There’s a whole lot of dotted Flying Geese around here lately . . .
There’s a whole lot of dotted Flying Geese around here lately . . .
I promised you way back when that I would post about how to make Half Square Triangles using a different method, making four at a time. The HST continues to be the most fun block to design with, because of the endless combinations you can make with it. In my first tutorial, I showed you how to make one at a time. This second method, making four at a time, is super easy and very fast. The only drawback to this method is that you will end up with edges that are bias edges – which just means they can stretch a little bit. So, when pressing these blocks, be extra careful not to iron them and stretch them out – just press them.
The advantage to this method is that it is super fast – you just place two squares of fabric, right sides together, sew a quarter inch seam around the entire outside edge, cut an “X” corner to corner and you have four HSTs. All you need to do is press them open and trim off the little dog ear corners. You don’t even need to draw any lines with a pencil on your fabric with this method.
In order to figure out how big to cut the two squares of fabric, the calculation is very easy. Do not be scared of the following math! Figure out how big you want your HSTs – and that means the size of your “unfinished” HSTs, before you sew them together into your quilt – and divide by .64, which is easy to do on your calculator. For instance, if I wanted finished 3″ blocks in my quilt, I would need 3.5″ unfinished HSTs. So I just take 3.5 and divide by .64 and I get 5.468, which I will then round up to 5.5″ squares of fabric.
3.5 ÷ .64 = 5.46875 so I will round this up to 5.5
I will cut 5.5″ squares of fabric to make 3.5″ “unfinished” HSTs,
which will end up being 3″ finished HSTs in my quilt
When using this calculation, keep in mind that this is not an oversized HST that you will trim. If you like to make your HSTs oversized and then trim them, down, just calculate a little bigger and then you can do that. To trim them down to a perfect HST, this technique is my favorite for trimming.
In my next tutorial on the HST, I will show you Method III – how to make eight at a time!
I hope this tutorial is helpful!
(Above: I flipped the square over to the dark side so you can see the stitching)
tip: the cutting is easier to do on a small little cutting mat, if you have one, because you can make the first cut, spin the whole mat around and make the second cut.
I had such fun using these 1930’s vintage reproduction fabrics for this quilt. They remind me of when I was young and my great grandmother died and I was given a large tin of her fabrics that she had cut out for quilting. These fabrics remind me so much of those.
I designed this quilt using Half Square Triangles, placed so that they looked like diamonds. Each HST had a vintage style fabric on one side and a low volume fabric on the other. I’ve already received quite a few inquiries about the low volume prints, so I’m going to try to list as many as I can in this post with lots of links.
The finished block size (after sewing into the quilt) was 4″. I cut 5.5″ strips and then cut these into 5.5″ squares. From these, I made my HSTs and then trimmed them down to a working size of 4.5″. There were 180 total HSTs.
Most of the low volume prints I used in this quilt were from the AWESOME Robert Kaufman collection called “Hints in Prints”. I purchased these fabrics from Pink Castle Fabrics in Ann Arbor. Finding this kind of tiny low volume print isn’t easy and this collection is so great. Pink Castle has fat quarters of this collection and yardage. These tiny prints were the perfect complement to the vintage style fabrics.
The 1930’s style fabrics were some of my old favorites from Marcus Fabrics’ Aunt Grace line: this cute blue, this awesome pink , this classic blue and this sweet old fashioned yellow. I also used some cute fabrics from Penny Rose’s Milk, Sugar, Flower line that I love so much. Then I used this sweet pink fabric from Windham’s Storybook Vacation line.
The backing is a special fabric from Japanese designer Atsuko Matsuyama for Yuwa. It’s called “Language of Flowers” and it’s from the 1930’s collection – how appropriate. It features lots of flower information and old fashioned classic recipes. It looked like it fit this quilt just right. I purchased this fabric also from Pink Castle Fabrics .
The batting I used was Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting, my usual batting choice.
When I decided on how to quilt this project, I wanted to emphasize the diamonds, so I quilted on the diagonal, outlining the diamond shapes and then I did a vertical quilting down the rows and also stitched in the ditch. I used Aurifil Natural White #2021, 50 wt. thread for the top and Light Sand #2000 in the bottom, to match the backing fabric. The Natural White thread is a really nice soft white, not as stark white as the regular Aurifil White. I just thought it was perfect for the top. I quilted at a 3.5 stitch length.
The binding is one of the fabrics I used in this quilt – Toy Chest Floral Field in Red – and when I was trying to decide on a binding, this fabric seemed like it gave the perfect pop to the quilt. I love it. This fabric is just one of the line of sweet vintage fabrics designed by Sara Morgan called Toy Chest.
When I attached the binding, I used Aurifil #2260 Red Wine in the bobbin, to match the binding fabric on the back of the quilt. I had the Natural White in the top thread. I used my usual method of sewing the binding on the front, wrapping it to the back and then stitching in the ditch on the front to attach the binding to the back of the quilt.
