Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Super Fast (8 at a time) Half Square Triangle Tutorial and Quilt

While looking for an easy way to make lots of tiny half square triangles for The Farmers Wife Sampler Quilt, I learned a super fast and easy way to make them at pretty much any size without cutting out a single triangle or sewing on the bias. Woo hoo! I first saw it here, and it has been an eye-opener for me.
I love all things clever, so this tickled my fancy. I showed this technique to my class last Thursday as a workshop day and it was heaps of fun. One thing to note: because we are making the whole quilt out of these triangles, it doesn't really matter what size they are because they are all the same. If you want to make a certain size, you will need to trim them down slightly to fit. Trimming may take a little time, but they will be perfectly accurate.
Formula for any size half square triangle:
(desired UNFINISHED size x 2) plus 1 = size of starting square
Now, let's go through it and you can have go.
Super Fast Half Square Triangles
You will need:
  • 8 x 10" squares in a light/background colour
  • 4 x 10" square in a medium colour
  • 4 x 10" squares in a dark colour
  • Pencil, ruler, rotary cutter, scissors and sewing machine
These will make a finished quilt approximately 36" wide. Perfect as a table topper, baby quilt, lap quilt or basket liner.

On the back of the background squares draw a pencil line across each diagonal and through the middle horizontally and vertically. Make sure you allow for the width of the pencil tip when you are lining up the ruler. All lines should cross in the centre.

Place each medium and dark square face up on the board. Lay the background squares face down on the other squares. Pin together. I went a bit overboard with the pins here. Ideally four pins that go over the horizontal and vertical lines would be best. You are not sewing on those lines and a pin in the way will prevent mistakes. Double check to make sure you have right sides facing.
Align the quarter inch foot on your machine with the pencil line that runs diagonally. You want to sew a quarter inch away from the pencil line. On each square sew on both sides of both diagonal lines.
 It will look like this when all of the sewing is complete. It only takes a minute and you will get 8 squares from this.

Use your rotary cutter and ruler to cut along each pencil line.

And there you have your finished half square triangles.

Press them open with seams towards the darker fabric. Trim off the "dogs ears" (those little triangles sticking out the ends of the seam), and you're done.


The Quilt
Half square triangle units can be made into hundreds of different patterns. These are a sampler of what you can do with just three fabrics.



I am fairly certain there will be some finished tops at Thursday's class, so I will add some photos of them, too.
Thanks for stopping by! And if you haven't tried this technique, give it a go!


Here are some of the tops made by the ladies. Edna had hers completely finished and donated it to our Community Quilts. It was made from the same print in two shades of pink.

Monika's looks stunning in a blue and white print, and I love the borders.

My mum, Margaret, used Australia print fabric. She will be repeating this until it is twice as long and it will go to the Aussie Hero quilts (quilts for Defence Force personnel).

Mel's is lovely in grey and red in muted tones with an alphabet print, and another lovely red border.

 Good work ladies!!

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