I’ve been working on hand quilting my Sampler Quilt for almost 2 years now. It’s one of those projects I keep setting aside. This poor baby is in desperate need of a washing so I’ve decided to move it to the top of my UFO list. I’ve tried traditional hand quilting using a hoop and applied various techniques with varying degrees of failure. Pretty and expensive lap quilt hoop now resides in a closet. For me, the best way to go is hoopless hand quilting. Sharon Schamber’s Hoopless Hand Quilting video is one of the best tutorials available illustrating the technique.
My last several quilts have involved making lots of half-square triangle blocks–lots and lots of them! The illustration above indicates measurements for a finished block size of 6 inches (6 1/2 unfinished). The traditional method is to cut a 6 7/8 inch square in half diagonally from 2 different fabrics and then sew the triangles together along the long bias edge…tricky process to sew without stretching or getting the points tangled in the sewing machine when starting. There is a much easier way to accomplish the same thing. With a pencil, on the wrong side of one of the fabric squares, draw the cutting line from corner to corner. Then sew a 1/4-inch seam on each side of the line. Once sewn, cut along the marked line. Voila, 2 blocks. Already it’s a much easier process.
How do you calculate the size of this new larger square? Double the size of the original square needed. Here’s a tip that really helps me. To figure out the size of square needed for a finished size of HST block, I add 1 inch. If my finished size is 6 inches, then I need 7 inch squares to make 2 HST blocks. To make 8 blocks, I double that to 14-inch squares. If the moon and stars align, I should be trimming off that extra 1/8 when I square up each block using Quilt In A Day Triangle Square Up Ruler 9 1/2 inch…one of the best rulers in my inventory!
Finished block Size plus 1 inch equals square size needed of 2 fabrics to make 2 half-square triangle blocks
Finished block size plus 1 inch times 2 equals square size needed of 2 fabrics to make 8 half-square triangle blocks.