Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Half-Square Triangles

Something Fishy Quilt

Two of the most popular ScrapTherapy patterns, Something Fishy (pictured) and Pick-A-Pair Pot Holders were originally written to incorporate Star Singles, a notion that is similar to Thangles. Thangles use strips of fabric to make half-square triangle units. Star Singles papers start with Squares. Star Singles papers are also similar to triangulation templates that you can print on your home printer.

I love using Star Singles papers. All the trimming to produce the correct unfinished half-square triangle size is done before pressing the seams. But they are difficult to find. 

On the "Good News" side of things I met Liz Eagan (the Star Singles designer and manufacturer) at Spring Quilt Market last week, and she tells me that she's got some plans to make Star Singles more accessible. So stay tuned, in the meantime, here's an alternative.

When ScrapTherapy, Cut the Scraps! was written, the Something Fishy pattern was included, but the pattern was re-written to exclude the requirement for any extra notions. Additionally, In the North Woods, from the book, incorporates a similar notion-free method to make eight Half-Square Triangle units from two 5" scrap squares.

Here's how it works.
Start with two 5" squares. Draw two diagonal lines, corner-to-corner on the back of one of the squares and place them right sides together.

 Sew a 1/4" seam on both sides of each lines. That's four seams all together.

Cut through the center, 2-1/2" away from the edge, twice. Like a big + sign. Then cut on the diagonal lines. Like an X. Try not to move the fabric in between cuts, so you can turn your mat and make four nice clean cuts.

Take the 8 resulting triangle units to the ironing board and press the seam toward one side or the other per the pattern instructions.

Then trim each unit using a small square ruler that has a bias line to 2" square. Use the 2" markings on the ruler to make sure you are trimming to the correct unfinished size, and line up the bias line on the ruler with the seam in the fabric.

Cut along the side and top, then flip the fabric square and trim the remaining two sides. Don't take a short-cut and trim only two sides, leaving the other two sides all wonky.



Eight perfect Half-Square Triangle units! Each Half-Square Triangle unit is exactly 2" square unfinished. Once sewn into your quilt, it will be 1-1/2" square.

Happy Quilting!

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