Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Half Square Triangle Tutorial - Bias Strip Method

Hello Friends!

When I was getting ready for the sew day, I wanted to start a new project that needed 400 half square triangle units.  Often when making multiple units like this, I use Triangles-On-A-Roll.  When checking, I had none that finished to a 2" square.  I had a lot for finishing to 1-1/2" which is what I normally use.  This time, though I needed 2" finished.

My second favorite way to make multiples of half square triangle units is the bias strip method.  Since this was to be a scrap quilt, that meant a lot of fabrics. This was a piece of cake to do using this method.  The quilt I showed you here was made using this method on fat quarters for the half square triangle units.

With this method you simply need to cut bias strips the width of the unfinished square that will be produced when sewn and cut into the units.  In this case that was 2-1/2".  I tried a 9" square of a light and dark fabric, but that left waste fabric and only produced 14 half square triangle units, so I decided to go with 10" squares.  It would have made it a bit easier if I'd used 10-1/4" squares as the two corner units were really close!

Here is how to make h/s triangle units using bias strips.

You will need, fabric, rotary mat, rotary cutter, rotary rulers - both long and square with a diagonal such as That Patchwork Place Bias Square Ruler, your iron and starch* (optional) and, of course your sewing machine.   *Starched fabric is easier to work with in this method -- I starch it fairly stiff.

 Layer two squares (one light, one dark) right sides up.  Fat eighths or fat quarters can be used or any size square depending on how many you want/need.  Squares are just easier to determine the 45 degree angle cut.

I usually put the light fabric on top as the markings on the ruler seem to show up better.

Determining the 45 degree angle for a square is a simple matter of laying the ruler from corner to corner.  If you use a rectangle, you will need to use the 45 degree angle on the ruler to make the first cut.  Do this from one of the corners just as you see here on the square.

Make the first cut diagonally from corner to corner or from the corner at a 45 degree angle on a rectangle.

Measure the desired amount.  This would be the size of the finished half square triangle you desire plus 1/2" for seam allowances (1/4" all around).  In my case I needed a 2" finished half square triangle unit so my cuts were 2-1/2".

Continue to cut strips measuring from the cut edge.

The first half is cut.  If you are using a rotary mat that can be turned, turn to cut the second half or move to the other side of the table, or simply rotate your full sized mat, if possible.  If you cannot rotate the mat, turn the uncut portion so that it will be easier for you to cut with your dominant hand.

Continue to cut strips in the desire size until all fabric is cut.

At this point, the strips need to be arranged for sewing.  It is easier to do this on a flannel covered board.  This one is simply foam core from the craft store with flannel fabric stretched across and taped to the back side of the foam core..  Alternate the strips as shown.  (Two sets fit on my board.)

The lower left strips have been partially sewn in this photo.

When sewing the strips, those left of the center cut will be offset with the bottom corner offset.

On the right of center, the top corner will be offset.  It will ALWAYS be the pointy corner that is offset.

The center strips will be even as both are pointy.

Hint:  I sew pairs of strips together and then sew those into quads, etc. moving across the fabric strips from left to right.

Continue to sew strips together until your "squares" have two even sides and two irregular sides as shown below before they are pressed.

You can press either to the dark or open.  Always press open for smaller half square units.  I do this for most sizes, though traditionally we are taught to press to the dark.  It's your choice. Once pressed, they look like this.

Hang in there, the magic begins now.  This seems like a lot of work, but it is so worth it when you see the perfect pieces you will make using this method.

Starting with the straight corner, place a square ruler that has a diagonal line on the seam with the measurement of the unfinished square size you need.  You can see here that the edge of the ruler is at 2-1/2".  This is the bias square ruler made by that Patchwork Place.  There are other square rulers that will work as well, this is just my favorite as the markings are easy to see.

Cut the first two sides of the half square triangle unit using your rotary cutter.

Rotate the cut piece so that you can cut the other two sides to complete a perfect half square triangle unit.  These cuts take care of the dog ears you would have to cut off any way.

There is very little waste on the first cut.  Other cuts will sometimes have more waste.

You will now have two points.

Repeat the placement of the ruler on both of these points, rotating the squares to finish cutting all sides as you did for the first point.

