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3/28/2013

A Triangular History?


I was reading a 1996 issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine while on a trip today. The first thing that I noticed was not one tidbit of information dealing with the internet was seen anywhere in the magazine! At that time in my life, I was taking Master's classes which included basic computer usage and html language at a nearby college. I do not know how many people saw the potential of computers and the internet back then. I know few of my teaching colleagues could see the computer's educational potential for elementary students that I related to them. 


BUT. . . 
Back to triangles! As I was reading, I noticed that the methods of quilting have made leaps and bounds since 1996.  And well it should considering it has been nearly 20 years since this issue. 

Over the next few days, I would like to share with you the various ways I have made half square triangle blocks (HSTs) through the years and the techniques I am finding as I explore various resources.  I tell students in my quilting classes that there are many ways of piecing quilt blocks and it is their decision as to which they prefer. I have some preferences, but find that some methods work better for a specific block or combination of blocks.  Sometimes it depends on the materials I have on hand. 

Have any of you chosen one method of piecing blocks over another because of the supplies you have? What is your most preferred method of making half square triangles?

The method described in the 1996 article was titled: Easy-Cut Triangles for Speedy Traditional Blocks. At the time, it was cutting edge (no pun intended). Bias strips of a specific width were sewn together, pressed and then HSTs cut from them. The edges of the HSTs were on the straight of grain because the strips were cut on the bias.  I tried this once, probably about 1998. I did not like cutting bias strips. I did not like sewing long bias edges. I did not like lining up my ruler and cutting little squares from a large piece of stripped fabric. But, I will share some photos showing the basic idea of the technique, although this time I used 2-1/2" pre-cut strips from my stash--so that means the edges of my squares are bias edges and might stretch when sewing. 





Recently I participated in a half square triangle exchange.  I used Edyta Sitar's Half Square Triangle Paper sheets to sew the HST units.  In years past I would have cut squares, drawn diagonal lines on the back of half of them, sewn, cut them apart, ironed and trimmed.  But these sheets really work the best when I am going to be making 100s of HST units!  In half an hour, I had 10 sheets (28 HST per sheet) done. The reason the sheets work well when exchanging or sharing is that the HST units are distributed to a number of people with little possibility of getting two that are the same. They are cut apart using the rotary cutter. The fabric naturally presses toward the dark fabric because of the way the fabric and paper are layered. The sheets tear off very nicely and (in our exchange) trimming dog ears on corners was left to the recipients of the triangles. The exchange was fun and I now have nearly 200 different HST units to work into a new quilt design!

To see Laundry Basket Quilts Triangle Papers click HERE and then on Triangle Papers in the left column on the screen. While you are at Laundry Basket Quilts, check out the Free Stuff on the Home Page where Edyta shares some patterns. She also has a YouTube link related to her products and techniques. *In no way am I benefiting from the mention of Laundry Basket Quilts or Edyta, I attended a guild workshop presented by Edyta and have to say she is a wonderful woman, a great teacher, very talented and I liked what she taught us.

In the next few days, I look forward to sharing some other methods of sewing HSTs that I have used. 


Please leave a comment about your experience with sewing HSTs, or using a tool in making them, or a question you may have, as we can learn from those as well. 

Until later, Happy Quilting.



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