The finished quilt is about 50″ x 60″. It’s just a great size for snuggling up with on the sofa and has a nice, soft drape to it. It has such a sweet, vintage look to it. I’m listing it in the Shop.
Thanks for stopping in!
Lots of cutting, trimming and sewing going on over here. It’s fun to work with these 1930’s vintage reproduction fabrics and such pretty low volume tiny prints! Stay tuned . . .
I want to give you some tips that I have found actually make my work faster. I’m not going to give you advice that tells you to prewind bobbins or “organize your workspace”. I love to do those things, too, but these tips are actually going to speed up your work. Really. This post is about tools that I have found to be actual time savers in my work and make a real difference. If you are new to quilting, maybe you don’t even know about these tools. There is no way I could be as efficient in my work without using these. They really have been time savers and I want to share them with you and have included a couple of videos which might help you.
Use a Stripology Ruler
When you have a lot of strips to cut for a project a Stripology Ruler will make your work SO much faster. This is one of the best things ever. With my Stripology ruler, I can cut multiple strips quickly and without having to move my ruler. This tool has cutting slots in it for your rotary cutter. Let me show you:
I even use it to do my subcuts sometimes. Just lay your strip sets underneath and make multiple cuts without moving the ruler! It’s pretty awesome:
A Stripology Ruler is a bit of an investment, but you will use it all the time to cut strips, once you try it!
Ditch the Pins
Are you still using pins? If you haven’t discovered Wonder Clips, you don’t know what you’re missing. This could be the single tool that speeds up my work the most. Placing pins into seams takes two motions – one to insert the pin down into the work and another to pop the pin back up to the top of the work. Sounds like a miniscule motion, but when you add it up to the hundreds of times you insert a pin, it takes time. If you use clips instead of pins, you save time – clipping takes one motion and that’s it.
They are also so much better on heavier seams than pins. No need to try to insert pins into heavier seams – that can also distort your accuracy – the Wonder Clips hold firmly and without shifting. Clover even makes Jumbo sized Wonder Clips.
This little project would have been very hard to manage with pins. But with Wonder Clips, they held the binding so easily and securely:
Then when it comes time to sew your seams, I find removing clips is a little faster than removing pins – sometimes pins can stick a little (and clips don’t poke you!).
Use Dedicated Sized Grid Rulers
When cutting squares or trimming blocks, it is a time-saving investment to buy square grid rulers in sizes you use the most. I have square grid rulers in just about every size from 2.5″ up to 6.5″. This range covers the size blocks I make the most. When subcutting squares or trimming blocks, I don’t have to worry about lining up grid lines and making sure my measurement is correct. I just cut along the ruler and that’s it. Saves SO much time. Try trimming 100 blocks that need to be 5″ with a 6.5″ grid ruler. It takes forever. Try trimming 100 blocks that need to be 5″ with a 5″ ruler. You’ll be finished in no time.
Making 5.5″ blocks with a 5.5″ ruler is much faster
Use Bloc-Loc rulers.
If you are a fan of Half Square Triangles like me, Bloc Loc rulers will be a revelation to you. They also make rulers for Half Square Rectangles and Flying Geese. I like to make my blocks oversized and then trim them to size. Why are these so great? They have a groove cut into the ruler from one corner to the opposite corner that hugs your seam line and allows you to trim HSTs (or whatever) into perfect, uniform blocks without any slipping. Let me show you how this works and how fast it is:
It really does make a huge difference in your time trimming.
Get a Quarter Inch Presser Foot
Most seams in quilting are a quarter inch. You can certainly line up a quarter inch with your presser foot and just keep your stitching line on that point, but a dedicated quarter inch presser foot makes your sewing faster. It has a guide on the side, to keep your fabric on the right line. It really does speed up the work and I use mine all the time.
Thanks for dropping by,
I’ve had such a great time making this quilt, from the fabric selection to the extensive grid quilting. This quilt came about by me experimenting with cutting up strip sets of solid colors. I played around with a few colors and in the end, decided that just two colors of high contrast had the most impact.
I sewed together 3.5″ strips, and then cut these into 6.5″ blocks. I used 12 strips of each color to make all the blocks, for a total of 90 blocks. The colors I used were Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Solids in Black and Tarragon.
I took all the blocks and arranged them so that they looked like they were in some pattern, but they actually weren’t. This was enormously fun. Really. I had such a great time rearranging the blocks into all kinds of designs. My youngest son, home on college break, walked by and said, “That looks like a maze”. Hence the name.
For the backing, I used a great fabric I’ve had in my stash for a while, patiently awaiting the right quilt. And this was it. The fabric is Color Names in White, purchased from Pink Castle Fabrics. It complements the modern, graphic look of this quilt. This is an excellent backing fabric, because it is a 108″ wide fabric, with no need to piece the back. Yay. Piecing backs is the only part of quilting that I don’t enjoy.
