Welcome to our half-square triangle study session! The core question today is: how well do you know your sewing machine? We tend to see the big pieces – the needle, thread path, and bobbin. Did you know about all the guidance we can get from the bed of the machine? These hints that will help you get to know your sewing machine and lead to a faster process for piecing half-square triangles.
Multiple Choice – How to Sew HST
There are many ways to sew half-square triangle units. My personal preference is the Easy Angle ruler since I can cut from strips with no marking. However, I also use the two-at-a-time method if I need lots of HSTs from the same fabrics. You can review some HST construction tips in this post.
With either the Easy Angle ruler or two-at-a-time method, the key to stitching is maintaining your quarter inch seam.
If you have been quilting for any length of time, it is likely you know the importance of the quarter inch seam. Sewing machine manufacturers realized the quilter’s dependence on this tiny measurement. They have given us some tools to improve accuracy. The best investment you can make is a quarter inch foot for your sewing machine.
My Janome sewing machine quarter inch foot has a metal guide on the right side. I make sure my fabric is touching this guide as I stitch the entire seam. This is a simple process when using triangles cut from the Easy Angle ruler.
When I am sewing two-at-a-time HST, I need to be more careful since I am sewing down the middle of a square.
This is when many people mark their fabric. I prefer to fold mine. It may only save a few seconds, but I am not wasting any time hunting for a pencil or worrying about harmful effects of ink on my fabric. The guide bar travels along the diagonal of the fabric square and a fold line will be just as visible as any type of marking.
Learn to read your machine
Did you know there are rulers on your sewing machine? Take a look at the throat plate and the bobbin cover. Turns out these pieces are full of useful information we can use to maintain our quarter inch seams!
Even if you are using a quarter inch foot, it is important to know where the quarter- and half-inch marking are located on the throat plate. This will help verify that your fabric pieces are lined up correctly.
I use the markings on the bobbin cover as a piecing guide as well. If I am sewing from point to point on a square, such as on a flying geese block, then I position the bottom corner of my fabric over the line on the bobbin case that is aligned with my needle. This way everything stays straight and I know I am piecing accurately.
Do you have an extension table on your sewing machine? This is another helpful addition to the basic machine set-up. My plastic extension table included an adhesive ruler. Once the ruler was in place, I made a note of which marking lined up with my needle.
Now when I am sewing, I know that fabric corners must pass directly over that noted marking in order to be sewn straight and true.
Marking is not necessary if you get to know your sewing machine
Improving accuracy when sewing along the diagonal of a square will help us enjoy the quilt-making process, especially for those patterns that call for a bunch of half-square triangles. Purchase a quarter-inch foot to maintain a consistent seam allowance. Learn the markings on your machine’s bobbin case and extension table so that you can quilt with confidence.
Quilting tutorials on the Back to School Blog Hop
Please follow the rest of the 2019 Back To School Blog Hop! Note that these industry peeps are all over the country and world, so be patient if you don’t see their post first thing in *your* morning!
Week 1 of the Back to School Blog Hop
Day 1 – September 1 – Sam Hunter: Sewing Long Seams Without Stretching – huntersdesignstudio.com
September 2 – Day 2 – Susan Arnold – Joining Binding the Easy Way – quiltfabrication.com
Day 3 – September 3 – Angie Wilson – Fussy cutting tips and techniques – www.gnomeangel.com
September 4 – Day 4 – Andi Stanfield – No-Mark HST: Let your machine be your guide – truebluequilts.com/no-markings-know-your-sewing-machine <<—- you are here!
Day 5 – September 5 – Bobbie Gentili – Say YES to Y-seams – geekybobbin.com
September 6 – Day 6 – Mel Beach – 5 Reasons to Say Woo Hoo! to School Glue – pieceloveandhappiness.blogspot.com
Day 7 – September 7 – Laura Piland – 7 Ways to Use a Laser on Your Sewing Machine – www.sliceofpiquilts.com
Week 2 of the Back to School Blog Hop
Day 8 – September 8 – Suzy Webster – How to solve loops in free motion quilting – www.websterquilt.com
September 9 – Day 9 – Tara Miller – Accurate Stitch-and-Flip Corners – quiltdistrict.com
Day 10 – September 10 – Latifah Saafir – Accurate Seams Using Masking Tape! – latifahsaafirstudios.com
September 11 – Day 11 – Sarah Ruiz – The Magic of Glue Basting – saroy.net
Day 12 – September 12 – Jen Shaffer – Ways to stop your ruler from slipping while cutting – patternsbyjen.blogspot.com
September 13 – Day 13 – Cheryl Sleboda – Basics of ruching (a vintage fabric manipulation technique) – muppin.com
Day 14 – September 14 – Raylee Bielenberg – Choosing quilting designs for your quilt – www.sunflowerstitcheries.com
Week 3 of the Back to School Blog Hop
Day 15 – September 15 – Jen Strauser – Accurate and Attractive Machine binding – dizzyquilter.com
September 16 – Day 16 – Jane Davidson – Matching points for all types of intersections – quiltjane.com
Day 17 – September 17 – Teresa Coates – Starch and starch alternatives – teresacoates.com
September 18 – Day 18 – Jen Frost – Benefits of spray basting – faithandfabricdesign.com
Day 19 – September 19 – Sandra Starley – Getting started with Hand Quilting – utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com
September 20 – Day 20 – Karen Platt – Drunkard’s Path Made Easy – karenplatt.co.uk/blog/
Day 21 – September 21 – Kris Driessen – All Kinds of Square (in a Square) – scrapdash.com
Week 4 of the Back to School Blog Hop
Day 22 – September 22 – Sarah Goer – Planned Improv Piecing – sarahgoerquilts.com
September 23 – Day 23 – Kathy Bruckman – Organizing kits for on-the-go sewing – kathyskwiltsandmore.blogspot.com
Day 24 – September 24 – Cheryl Daines Brown – The Secret to Flat Quilt Tops: Borders – quilterchic.com
September 25 – Day 25 – Cherry Guidry – Pre-assembling fusible applique – cherryblossomsquilting.com
Day 26 – September 26 – Laura Chaney – Getting started with English Paper Piecing – prairiesewnstudios.com
September 27 – Day 27 – Ebony Love – Cutting Bias Strips from a Rectangle – lovebugstudios.com
Day 28 – September 28 – Tammy Silvers – Working with heavier weight threads in your machine – tamarinis.typepad.com
September 29 – Day 29 – Kathy Nutley – Create a perfect facing or frame with 90 degree angles – quiltingsbykathy.com
Day 30 – September 3 – Joanne Harris – Using Leaders and Enders – quiltsbyjoanne.blogspot.com