This month I’m continuing my beginner series and focusing on traditional quilt blocks. The easiest place to start is with blocks using squares and triangles. So simple yet so effective! Here is my quick half square triangle (HST) method that guarantees perfectly accurate HSTs every time, and I will show you how they can be used along with squares to create a very simple traditional block, known as a Shoo Fly.
We’re going to create a 9” finished Shoo Fly block.
I’m using this beautiful spring like fabric called Blooms by Gutermann, but you may use whatever fabric you choose.
You will need:
Four background squares 3 1/2” square
One fussy-cut centre 3 1/2” square (this means you put a motif in the middle)
Two 4 1/2” background squares
Two 4 1/2” contrasting squares
Sewing machine and regular sewing machine supplies (rotary cutter, ruler, mat, thread, etc).
Let’s start with creating those perfect HSTs! Take two 4 1/2” squares, one background and one contrasting and place right sides together. Draw a pencil line down the centre from one corner to the other.
Next, with a 1/4” foot on your sewing machine, and using the pencil line as your guide, stitch down either side of that line.
Using a rotary cutter, cut down the drawn line and open out the square to reveal the HST. Press to the dark side and repeat for the second set.
At this point they aren’t at the size we need them but we need to trim them evenly so that each triangle is equally sized. We want the HSTs to be 3 1/2”. So to do this, fold the HST in half and put a crease at the edge, which marks the middle of the edge. Take a ruler and place the ruler at the 1 3/4” position on top of the crease, measuring from the right, and trim.
Rotate the square 180º and this time place the ruler at the 3 1/2″ position on the left side of the HST and trim. Repeat for the opposite sides and your perfect 3 1/2″ HST is complete!
So now you have your squares and HSTs, lay them out in the orientation shown below and stitch them into rows. I like to press the seams of one row in one direction, and then the next row in the opposite direction, so that the seams nest nicely when you come to join the rows.
Join the rows together to complete the block.
And there you have it, a very simple yet effective block using two shapes, and lots of new skills learnt!
Now that you’ve mastered the perfect HST, there are just SO many options for pattern play and variation, the possibilities really are endless. Next month I’ll show you a couple more blocks and more possibilities for HSTs.
Finally, I wanted to say a big thank you to Groves, who provided me with this wonderful Guttermann Blossom fabric; perfect now that Spring has finally arrived! It’s just so pretty and uplifting, and I plan to use more of it soon too. If you would like to purchase some for yourself, do drop Groves and email email@example.com to find out where you can get some.