Friday, March 1, 2013

Half Square Triangle Tutorial: Magic Triangles, Part 1


Half square triangles are a staple in almost any quilter's repertoire. They are simple, playful, and versatile. Rotating them around, to the right, left, or upside-down can change the look of your quilt completely. The posibilities are endless!

You might already have a favorite way to make HSTs. I'm offering you a different technique that you just might like a lot. I really hope you give it a try. A quilter can never have too many good techniques in their back pocket.

Sharon Schamber developed this fabulous technique, and fondly refers to it at Magic Triangles.

With this technique, you'll be able to:

  • Make a bunch of HSTs at once (2 FQs = about 40 2 1/2" HSTs!)
  • Keep that pesky bias stabilized, which reduces distortion
  • Be more precise
  • Customize the size of your HSTs, down to the 1/4 of an inch
  • Add a decorative flange or stripe, which can give a fun look to your HSTs (in part 3) 
  • And there are NO dog ears to trim
Well, let's get going... In this tutorial, I'll be showing you how to make 2 1/2", unfinished, HSTs. You can easily change the size of HSTs, with this technique.

What you'll need: (yep, I like lists, just a little bit)
  • Heavy Spray Starch (Usually, I use Faultless)
  • Rotary Cutter and Mat
  • Ruler (12" x 6")
  • Scissors
  • 2 Fat Quarters (contrasting colors)
Step 1:
Starch and press both of your FQs to get them nice and flat. Starch gives you control by stabilzing the grains and bias, which makes cutting and piecing much easier. Gotta love starch!


Tip: Spray the starch on one side of the fabric, then flip it over to press. This will keep the starch from turning white and flaking. It will also keep starch from building up on your iron.

 I like to starch and press both sides of the fabric once or twice.




Step 2:
Let's get ready to cut! Lay your FQs, wrong sides together (trust me). Line up your selvages on a verticle straight line. This will help keep your biases a consistent 45 degrees, while cutting. The unfinished HSTs will be 2 1/2", which is the same measurement as the strips we'll be cutting.


 Step 3:
If you can see your 45* line on your mat, this will help line up your ruler to cut the strips.
Cutting at the 2 1/2" will allow for our seam allowances.


Line up your ruler on the 45* angle, and cut at just about 3" here, just to give yourself a little cushion with the first strip's measurement. The rest of the strips will be cut at exactly 2 1/2".

And cut!



Step 4:
Gently pull both layers of fabric away from the strip which was just cut. This will create a small gap between the cut and uncut units. Be sure to pull from the right side, or selvage side, of the fabric.

Can you see that little gap I'm pointing out in the pic below? That gap is going to help you line up your ruler for the next cut. Without it, it's really hard to see the previous cutting line to make your next measurement.



Step 5:
Line up the 45* angle, right at the 2 1/2" mark on your ruler and cut your next strip.

Pull the uncut unit away from strip you just cut, to give yourself that little gap.

Go ahead and cut the rest of your 2 1/2" strips.


Step 6:
Once you've cut all of your strips, take every other strip and flip it over. You can see in the pic below that I've already flipped every other one over.


Step 7:
Next, we're going to stack our strips. We have two layers of strips, and we're only going to stack the top layer first. Take the first strip, in the corner, and put it right on top of the one next to it. Then take those two, and put it on the third strip, then the fourth, and so on until you have the entire top layer stacked together.

Repeat this for the bottom layer. You'll end up with two separate stacks of strips.


 Here are my two separate stacks of pretty little strips.


This is the end of part one of this tutorial. Part 2 is coming soon!!!

If you just can't wait, and want to jump ahead, here's my mom's free video for this part of the technique. The full length video is also available online.


Thank you for coming by! I'll see you soon for part 2 of Magic Triangles.

~Cristy

3 comments:

  1. Thank you so much you are as awesome as your Mom xxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh yes! I am such a Faultless Heavy Starch addict. I keep at least two cans on hand at all times ;-)

    ReplyDelete