[ Quilting Techniques ]

Half Square Triangles

Half-square triangles, called HSTs, are a common unit in many quilt blocks.  I have been creating lots of HSTs as I make the flying geese units in the Allietare quilt (pattern by Bonnie Hunter). I keep baskets of HSTs next to my sewing machine and I stitch them together between other blocks.  Someday I will be able to create a bed size quilt from these fabric bits that often get thrown in the trash!

leftover half square triangles

As quilters, we generate alot of scraps.  These half square triangles were trimmed from Flying Geese units.  I also collect half square triangles when I make binding. There are many blocks made from half square triangles, so don’t throw these little beauties away!

How to use leftover Half Square Triangles

I sew these “bonus triangles,” to use Bonnie’s term, in two different ways.

A seam along the hypotenuse/long edge will create HSTs, shown on the left below.

two ways of sewing half square triangles

If you sew along a short edge, as pictured on the right above, you can make quarter-square triangles, which I put together in Broken Dishes units.

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Storage can become a problem.  Project boxes, baskets and shoe boxes keep the different types of HST units organized. Her you can see how I keep the basic half square triangles separate from my finished Broken Dishes units.

sorting half square triangles

Someday I will make a scrappy quilt with these units. I really like the way Bonnie has used HSTs in Clue 5 of Allietare, so I am planning a scrappy version of this too.

half square triangle units
In fact, Jeni Baker of In Color Order has written a whole book devoted to HSTs.  Vicki Welsh of Field Trips in Fiber compiled many HST layouts as she was planning a project a while back.  They are extremely versatile and you can create so many different looks!

Pinwheels are another great HST block.  Read more about making them here.

What is your favorite HST block?

Happy Quilting from Andi

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Longarm Quilter, Pattern Designer, Teacher



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