quilting, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Make Half Square Triangles

Ahh, half square triangles…I couldn’t imagine the quilting world with out them. I think it would be a safe bet to say that the majority of quilt patterns include half square triangles. And I think most quilters would agree that we love of their versatility.

Learning how to make half square triangles (HSTs) with accurate results can make all the difference in your quilt. I remember my first quilt included HSTs, and I also remember that I had no idea what I was in for when it came time to make them! I didn’t know anything about trimming and the importance of accuracy which made putting the quilt top together a bigger challenge than I expected.

Half square triangles using Fig Tree & Co. and Kona Cotton fabrics

If you’re a new quilter, I have an tutorial on how to make half square triangles with ease. It’s a basic method where you make two at a time and bias edges are avoided. By using this method you’ll find there’s very little waste but it allows enough fabric for trimming, and it’s perfect for chain piecing.

For future reference, I’ve included a sizing chart that provides both the size of the cut of fabric needed and the size of the finished/trimmed HST. It’s really a great resource, I use it all the time. Click to download my Half Square Triangle Chart PDF.

To make Half Square Triangles (HSTs) – 2 at a time

To get started, cut (2) contrasting color fabrics to desired size. The lighter colored fabric will be referred to ‘A square’ and the darker fabric will be referred to as ‘B square.’

  • Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of A square
  • Place A square on B square, right sides together
  • Sew ¼” from the drawn line on both sides
  • Cut on the drawn line, press to B square
  • Trim HSTs to finished size
  • One sewn unit makes 2 HSTs

I made these HSTs for a pillow project using this method.

You can see that very little was trimmed away, but it does make a lot of difference when you piece your project together. I like to use a Bloc-Loc ruler for trimming my squares. Not only does it give great accuracy, it makes the trimming process go much faster than using a regular quilter’s ruler.

If you give this tutorial a try, I hope your triangles are stellar. 🙂 Let’s go have some fun creating!

Note: I am not endorsed by any products I have mentioned or photographed in this post; they are just items I like, use and wanted to share information on.

quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

The Making of a Hunter’s Star Quilt

In 2017 I told my daughter I would make her a bed size quilt, but to be honest I never got around to it that year. Enter 2018 and I knew I had to keep my word. That said, I had her choose both the fabric and the quilt pattern because if I was going to take a lot of time to make something so big (and expensive), I wanted her to be happy with it.

After searching around she decided on Robert Kaufman’s Artisan Batiks/Retro Metro by Lunn Studios. This would be my first time working with batiks and I was ready to try something new.

Her pattern choice was the Hunter’s Star quilt based on the video tutorial by Missouri Star Quilt Company. We all love Jenny Doan, don’t we? I know I’m a fan of her videos and patterns, and store too, for that matter. The video tutorial I followed is Hunter’s Star Made Easy. It’s a great tutorial but there were a couple of things I found challenging and I’d like to share them with anyone who decides to make this quilt from the video.

First, making the half square triangles (HSTs). By using the method in the tutorial you need to know that all the fabric edges will be on the bias! Meaning everything is going to be stretchy so handle with care. Personally, I don’t like making HSTs this way because of that, but in this case I just used extra caution. If you’re a beginner quilter be aware if and when you use this method.

I needed 720 HSTs for the entire quilt, that’s a lot! Here’s a stack of just 168, trimmed and ready for blocks.

How to press your seams is important, and I found it worked best pressing the HSTs seams open—but—if you’re using a Bloc-Loc ruler, trim them first, then press seams open. I pressed a few open first and they were off, so I didn’t end up with a ¼” seam once sewn. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized why that happened, but thankfully I didn’t do too many.

After I got that right everything lined up nicely! The pressed open seams made for a nice, flat lying block.

Here are a few more tips from my experience that are really useful.

After laying out the blocks, take a photo. It’s easy to get blocks turned around and having a photo reference is a lifesaver.

Pin, pin, pin! Some quilters don’t like to pin because it slows them down. I like the accuracy of pinning so I’ll take the extra time. It’s definitely worth it.

Before I began sewing rows together I numbered the back of each block in the seam, in order per row using a Frixion pen (you can see my sideways #8 in the above photo). If you end up making a mistake, having had the blocks numbered will definitely help. I actually sewed one entire row upside down AND backwards! I was glad I had the blocks numbered as it helped me fix the problem and it helped me to realize I had done it wrong.

I also pinned at both side seams and the center seams within the top block before I sewed my rows together. This keeps everything aligned.

Lastly, when I sewed the blocks into rows, I pressed seams to the four patch. That way, blocks in every other row were pressed opposite and my seams nested perfectly. Also, when I sewed my rows together I pressed seams to the row that had the most four patch blocks because pressing the star block seam flat cooperated better.

