Friday, February 29, 2008

Making Half-Square Triangles

You may see them called triangle squares or half-square triangles or simply abbreviated HSTs. They are found in many traditional pieced quilt blocks . . . so it's worth the effort to be comfortable with the math and the technique.

To make a pair of HSTs, you start with 2 squares of fabric, each cut 7/8 inch larger than the finished size you want. For the 6 inch Shoo-Fly blocks, the HST units in the corners finish at 2 inches, so you add 7/8 and cut your squares at 2-7/8. Some quilters round up and cut squares 1 inch larger and trim afterward. After the HST unit is complete, it should be 1/2 inch larger than the finished size (2-1/2 inch for our Shoo-Fly blocks).

Kate put together these great step-by-step photos and notes on one method for sewing perfect half-square triangle units every time.
  1. First draw a diagonal line across the back of the 2-7/8 inch light (WOW) square. Then, placing the square right sides together with a dark (floral) square of the same size, stitch 1/4" away from the diagonal on each side.

  2. Then cut the two halves apart down the original marked line.

  3. Press open to yield two half-square-triangle (HST) units. For the March Shoo-Fly blocks, you'll repeat this with the other pair of 2-7/8 inch squares to make four half-square triangles (HST) units in total.

  4. Check to make sure your sewn units measure 2-1/2 inches. Square them up as necessary at this stage.

March Lotto Block is Floral Shoo Fly

For March, we will be making traditional Shoo Fly blocks from floral fabrics with white-on-white (WOW) backgrounds. Kate made this beautiful example.

The directions for making the blocks can be found here (on Also check out Kate's step-by-step directions on this blog for sewing half-square triangles.

The March block lotto discussion on the forum begins here.

You may make up to 8 blocks to enter in the block lotto. The floral fabric used in each block must be unique, however you may use the same WOW background fabric in all your blocks.

To enter your blocks into the lotto:
  1. Share a photo of your block(s) by attaching it to a forum message, posting it on a blog or photo site and linking to it from a forum message or post a message on the forum letting me know that you are sending it to me via email so I can share it with everyone.
  2. Send me your name and mailing address via email (if I don't already have it from a precious month). I need your email address so that I can send you the sneek peek (if your blocks are made at least one week before the end of the month). I need your name and address so that if you win the drawing, I can let everyone know where to send your blocks.
Several of the sneek peekers have already made their Shoo Fly blocks–you can see them here: March Photos.

Thanks again to those who have taken part in the first two month of the block lotto - we've seen some great blocks, and we look forward to seeing many more before the end of the year.

Congratulations Debra, Laurie & Pat K

The February winners, as drawn by Kate are:

Debbie (sewnewtothis)
Laurie (nlaurie)
Pat K (phx515)

They will each receive a shower of 58 scrappy hearts in the mail.
Congratulations, ladies .

The Last Heart Blocks

Here are 8 blocks from Laura (ljrandolph):

With 6 hours to go until the deadline, we now how a total of 174 blocks, which will be divided among 3 winners.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Scrappy Heart Settings

We've been talking about setting ideas for the scrappy heart blocks on the forum. A suggestion Christine made in another discussion, inspired me to try using the Disappearing 9-Patch as a setting. Pat liked it and tried one of her own (on the right).

Disappearing 9-Patch with Pieced Blocks.

Pat also found another setting idea in Marcia's block, Squares within Squares 2, on the Quilters Cache site. The scrappy heart block is exactly the right size to substitute for the fabric in the center.

Janet Wickell provided directions for our block and a quilt with a more traditional setting and borders. You can see Deb's finished quilt in her kodak gallery album, here. While you're there, check out the next quilt in the slide show, which uses the heart blocks in combination with other blocks and photo transfers.

Perhaps this month's winners will be inspired by one of these ideas . . . or will inspire us with a setting idea of their own.

Blocks from Rho and Deb

Here are 8 blocks from Rho (rhonda1115), a newbie this month.

Deb (sewnewtothis) has also made 8 blocks, which you can see in her Kodak gallery album here.

Friday, February 1, 2008

February block photos

7 blocks from Pat H (swquilter)

8 blocks from Laurie N.

6 blocks from Cathy (cathysews) - don't you love the range of reds she used?

A pretty pink block from Joy (jump4joy)

8 blocks from Sue (foofinster)

8 blocks from Di (SewDi)

Here are six blocks from Randi (randigirl29) and 8 blocks from Pat K (phx515)

Debbie (azrunner) has made six blocks, which you can see in her webshots album.

8 blocks from Michelle (momof11) and six from Sylvia (injim53)

8 blocks from Donna (pinky.hugs)

4 blocks from Judy (possumtownquilter) and 8 blocks from Cindi (zoopme)

6 blocks from Annette (annettejeavons) and 8 blocks from Sandy (centergranny)

Deb has made one block so far, but hopes to make more; Marilyn has made a number, but unfortunately, the ones with the lips fabric, even though they are cute, don't qualify.

8 blocks from Bonita (machinequilting)- though the two at the bottom right don't actually qualify, even though they are really pretty. And 6 blocks from Hilda (blueswallow), who has cleverly used the minimum number of fabrics in the maximum number of combinations.

Six blocks from Barbara (zizzybob)

9 blocks from Sophie, 4 blocks from Terri - Terri has since made two more blocks - check out all six here in her webshots album!

7 blocks made by Kate

February Block Lotto - Scrappy Hearts

Many thanks to all who participated in the January lotto, and we look forward to seeing lots more of you take part in upcoming months! If you are new to the lotto, or if you didn't take part in January, please take a moment to review the 2008 block lotto guidelines - if you have played in previous years, you will notice some changes in the basic guidelines, though the general idea remains the same.

In February, we will be making 6" (finished) scrappy pieced hearts in red or pink, using two fabrics of similar value. As you can see from the above photos, you may use any value of red or pink and the fabrics do not have to be totally red or pink, but must read red or pink strongly. Ensure that the two fabrics you choose for a single heart are similar in value, whether that be strong red, bright pink, pale pink, or whatever. Your background fabric should be cream - solid, tonal, white on cream, cream on cream are all fine as long as the fabric is cream and is a neutral background.

In February, you may make a maximum of 8 block. No two blocks should have an identical combination of reds/pinks, though you may use a single red/pink in up to two blocks, as long as the pairings are different (and match in value). You may use (but of course don't have to) the same neutral cream in all your blocks.

Instructions for making the blocks can be found on; many thanks to Janet for providing us with these.

Here are nine blocks that Sophie made, including one (the top left) where she has used both sides of a metallic batik fabric to good effect (and yes, only 8 of them count for the draw!)

Don't forget, to be enterred into the draw, you will need to post a photo of your blocks in the forum or a link to a photo of your blocks online, or email me a photo of your blocks - see the guidelines for more details on how to play.

If you post a photo (etc) before the 22nd of February, you will be eligible for a sneak peek at March's block lotto block. Winner(s) of the heart blocks will be drawn on Friday, 29th February.