Sunday 1 May 2011

More Mystery Prep

I am getting ready to post the first block in my Mystery Quilt - it features half square triangles and I thought I'd discuss the best way to make these.
For years I followed the accepted formula of cutting the original squares 7/8 " bigger than desired finished patch.
Creative Grids even produced a really useful ruler that had its first section measuring 7/8" and then 1" intervals thereafter, it was a really useful tool, no longer available.
Then a couple of years ago I discovered Eleanor Burns TV on a Sky Channel - what a novelty getting quilting shows here in the UK. Now this lady has so many years behind her in the quilting world, it was difficult not to pick up useful tips whilst watching.................many of her methods tie in with her company's products but I found I could produce HSTs her way and square them up using my Creative Grids 6 1/2 " square ruler.
Basically, say you were making a finished patch measuring 4", you would cut your squares to 5" rather than 4 7/8", so much easier on the eyes. After drawing a diagonal line and sewing 1/4" on either side of this, the resulting patch is usually just a tad bigger than 4 1/2", and can be easily trimmed to size. I always found with the old formula that my patches were often undersized and so not perfect for matching with other patches.
I have had a search on Eleanor Burns' website and found her instructions HERE and a table of sizes to be used in conjunction with her rulers. This was found under her free patterns page and of course if you can find a local stockist  it might be an idea to purchase her rulers.
I am possibly preaching to the converted - is everyone already doing this?


  1. I love Eleanor Burns! I don't know any other way to make half square triangles. Her tools and patterns are great.

  2. Try this method the next time you want to make a quick pinwheel baby quilt or pillow or ??. Place your 2 squares of fabric right side together & sew around the entire square a 1/4" from the edges. Now you're ready to cut them apart. Place your ruler diagonally from corner to corner and cut. Now cut from the other corner in the same manner. Voila! You have 4 perfect half square triangles. So fast & easy!

  3. I was already doing the "add an inch" method but I I have seen a jelly roll method I'd like to try and I would also like to try Pam's method above depending of course on how any colours are needed in your block - i.e. do you want one pair of colours to appear four times.

  4. I too find that when I try to measure the HSTs exactly I am sometimes small, so I prefer to make them a bit bigger and trim. Also, lately I have been using the method Pam describes whenever possible, there is a video about that method here:

    The down side is that then you have HSTs cut on the bias so you have to be careful about how you handle them so as not to stretch them.

  5. I just made my first HST block this way, by accident really - it seemed the easiest way to give my fabric the second chance of a good trim!

    (HSTs frightened me before I did this)

    That 7/8ths thing is what has always put me off. I just decided to do the maths with the 5" and be damned!

    It worked brilliantly. They don't frighten me anymore!



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