Here are a few photos of my process as I went along.

I absolutely loved the batiks. They’re so nice and crisp and are just a dream to work with. This collection has such vibrant colors that even the scraps were gorgeous. 🙂

Because this quilt was so large I needed 9 yards of backing. So much fabric!

I also had my daughter choose what quiliting pattern she wanted. Here’s a close up of the mod squares motif she chose. I think it goes great with the fabric’s retro look.

And finally, the finished quilt! By far, it’s the largest one I’ve ever made. It’s queen size and measures 95 ½” x 104 ½” which is pretty massive for a quilt!

My daughter was so happy with it and it brings tons of color into her bedroom, just like she wanted. And I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out too. I do have to admit that this was a huge undertaking and I’m pretty sure I’d only work that hard for one of my kids!

I promised my son one this year…I guess I better get busy. 🙂

quilting, Quilting 101, Uncategorized

Quilting 101: Fabric Conversion Chart

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything for my Quilting 101 series so I figured it was time for a revisit.

Recently I created an easy-to-read downloadable PDF Conversion Chart for converting your fabric from inches to yards, yards to meters—whatever way you need! It’s definitely a time saver.

I find this chart especially useful for fabric you already have on hand. Sure, you can always order a specific amount but when you need to know if you have enough for a pattern, this is the perfect resource. And it allows you to skip the mental math!

I really enjoy posting for my Quilting 101 series and I like passing along information to beginner quilters as I know how much I appreciated it when I started. I’m always looking for topics, too. If you have anything you’d like info on, let me know and I’ll do my best to make an informative post.

Uncategorized

My Petite Hearts Quilt

Another quilt finished and one with an interesting story to go along with it. After finishing my Christmas quilt I thought, why not make one for Valentine’s Day? I love the color pink and tend to use it frequently so I had a lot of scraps on hand to choose from.

I wanted a heart quilt with a large array of pinks and reds, but I didn’t want to use the traditional heart shape so I opted for something more modern.

Once I had my idea I began designing the heart block and I started writing a pattern for it. Here’s what’s interesting…I thought I was onto something original, but when I went to name it I found it had been done before, published as a baby quilt in 2017, and had the exact same name! I admit I was a bit let down, but I still loved the design and it didn’t stop me from moving forward. I chose a different name because the quilts were different; mine was throw size, my blocks were bigger and I didn’t add borders.

Background fabric: Riley Blake Pin Dot/Peony by Lori Holt

Whenever I come up with a new design I always look to see if anyone else has already done it. For some reason when I checked for this heart quilt I didn’t see it anywhere, though I’m not really surprised it was done before because it is a pretty basic block.

Although I can’t claim it as my own design even though I’d never seen the other one (it isn’t worth getting blamed for copying) I do think it’s the cutest quilt I’ve ever made!

Here’s some general information on how I made my quilt. I wrote my pattern for using 10″ squares but it’s also scrap friendly. This illustration shows how I made my blocks from scraps. I used 29 different fabrics.

As an alternative, you can save time by strip piecing with precuts. Sew together and cut, as illustrated. One strip set will make 3 block halves.

I cut my background squares 5 ½” x 5 ½”, 99 total. I didn’t cut my edge pieces in half like most quilters would have done. Instead, I sewed them on as squares and trimmed them once the quilt top was complete. You might ask why would I do that? Well, I’m no fan of bias edges and by doing it this way I didn’t experience stretching and it ended up perfectly square. 🙂 And I know it’s certainly not the conventional way!

Here’s the layout of my Petite Hearts Quilt. Rows are sewn together on point (diagonally).

I used a variety of fabrics for this quilt including Riley Blake, Art Gallery, Andover, Michael Miller…just to name a few. The backing is Simply Colorful II in magenta by V & Co. for Moda. I sewed my binding on by hand using Aurifil 2530. I did the quilting myself on my Janome using the serpentine stitch using Aurifil 2026. Finished size is roughly 56″ x 70″.

Here’s the finished quilt. Original or not, I absolutely love it and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

A Gifted Quilt

Overall, a good portion of the quilts I’ve made I’ve given as gifts, and at this point I’ve given them to every family member that has expressed an interest in receiving one. It just happened that this particular niece ended up last, but for no particular reason!

As a surprise, I wanted to make her one for Christmas 2018, which I managed to pull off. If you’re one who makes quilts as gifts (and are on Instagram) you know how hard it can be to keep it a secret. No posting photos unless you block the recipient, but that leads to suspicion if you ask me! (I did sneak in one photo but she had no idea it was for her quilt).

In keeping with the plan to sew with what I have, I decided on using a jelly roll I purchased a few years ago. She loves the color yellow and this Moda collection Figures had plenty of it.

