Time for another tutorial! Follow along these step by step instructions to guide you the next time you plan on making these ever so popular pieced squares.
I know many of you have made Half Square Triangles (or Right Square Triangles, Square Triangles, as well as a few other terms) in the past or you look to make some in the future. My hope is that this tutorial will guide you through the process many quilters might take for granted, but it's really worth the extra effort. I mean REALLY worth it.
About 98% of the time to make Half Square Triangles (from now on I will refer to them as HSTs), you start with two squares of the same size usually contrasting in color. You will line up these squares matching all edges with right sides together (I offset mine in the diagram to show you there are two "fabrics" involved in these steps).
*Little side note: for the math behind HSTs, usually whatever size your block will finish at, you will cut the squares to be used making the HSTs 7/8" bigger. In all of my patterns and all quilts I make I always round up so my cut squares are 1" bigger than my finished HST. For example, in the pictures below my HSTs will finish at 2". Most patterns will tell you to cut the squares then 2 7/8", I however cut mine 3". The extra 1/8" doesn't sound like much, but we all sew distracted or tired or we're still learning at times and we're all human, mistakes happen. A little wiggle room makes all the difference some days, in the end I would rather have too much than not enough any day.
*Some people have a hard time visualizing the correct size on their ruler. If you have a hard time trying to get the visual of the correct block size, put some tape on your ruler as guide lines. It's removable and won't damage your rulers for future use.
I hope you learned something from this tutorial and will pass it along to others. I've been making quilts now for over 8 years and no one told me about this step until about a year and a half ago. I was wondering why even though my piecing was accurate (or close to it!) why things were still "off" at times. Think about this - you've seen them, you love them - Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts, Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co., Jo Morton - yes THE Jo Morton. The quilts they design are gorgeous and a bunch of them have eight gazillion and one HSTs in them. If every seam they had in some of those quilts were off by even say an 1/8", it'll add up with each seam you do. Keep adding and adding and adding and see how this one little step will save you later on? It does make a difference.
I promise to you if you're like me - I first heard about it and thought, no way, not doing it. Then I did, but the first time I hated trimming all of those pieces...until I put my trimmed pieces together. It changed my quilting life forever. And it will to yours to if you try it.
Keep in touch as I'm sure more tutorials will be in the near future. It's a really chilly weekend here in Ohio, it snowed for the first time yesterday (nothing stuck on the ground yet so I'm happy) but it's still cold and rainy so I'm thinking a nice pot of homemade soup will be in the near future. I have an awesome quick and easy recipe for broccoli cheese soup that is sure to please and I should be making that soon. I will post a tutorial on that too so come back soon!
If you have any questions on the tutorial above or anything else I've mentioned, e-mail me at rubybluequilts at gmail dot com. I'd love to hear what you think of this and what's going on in your neck of the woods!