Now you will see three points.  Keep repeating the cuts revealing the next points to be cut until all fabric has been cut into half square triangle units.

You will quickly have a stack of these units ready to use.

This is an easy way to make half square triangle units for a scrappy quilt.

Here is my tray full of half square triangle units, squares and some of the halves of 4-patches needed for the quilt I'm working on right now.

I hope you have found this tutorial helpful.  If you have any questions, please feel free to either make a comment below or e-mail me with your questions.

May your quilts be wonderful and your preparations quick and easy!  Enjoy.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sew Much Fun! Sew Day!

Happy Saturday!

So far I've vacuumed my whole house including the stairs and the master bedroom closet, read a bit, took photos for a future tutorial which meant I was sewing, too, and made egg salad sandwiches for lunch.

But, Thursday, I got to join my friends Joyce, and Diane for a Sew Day.  It was the first one this year.

Diane was working on these blocks which needed some trimming.

She also brought the yummy ginger cookies we snacked on and tangelos for both Joyce and me!

Joyce was chain piecing on her triangles and playing hostess.  She sent me home with 2 bags of grapefruit!  Yum!  Tangelos and Grapefruit!  Our lemon tree froze last year, but is blooming this year so maybe next year I'll be able to share lemons with them!

I trimmed half square triangle units (tutorial soon!) and then started chain piecing squares for 4-patch units.  See the trimmed h/s triangle units and a few halves of 4-patch units in the tray.

We laughed, talked and solved the world's problems, so you can rest easy now!  We also contributed to Joyce's snippet jar.  She stuffs pillows with the little snippets.

Here is the snippet jar I started yesterday with a completed 4-patch units next to it.  Joyce can have the snippets when it's full.  I just think it looks cute sitting there.

Hope the rest of your day is fun.  I'm off to help with the 2 and 3 year old class at church tonight.

Talk about cute!  They sure are!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Love Books!

Hello friends!

I've been a little under the weather the past few days.  I'm blaming the weather in Dallas (cold and rainy) and then the weather here in usually sunny AZ.  We've been colder here than Minneapolis!  What's up with that?  It even rained and hailed here in the desert this weekend!

As long as I can remember, I've loved books.  I read all kinds of books.  Lately, they've been on the Kindle, but there is still nothing like the touch and feel of books -- especially old books with good bindings!  My favorite reads are mysteries and thrillers.  My favorite books with photos are Decorating and Quilt books.  What are your favorites?  Granddaughter A is into The Hunger Games, but I haven't read any of those yet.

This is a small pile that have been decorating my home for several years.  They've been in different locations at different times -- both the books and the homes. LOL

All but one of the books are from the early 1900's.  One book is dated from the 1970's, but was written much earlier than that, just was reprinted.  The Pine Tree quilt is probably from around 1910, too.

This book makes me smile.

So do the twins in the photo who weren't even born until 5 years after  it was copyrighted in 1910, but who probably read it as children.  Well, not this copy, though I do have books that belonged to my grandmother.

The twins are my mother and her sister.  I don't know which one is my mom.  They look too much alike and I don't know that anyone ever told me which one is Mom.  Aren't they just the sweetest!

They became sweet adults, too.  I never thought they looked so much alike as adults, but people constantly got them mixed up.  I guess as family, I saw all the differences where others saw the sameness.

I treasure this photo!  Much like books, there is so much to learn from them.

Below the table where these books and photo are living right now is this little vignette.

I took the garden angel away but left the pine cones and added a little bunny.

It's Spring so the bunny seemed to fit with the nature of the pine cones and ivy.

Here is a cloer look at the bunny.

Maybe I should add my copy of Alice in Wonderland to the stack of books.

Hope you all have a fabulous day and if it's warm enough -- go outside and enjoy!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sonny Bryan's -- Dallas

Hi friends,

One last item before moving on from being in Dallas.  We had to visit some places that are pure Dallas!

We ate a lot of places in addition to the hotel where we stayed.  We visited Media in the Hilton Anatole 3 times.  The best was the last night before leaving.  The waiter treated us to butter squash soup because our meals were taking a while for some reason.  We sat in the patio area and it was just very pleasant dining.

