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Half Square Triangles..... BLAH! Let's get them squared up!

Half Square Triangles (also known as HST's) look beautiful on quilts. You will find that these blocks are used with many different quilt blocks and patterns.

For most quilters, they can be the bane of your existence. They are mine :)

As I searched through the net to find horror stories, I did not feel so alone.

The same problems come up time and time again:
  • They don't stay square
  • The points aren't in the corners
  • The bias stretches
  • The blocks are never the same size
  • Nothing matches up
Some tricks of the trade:
  • Make it bigger and square them up
  • Use triangle square up rulers
  • Use Grid Methods - This is my personal favorite.

Squaring up those blocks!

It seems no matter how you create those darn, yet beautiful, half square triangles...

You are still left squaring up those blocks. This is where we lose many quilters.
  • They can't get the squaring up just right
  • It takes too long
  • Nothing is where it should be 
I was working on our online quilting book club quilt this weekend and I had to sew 72 (YES I SAID SEVENTY-TWO!!) half square triangles together.

For those of you paying attention, yes this was last month's quilt but I am a little late with the surgery and I REALLY wanted to make this one!

Moving on with my story...

When the 36 blocks were completed... I think 15 were one size, 15 were another size, and the remaining 6 were just sad.

So today I thought I would share how I squared up those darn, yet beautiful, half square triangles to make them all the same size.

Step 1

I know that my half square triangles are always going to be too short so I just add a little extra.

However, with this quilt pattern, we were working with Layer Cakes.

I made sure I was sewing those together using my 1/4" foot.

Step 2

This pattern required the seams to be pressed open. Completed that task and headed to the cutting board.

Step 3

Looking at my blocks, I realized that although they were supposed to be 9 1/2 inches... well... uh... No.

So I had to find the smallest in the bunch and work from there. I had to change the size of my blocks to 9 1/4 inches to make everything nice and purty.

Step 4

I grabbed my two favorite tools for squaring up blocks - my Creative Grids Quilting Ruler 9 1/2in Square and my Incredible In-Between Gripper.

Why these tools?

The Creative Grid Rulers are by far my favorite! Every time I tried squaring up blocks, they would move on me all over the place. I tried sandpaper, I tried some film tape thing you through on the back, I tried everything. The Creative Grid Rulers have these no-slip gripper dots which for me, work better than the others.

However, I still want a real good grip and my hands are now sliding all over. So I use the In-Between Gripper to make sure nothing moves and you know what.... nothing moves. I have tried other grippers and they ALWAYS came off the ruler - not when I wanted them too.  With the Gypsy's, I don't seem to have the same problems.

Ok let's get back on track here *giggling*

Step 5 - This one is important!

Place the diagonal line in your ruler over the diagonal seam line on your block.

When I first started quilted, I paid no attention to that diagonal line on my rulers - BIG MISTAKE!

You are not getting equal halves by putting your ruler in one corner and paying no attention to the lines. That pretty diagonal seam you created will be off centered within the block.

I want my block to be 9 1/4 inches. I pay attention to the dotted lines on the left and bottom. This is my mark for 1/4." I make sure to leave a little something there to cut.

Step 6

Cut the right and top side.

Step 7

Now flip the fabric so that those beautiful straight lines are now on the left and bottom.

Step 8

This is where you want to pay attention!! We have 3 lines that we have to match up.

Start in the bottom corner and match your quarter inch line going up, across, and diagonally.

Follow that line all the way up.

Follow that line all the way across too.

Finally, check the opposite diagonal.

Step 9

Now all we have to do is cut!

Step 10

Tada!! You have a perfect 9 1/4 inch square.

Only 35 more to go!!

Tell me, what are your half square triangle horror stories?


Before you go too fast, make sure you enter our latest giveaway. It's a good one :)

**Thank you Sew Mama Sew for the image of diagonal blocks!

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