Friday, February 25, 2011

HSTs the super easy way

I've converted to doing half-square triangles (HSTs) a new way.  I saw this technique for the first time on Christie's blog Describe Happy.  I tried it on my Central Park pillow, and I will never do them the old way again.  I haven't seen this technique before and wanted to share a few pictures.  I found this actually produces more accurate HSTs than the typical method of marking down the diagonal and sewing on each side.  I still had to square mine for the pillow because they were so small, but I think I could get away with not squaring them on larger blocks.  The whole process goes much faster.  There is no marking, and you get twice as many HSTs for each pair of squares.

Start with two squares the same size.

Match right sides together and sew a 1/4" seam all the way around.  Pivot with needle down at the corners.

Now slice them up, cutting on the diagonals.


This results in four almost-perfect HSTs.

For my pillow I used 3" squares which resulted in four 1.75 unfinished HST.  A 5" charm square will make four 3" unfinished HST.

Edit: The method does create all bias edges.  I didn't find that problematic, and actually found it helpful with the small squares.  The extra give helped me line up my edges.  If you are concerned with the bias, it would be best to use the traditional method.

Try it out.  You'll never make them the old way again.  Thanks Christie for showing me a better way to make HSTs!

  • Squares sizes and unfinished HST sizes are listed in this post.


Edit:  While I was very excited about this method the first time I tried it and with a couple other projects, I've returned to the old way of doing HST.  I've just realized I'm not a fan of those bias edges.  There are multiple ways to create HSTs.  Choose the one that works best for you.

25 comments:

  1. OMG you are right! I am going to give this a try...I hate HST!!! BTW do you know the start to finish ratio?

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  2. You're right, that is the best way. I learned that a few weeks ago from the Missouri Quilt Company website. They have the best tutorials!

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  3. Holy moly, that's phenomenal! I will definitely be doing this in the future!!!

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  4. I've seen this before and I wouldn't recommend it fro a beginner because you end up with all of those unstable bias edges. But for everyone else who knows what they are doing it's a great way to do it!

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  5. I LOVE this! I have to try it... like today!

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  6. I'm totally trying that today! Thanks for the tip!

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  7. wow! I am planning a hst project in the near future, and will be giving this method a try for sure!

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  8. *smacking myself on the forehead* Brilliant!

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  9. Thanks for that little hint. I hadn't seen it done that way before.

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  10. Possibly no trimming??? Sign me up!

    I think the accuracy comes from the fact that you're never sewing on the bias.

    Going to have to try this for sure. Thanks!!

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  11. Hey, I like that!! Thanks for sharing.. One solution for the bias, the squares could be cut on the bias, and cut your bias tape the same time.. and wha-la! no bias problems! :D

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  12. You just blew my mind! :) I'll definitely be giving this a try.

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  13. yup! this is my favorite method for making half square triangles. And the suggestion in the comments to make the squares on the bias originally is an interesting one. I've always found this method helpful for precuts, but if you were cutting your own squares, that may solve the bias edge problem!

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  14. ::Gasp!:: seriously I just made an audible gasp as I scrolled through this! WOW Thanks for the tip - I may be trying HST's soon!

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  15. I am so glad you like it, I have to admit I didn't create it, but like Karenkay said I saw it somewhere on a quilt company's website in a video. It's converted me for sure!!

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  16. Very clever....I love clever methods.

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  17. Please give your husband a big juicy kiss for coming up with the math so we don't have to figure it out. Not that we couldn't if we were willing to sacrifice some of our precious quilting time. Thanks for the great tutorial.

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  18. Isn't it amazing when you see something done and you're like WHOA, I can't believe I never thought to do it like that! I just watched a quick youtube video about sewing a "tube" to make squares and was amazed at how simple it is. How on earth did anything get done before the ingeniousness of videos on the internet???

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  19. Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilting Company demonstrates this on youtube and also in the Quilting Quickly I course on Craftsy.com Just remember, whatever size squares you start with, they are going to be cut into four smaller squares. So if you would normally be using two charm pack squares to make 5 inch HST's then you need to use a layer cake (10 inch) for this method and you'll end up with four 5 inch HST's.

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  20. What I would like to see added to this post is the "quilt math". You know: if I want a 2-inch or 2.5-inch or 3-inch finished HST, how large do I have to cut the squares?

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  21. loved it too when I discovered it, but when I learned of 8 HST at a time with no bais edges on Quilt-in-a-Day by Eleanor Burns...well, it takes the cake.

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  22. I have found that if I use spray-on sizing and iron before cutting, that the bias edges stabilize much more when stitching... :)

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  23. Nice tutorial. We'll be linking up from My Heritage Fabrics. THanks for sharing.

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  24. Came across you post while surfing the net. If you don't want bias edges, cut you starting square bias, meaning point up. Follow you tutorial, cut and voilá...hst with straight edges!

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