This blogpost started as a tuitorial for the last block the more I tried to explain how I made it, the more it became apparent that the focus was more on the technique. Here is how to make a boatload of half square triangles (HST) in one setting.
This technique is found in my first quilting book I ever bought - a veritable quilt bible, Quilts! Quilts! Quilts!. They had an awesome way to do a huge amount of blocks in one setting. Also, because these blocks are done all at once with a whole cloth, you don't have the inevitable stretching of these individual blocks because they are all sewn on the bias. This is the original technique that eventually lead someone to make the half square triangle paper sold by Fat Quarter Shop. If I was doing hundreds of these squares like a future "Tree of Life" block, I would simply purchase that paper (and have), but with five little candy canes and something like 21 blocks, I'll use this technique instead.
1. First determine your final block measurement and add 1/2" measurement to that.
For example, if you needed your square to finish at 1 1/2, you would add the 1/2 measurement to get a final measurement of 2"(1/2 brings us to 2").
|The double line at the top was a mistake.|
This will be your grid size. On the back of your light fabric mark this grid. Your grid can be two or three across by whatever height you determine. Once the fabric is marked, place your two fabrics that will make up your half square triangles together, right sides facing with the marked grided fabric facing up.
2. Once the grid is marked, mark through your grid corner to corner across all three squares where indicated. Some grids that are in the corner will only have one mark, some will have it going through all three diagonal squares as shown. Then mark in the other direction. You are creating big squares set on point. Hopefully this picture will make it more clear:
3. Pin the fabrics together making sure to avoid the diagonal lines. Use LOTS of pins!
4. Sew 1/4" on either side of the diagonal lines but DO NOT sew near or on the straight lines in either direction.
5. Sew on one side of the diagonal line pivoting when we come to a corner and sew down the other side. Do this all the way around. This is why we make it 1/2" larger, it will be taken up by the 1/4" each line.
6. When completely sewn, it should look like this:
7. Cut all the outside borders and then cut on all the straight lines, then the diagonals.
8. Separate each half square triangle and press it. Measure the final size of the HST and if it needs any trimming do so, as you will have "dogears" to trim. You now have a ton of finished HST to use in whatever block you are building.