Once the fabric was decided, I needed a pattern. I thought she’d like something more modern verses traditional, so I headed to the Moda Bake Shop and found a great jelly roll pattern, Tropical Punch Quilt.

This pattern is very easy and beginner friendly. Thanks to precuts and my stripology ruler, cutting was a breeze and done in no time.

I used Kona Cotton White for the background to give it a bright, fresh look. I paired two coordinating strips together for the block pairs so they would have opposite middles and outer edges because I prefer controlled scrappy over all-out scrappy.

Piecing the top went fast as the blocks are simple and a larger size. The layout took a bit of time because I wanted the coordinating blocks distanced from one another.

I chose to make the binding scrappy. Need instruction on how to make scrappy binding? Here’s my How To tutorial.

Here’s a trick I used to make sure the same colors in the binding weren’t next to the same colors on the quilt top once I sewed it on. After the top was complete and on my design wall, I laid out the binding strips around it in preferred order. I marked where I needed to start sewing the binding on the actual quilt sandwich so the layout remained as planned. It worked great!

After sandwiching and before quilting, I sewed my basting stitch across the top to reduce pulling and shifting. This works wonders and I definitely recommend taking the time to do this step. Just set your machine on the widest stitch possible and sew within ¼” from the top. There’s no need to remove these stitches before sewing on your binding and it helps keep the sewn edge flat.

As usual, I used my hera marker to mark every line 1 ¾” apart and then used my guide for the lines in between.

I’ve never straight line quilted before but it came out pretty nice.

I also had this fun polka-dot backing on hand, I’m sure I bought it for something else that I never got around to making… 🙂

And the finished quilt!

I really enjoyed making this quilt, it was a lot of fun. I’m also very pleased that my niece absolutely loved it. And as always, I’m happy to spread around some quilting cheer. 😉

quilting, Uncategorized

2018 Project Recap

 

Another year of quilting has come to an end and it was quite a productive year. In 2018 I made ten quilts (and finished another) which was a record for me. I’ve read about quilters who crank out dozens of quilts per year, and I always wonder how they do it, or why. What do they do with them all?

Of the quilts I made, two were commissioned, two were for publication and four were gifted. Even so, I’m left with five of them! I also completed additional projects—mini quilts, pillow covers and handmade Christmas gifts.

Here’s a rundown…

I started this Fireworks quilt in 2017 but actually finished it early in the year. It’s definitely one of the brightest quilts I’ve ever made.

These two baby quilts were commissioned for a friend.

I gifted next four: the simple patchwork one was for my husband, the Hunter’s Star quilt was for my daughter, I also gave my daughter the Triangle Peaks quilt just because she wanted it. 🙂 The last one I made for my niece for a Christmas gift.

This is my Diamond Jubilee quilt that was published in the January/February 2019 issue of Pre-Cut Patchwork magazine, previously known as Quilting Quickly. It’s the first quilt I had published and it was pretty fun!

The last two are my Christmas Irish Chain quilt, and by far my favorite quilt ever, my scrappy Granny Square.

I also released an easy, beginner-friendly pattern that’s a great addition to any nursery, With Love Mini Quilt.

As far as other projects go, I’ve completed several pillow covers (some for me and some as gifts) along with lots of mini quilts. I have tutorials available for some of these projects.

If you’re looking to use some small scraps and add to your household decor, give this Modern Stripes Placemat a try. It’s a free download pattern.

I also have two non-sewing tutorials, one is a DIY Quilt Ladder and the other is a Portable Ironing Board. They’re available as free downloads.

I guess it’s only fair to mention what I didn’t get finished this past year, right? I cut out the fabric for a Maple Leaf quilt in March and since I couldn’t decide on a background fabric, I never made it. I’ve since chosen fabric so I plan to make it this year.

I think that pretty much wraps up a busy 2018, and here’s to a hopefully equally busy 2019!

home decor, patterns, Uncategorized

Modern Stripes Placemat

If you’re in need of a quick project and love all things modern, I think you’re going to like my Modern Stripes Placemat. I designed this for my mom’s small kitchen table with the idea of using up some little scraps. It’s an easy make, and as a bonus you can finish it in just a few hours!

To put this together all you need is color fabric scraps as small as 1 ¼” wide by 2 ½” long, a fat quarter for the background, binding, backing and some quilt batting. It finishes at 14″ x 20″, the average size for a placemat. I used red to coordinate with my mom’s kitchen, but here are a few images to give you an idea of how other colors might look. I think a variety of colors would give it a whole new look!Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 9.22.23 AMScreen Shot 2018-12-13 at 9.22.05 AM.png

For easy reference, I made the Modern Stripes Placemat pattern as a FREE PDF download so you can save it and have it ready whenever you are.

I think I need to get busy and make a few of these for myself, I just need to decide on a color…