Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Spinning Bow Ties Quilt Along ~ Half Square Triangles

The classic Half Square Triangle (HST) unit is my favorite unit to make, but it wasn't always.

When I first started making HST I struggled to find an accurate way to piece them. Then I discovered the trick of making them larger and trimming them down to size. Game. Changer. I want to share few tips with you for this part of the Spinning Bow Ties Quilt Along.

When you line up your ruler to mark the diagonal on the wrong side of the fabric you want to have the ruler just off the corners.

That way, when you draw the line, it goes from corner to corner and not off to the side a bit.

This little video may help if you find your fabric gets pulled into the plate of your sewing machine.

There are other factors to consider if your fabric gets pulled into the plate, the most important of which is your needle. Is it the correct needle (raise your hand if you've gone from sewing knit clothing with a ball point needle to quilting fabric and forgot to change the needle) and when was the last time you changed your needle? If your needle isn't sharp it will push the fabric instead of going through it neatly.

I have a quarter inch foot for my machine. When sewing 1/4" on both sides of the line I drew, I make sure the outside of my foot is ON the line.

When I get to the end I keep my needle down and line up my next HST.

I move my next square up so it overlaps the square I just stitched on, and the drawn lines are also lined up.

Once it's lined up, I put the presser foot back down and start sewing. I continue on that way until I'm done with the pile. If I have a lot to make I will split the piles up so that I can stitch and trim and then go back to stitching. This helps get me moving a little bit and not stuck in one spot.

Once I'm done sewing on the first side of the drawn line, I take my sewn squares and stitch on the next. I do NOT clip them apart yet.

Sew 1/4" from the line again, all the way to the end.

Keeping your needle down, lift the presser foot and line up the drawn line again, just as you did before, and continue stitching.

You'll have a nice row of squares.

Now you can clip those threads.

Next line up your ruler so that you can just see the drawn line.

Cut on that line.

Press to whichever side the designer tells you, or that you feel like pressing to, even open. I do recommend, unless told otherwise by the pattern designer, that you press all the same direction. That way if you have to match up those seams they will nest together nicely.

We are ready to trim. For the first trim, make sure the diagonal on you ruler is on the sewn seam, then make sure you are leaving a little on the outside of the ruler to trim off. BEFORE you make that trim....

...make sure your diagonal is on the seam, all the way down the square and that you have fabric outside of the size you need to trim the squares to. Here I'm trimming this HST to 4 1/2" so I'm making sure there is extra fabric to the side and bottom of that 4 1/2" mark on my ruler.

Trim off the side and top.

Rotate your square, make sure the 45 degree line on your ruler is on the seam from corner to corner.

This time you want the ruler to line up on the fabric at the 4 1/2" mark on the side and bottom.

Trim the side and top.

That's it! You now have accurate HST units to work with.

Get sewing and we'll see you back here next week to put our blocks together! If you want to show off your HST units, add a picture of them to the link up below. Thank you for joining the Spinning Bow Ties Quilt Along!

Happy Stitching!

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