print fabrics ;)  I recently found that I prefer to press them from the front rather than the back, but do  what is comfortable for you :)

And now the fun part, trimming.  You will be trimming your blocks to 1/2" smaller than their original size.  So that means trim to the following sizes :

20" Block - 3" squares
24" Block - 3 1/2" squares
28" Block - 4" squares
32" Block - 4 1/2" squares
40" Block - 5 1/2" squares

 I am making 28" blocks so this trimming example will have raw 4 1/2" HST's that are being trimmed to 4" square.  So lets start ;)  Begin by aligning the 45 degree line on your square ruler with the seam line on your half square triangle.  Make sure that the raw edges of the half square triangle are over the 4" line's on your ruler.  Trim the 2 sides along the edge of the ruler.  There won't be a whole lot to trim.

Now spin your half square triangle unit 180 degrees.  Once again, align the 45 degree line on your ruler with the seam line on your half square triangle.  Align the raw edges of the half square triangle under the ruler on the 4" lines on your ruler.  Trim the 2 sides along the edge of the ruler.

And you have perfectly square Half Square Triangles.  They are just so pretty!  And I know, it seems like a lot of work to just trim off a little, but having perfect HST's allows you to have awesome pretty points and really makes the piecing of the block easier ;)   I promise, it will totally be worth it!

Now, when I trim, I like to do some massive assembly trimming.  (again, this saves some time ;)   So I lay out as many units as I can fit on my large cutting mat at once and I trim the first two sides on all of my HST's.  (and instead of my regular ruler, I use my favorite  Bloc Loc HST ruler  for trimming, it has a groove where the seam lines up that "locks" the ruler in place, love it!!!! )

Then, I rotate them all of the HST Units 180 degrees, and I don't worry about all of the previous trims, they can be picked up later.  Now I trim the remaining 2 sides on all  the HST's.  I just move up and down the rows, quick as a bunny :)    Now just shake them off, and stack them up :)

And just like that, you have a whole ton of perfectly trimmed Half Square Triangle units ;)   You will have twice as many Half Square Triangle Units as you had squares to start ie 24 Half Square Triangle Units per block in your quilt :)  

And that is how it is done!!!  A pile of 24 HST's for each block in your project.   Now, I want to throw in a quick note here.  I know just how much trimming this is, a ton!!!  Especially if you are doing the 3 x 3  or 4 x 4 layouts.  So if your piles for linking look a little like this  (aka not trimmed) that is totally okay.  You can continue to trim over the coming weeks spreading the job out a bit.  Don't go making your hand unusable for 5 days because you trimmed all at once.  And please link up your untrimmed blocks if you cant finish your trimming.   Linked untrimmed piles are just as perfect as linked trimmed piles.  

Oh, and in case you don't have a square ruler you can see the end of this tutorial on how to square up your HST's using a rectangle ruler.  It takes a second longer but still works :)

And that's it!!    And now you can enter to win the weekly prize :)

The Weekly Prize is sponsored by The Scarlet Thread Quilt Co.   and a huge thanks goes out to them for their support of the Summer Solstice Quilt-A-Long.

This weeks prize is for a super adorable Moxi Charm Pack by Studio M for Moda.  Don't you just love charm packs, they are so much fun and these prints are just so happy!!!

So what do you have to do for a chance to win the charm pack?  Simple . . . Just link up your stacks of HST's :)  You can link to a blog post or a flickr picture, or whatever.  Just make sure to link up by the morning of Thursday August 4th when I will be announcing a winner in the next post :)

If you don't get your HST's done (trimmed or untrimmed)  by August 4th you can still link it up :) (just not in time for the prize :) The linky will remain open until the end of the Quilt-A-Long.  So if your out of town, or just had a busy week, no worries!!!  Just link up when you can :)

And Don't forget to add your beautiful  to the Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group and to post it on social media with using #summersolsticequiltalong.    I am so excited to see all of your stacks of Half Square Triangles ;)

So let's get sewing and trimming some Half Square Triangles ;)   Oh, and if you have questions, don't hesitate to email me at  Have a Happy Quilting Day!!

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  1. I'm a little behind...I had to find matching/complimentary background fabric because I didn't have enough! I've cut my backgrounds and marked lines for HST and Cut and marked for FG. Just gotta finish cutting DP/HST prints!

  2. I'm a little behind too and need to get my rear in gear. Other deadlines got in the way. The instructions are great Melissa!

  3. First of all thank you for this QAL. The pattern is georgeous! I have a question regarding the DP. I will not have enough time later so I am planning a little ahead. We have 8 pieces ob fabric for the DP. But I can see 12 blocks. Will we be cutting crust and pie from four of the pattern fabric pieces? Thank you and best regards, Fridolin

    1. HI Fridolin. So, as you have the 12 squares, I can safely assume you are doing the 1x1 layout. You should have 8 "Surround" Fabric squares and 4 "Center" fabric squares. You will need the Pie from the Surround fabric squares, the Crust from the Center Squares and the Crust and Pie from 4 Background squares and then the Crust from the remaining 4 background squares. With that said, the instructions will be to cut the crust and pie from all of the squares and use the extra pieces for practice. Also, these are a modified Drunkards Path so if you want me to send you the template I can, I just need an email as you are a no-reply blogger, or you can email me at ;)

  4. Thank you very much for your super quick reply! I would be very thankful for the template, as I still cannot imagine how to cut crust AND pie from all the pieces. And I have to say it again: This is such a pretty pattern!


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)