Thursday, February 16, 2012

Half Square Triangles - The Mass Production

Playing on the wall last year

I've always been a fan of scrappy quilts and who can't use half square triangles? (HST)

I' think I've used about every technique out there.  One of my all time favorite techniques is Triangulations software.

The sheets can be cut into smaller sheets - depends on how many you want.  Their use is invaluable - but I like scrappy quilts.  Sometimes a few hundred of the same is a treat - for other projects, well....variety is essential.

Read on if you want to see how I get scrappy HST's in one sheet...

Select at least 2 medium to combo stripe/busy prints - the more variety the better.  Seam them together for a 9"x 12" sheet.

Repeat for lights.

In this example I have four fabrics that will be seamed and placed right sides together.

Print off the appropriate sheet for the desired finished size HST.  In this example I will end up with 40 one inch finished Half Square Triangles (HST).

Trim a little if you want, not all sizes print at the full 8.5" x 11"
The corner is folded back - fabrics right sides together with the paper printed side up.  The seams do not match - one is horizontal the other is vertical.  We will end up with some pieced HST's - just like some antiques!

I pin at the four corners to keep it in place before stitching.

Following the fabulous sewing instructions that come with the CD, there are also reminders printed on the paper.

Here's the back - after you sew.

Trim the excess off the sides - these are marked with solid lines.
Cut on the balance of the horizontal and vertical  lines.
Here you have a choice to cut the diagonals too - I prefer to cut these later.

The HST's are all sewn!!  Oh, Happy Day....

The squares are cut - gather them up and toss them in a basket or bowl and find a nice place to put your feet up and relax.

I sit with a little basket or bowl and trim the corners.  I find it relaxing - you don't need fabulous light if its a TV night....  It's not unusual for me to do several sheets in an evening.  You can bag these and have them on hand for projects.

Doing like things at once (common production practice) fold the corners flaps up and tear them off.

Because you followed the sewing instructions provided by the manufacturer these come right off.

Again, I do all of this step at once.
The pile to the right is just an example - all corners would be notched at this point.

Give the tips a pull and the center piece pops right up.  Pull it off.

Because the seams are already sewn - I cut on the diagonal at this point.  The center line is gone but you have the two rows of stitching to line up and cut between.  If this is uncomfortable you can cut the diagonal lines as well with the rotary in the previous step.
Personal preference - try both and decide for yourself.

Variety from one 'sheet' of mixed fabric HST's

Look at the variety - because I used a combo of fabrics with lots of pattern - I have the scrappy look I love!  In a 1" finished square I have a couple with four fabrics all neat as a pin.

I have used this to do 100's of red and white HST's with two fabrics, not the scrappy four.

Finger press at this point - final press in the block.  Again, personal preference.

Each little HST is exactly the same size as long as I sewed on the line and cut on the line!

Finish three sheets in 6 fabric 'mixes' in an evening/afternoon and you have 240
1" HST's...all scrappy.

The software gives you almost infinite size options.

I'm heading off to the sewing room to put together a few HST's - how about you?
Have a great weekend!


  1. Interesting! I may need to look into this. HST's are my failure in life. I've totally lost my quilting technique. lol!

  2. Now that's a useful idea. I don't have that software but it sounds interesting.
    I suppose you will be fabric shopping tomorrow Enjoy the day. I know I would.

  3. That grid is identical to Triangles on a Roll. Do you remember those?....Used to be sold in quilts shops in a format like a roll of wax paper. Different sizes...I still have drawers full. The paper is thinner than computer paper. The company is now under different ownership but the product can be ordered on-line if one doesn't want to print your own. I've used that system as well as Thangles. All make the job easy!

  4. Gee, you all make this sound so easy, maybe I'll actually try piecing again one of these days!

  5. Wow Dawn, that is so cool.
    I have used Thangles before in a mystery class I taught.
    Must have to look into these though.
    You are very clever !

  6. Great tip and thanks to you I own that software as well.
    I love hst , I make them and save them in a box for later use all the time!
    Great little quilt, mine I sent to someone as a gift last year that was having a tough time...

  7. I've used Triangles on a roll so I'm familiar with the concept but I always wondered how to use my smaller scraps to make HSTs! This has been kind of a duh moment. Thanks, I'll try this next time! I, too, like scrappy quilts.

  8. You just made my day!! Especially the seam idea! Wow....whoda thunk? I have always been reluctant to use my "bigger" pieces of fabric because I don't want lots of the same squares. What a great idea. Thank you-thank you!
    I use a different paper product but have always cut my squares all the way down into triangles before removing the paper. I found a way to stop putting stress on the seam when removing the paper - but I like your way much better and I like how the little notches are printed on the paper for the corners so you can cut those out ahead of time. (I hope I am making sense!) Gonna have to try the Triangulations - hope they work with a Mac??
    Excellent tutorial!
    Oh what fun those tiny half square triangles are! Don't you feel sometimes that we are back in grade school and our teachers gave us a box of 96 new crayons? I know I do! :)
    Love your little scrappy quilt too, by the way. :)

  9. This is a great tutorial. It looks like a really useful product.

    Are you going to leave word verification on?

  10. I learned to do hst with the thangles...I like your mixed fabric technique!

  11. What a great idea. Thanks for sharing

  12. I'll have to look into that, it certainly would make the whole process of whole lot easier!!!

  13. I'm not familiar with this software, but WOW, the possibilities! Thanks for the demo.

  14. Wow, amazing technique. I'll have to give it a try!

  15. a great tutorial and i LOVE that some of them come out pieced just like antique blocks~!!!~

    what will you be doing with your little quilt when it's all finished?


  16. ONE inch finished? Oh my. Quite sure I've never made anything that small in an HST. Thanks for the great lesson! Very clever you for using a busy print to get a variety all at the same time.

  17. Oh sew interesting! Thanks for showing how you make such tiny HSTs and with so much variety. Very nifty indeed.

  18. I use the Quilt-Pro version of this same type of software (but always also give Triangulations a shout-out when I mention it on my blog). It is a godsend when you have projects that require tons of HSTs. I did the CW Chronicles BOM and used the grid sheets for just about every single block!

    I'd never thought of piecing fabric for the layering of the grid sheets. I am going to have to try that--another great way to use up fabric scraps and get scrappy block units for projects. Thanks for the tip!


Thanks for your comments!