I used Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting, a favorite. I prewash and dry the batting so that there will be little to no shrinkage after the quilt is washed at some point.
I quilted this in an all over 1″ quilting grid, which took lots of time and focus, but was lots of fun. It was addictive to see the texture developing, as more and more lines got quilted. The quilt has a wonderful feel and drape to it, because of the quilting.
The thread I used on top for the quilting was Aurifil #2902 in Laurel Green. It’s a 100% cotton thread from Italy and is wonderful. It hardly produces any lint at all, even with extensive quilting. I used the 50wt. I put a light color in the bobbin, however, to match the backing fabric. To sew the grid, I just used my seam guide and attached it to my walking foot.
For the binding, I tried out a few different fabrics and ended up using Sandhill Charcoal from M&S Textiles Australia. I had to laugh because, coincidentally it was the same fabric in a different colorway that I used for the backing for my English China Quilt, a recent finish. It’s a really neat fabric and I loved the effect as a binding. When I sewed the binding on, I used the Laurel Green Aurifil thread in the top and black thread in the bobbin, to match the binding.
This quilt finishes at 54″ x 60″, a really nice size for a throw quilt. I love the bold modern graphic feel of this quilt. I think it would make a great design element in a room.
I’m listing this quilt in the Shop.
Thanks for coming by – hope you’re making something!
Here’s what I’m working on now. Involves Robert Kaufman Kona Solids (surprise) and lots of modern grid quilting. Stay tuned.
Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend,
What fun this quilt was to make and what an impact solid fabrics can make in a design. I am continually adding to my stash of Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Solids and love using them. I do love all things gingham so it was time to make a gingham quilt.
I absolutely love the high contrast of the navy and the white in this super soft quilt.
White satin custom labels by Jennifer’s Jewels
This quilt finishes at 44″ x 52″, a nice size for a child’s quilt.
Each finished block is 4″. The cutting and piecing was straightforward: I cut WOF strips of 4.5″ and then subcut them into 4.5 squares. I cut 42 white squares, 71 light blue and 30 navy squares.
The backing fabric was a super cute alphabet/number print by Quilting Treasures called ABC/123 in Blue. I love fabrics like this that can be used for playtime with a child to learn their numbers and letters – things that take me back to raising my boys.
For the binding fabric, I knew right away this coodinating stripe fabric from Quilting Treasures was what I was going to use. It has that zing factor for a binding and really pops against the solid fabrics. I had to restrain myself from cutting this stripe on the bias, because I really love bias bindings – but I thought this stripe had enough punch to just cut it crossgrain. And it does. I made 2.5″ strips for doing the binding, which is my preferred method.
I used Warm and White 100% cotton batting for this quilt, which is what I use if there is a lot of white fabric in the quilt. It is bleached batting and pure white, so that it doesn’t dull the whiteness of the fabric. It handles and quilts up just like regular Warm and Natural batting.
I did a simple quilting at 3.5″ stitch length in Aurifil White thread.
Of course, I had to make a little reading pillow to go with it!
Quilts like these can be used as a decorative accent in a child’s room, as play mats or just to snuggle up with.
I’m really pleased with this quilt and am listing it in the shop.
Thanks for stopping by !
A little peek at what I’m working on! Stay tuned.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
When I saw this fabric in my local quilt store, it reminded me exactly of some English Chippendale china that my husband’s grandmother gave us. I love the look of that china and so I just couldn’t pass up the fabric. I set about designing a quilt around that fabric as soon as I could.
The fabric is called “Garden of Enchantment” by Maywood Studios. Because of the large design in the fabric, I didn’t want to cut the fabric up into real small pieces. I even entertained the notion of just cutting squares about eight inches and alternating them with some kind of patchwork. In the end, I opted for doing hourglass blocks with a couple of different fabrics.
The other fabrics I used were Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in Bone and Art Gallery’s “Stamped”, a text fabric from Amy Sinbaldi’s Paperie line, and a fabric I absolutely love and want to sneak into quilts every place I can! This text fabric is delicate but adds so much.
The hourglass blocks are 8″ after being set in. There was a total of 42 blocks in the quilt.
I quilted this with 40 wt. Aurifil Thread by doing a double diagonal line along the hourglass blocks with a 3.5 stitch length. This was pretty easy, because I just used the width of my walking foot as the guide.
For the binding, I debated about it very little – I knew I wanted to use the Garden of Enchantment fabric itself. I thought it finished the quilt the best, instead of using something completely different as an accent, which I usually do with my bindings.
For the backing, I wanted something modern as a contrast to the more traditional front, so I chose a fun fabric from M&S Textiles Australia called Sand Hill by Anna Pitjara. It’s an aboriginal inspired print and I think it’s so interesting.
The batting is my usual 100% cotton Warm and Natural. The quilt finishes at 48″ x 55″, a nice lap quilt size.
Thanks for stopping by – hope you’re making something!
You may also want to see English China Quilt Work in Progress