We also ate at Pappadeux, la Madeleine (twice as the first time we only had 50 minutes to get there, eat and get back to the convention center!), Ojeda Mexican (twice -- it was good the first time!), Panera Bread and a steak place that I've forgotten the name.  Those who know me well will know why I forgot the steak place name -- steak just isn't my thing.  I do know it didn't sound like a name of a steak house in Dallas.  We sampled fried pickles there -- also not my thing!

The most fun was Sonny Bryan's.  Walker of Walker Texas Ranger et al were always going to Sonny Bryan's in that TV series.  Just thought you'd like to know.  Not being from Dallas, I didn't notice that when the show was running.

Sonny Bryan's is a place designed to get you in and get you out -- FAST.  There were no frills.
The food was good and fairly fast.  It was crowded so it must be a good place to go in Dallas.

Inside the door were lines of people either waiting to order or waiting for their name to be called to pick up their food.

This is what my tray looked like.  Inside the paper was a shredded chicken barbecue sandwich.  It was good.  You could add barbecue sauce if desired, but you had to go to the other room to get it. LOL

Seating was either outside at tables or inside at what I would call study hall desks.  You know a wooden chair with one arm that is smaller than the size of the platter the food comes on, but about the size of an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.  Not a place you want to linger and visit a while.

The signs on the outhouses er rest rooms said something to the effect that if you didn't get a key before entering expect to be interrupted.  Interesting concept -- usually you need a key to get in rather than keep others out!  I wish I'd taken a picture of the sign.

This was the most unique dining experience of the trip.  If you go to Dallas, you must plan to visit.  The Sonny Bryan's in the airport wasn't nearly as interesting!

Hope you are all having a great St. Patrick's Day/National Quilting Day.

I think I'll go quilt.

Until next time,


Friday, March 16, 2012

National Quilting Day and Dallas Hotel

Good Morning Friends!

Did you know that Saturday, March 17 (tomorrow!) not only St. Patrick's Day it is National Quilting Day?  National Quilting Day is a special day set aside by the National Quilting Association several years ago to celebrate the art and craft of quilting and friendship.  Okay, they might not have included the friendship part, but that is what friends do together isn't it?  Quilt!

You can download a PDF of a wonderful pattern designed by Martha Etheridge who is the National Quilting Day Coordinator for NQA.   Go to the NQA web site here .  Did I mention this is a FREE project?  The Mariners Compass in the center is also the theme of the NQA 43rd Annual Quilt show June 14-16, 2012.

Now I promised you a look at where I spent the 8 days in Dallas.  If you have to spend that much time in a hotel, this is the way to go!

A sitting area is so nice when you spend more than one or two nights in a hotel.  Being able to go back and put your feet up or invite a few others in for a visit with an actual place for them to sit is great!

A place to set the computer to work is essential.  Wi-Fi was not free, though, so I had to go to the lobby for that.  Sorry, it would have cost a months worth of cable for the 8 days!

A coffee maker -- yes that is a must!  Behind the cabinet doors are a microwave and a small refrigerator.  Not that I had anything to put in them, but I did heat some water for tea in the microwave so it wouldn't taste like coffee!

Of course, you do need a bed to sleep in. But look at the size of this bed!

It was HUGE!  The last night I left my suitcase on one side of the bed while I slept on the other side and there was still plenty of room!  The patio door was nice, too, since I was on the 4th floor.  It was cold and rainy though, so the door didn't get that much use!

There you have it -- my home away from home and a FREE project for National Quilting Day.

The corned beef is in the slow cooker so I'm ready for both St. Paddy's Day and National Quilting Day.

Hope you have a wonderful day today and are able to celebrate quilting and being Irish tomorrow!

Until next time!



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dallas Quilt Celebration

Oh, friends, how I missed you!

For 8 days I was in Dallas.  First for a National Quilting Association Board of Directors meeting and then for the Dallas Quilt Celebration.  Guess which was more fun!  BOD meetings tend to be intense, non-stop meetings.  A quilt show?  Hands down the winner in the fun department!  BOD meetings are necessary and worthwhile and I'm glad to participate so that quilt making will have a future.  The days at the Quilt Celebration were spent primarily in the NQA booth (oh, yeah, I did see the quilts and visit the vendors!). Meeting quilters from all over guarantees a good time!.  Most of the quilters were from the Dallas area, but some were from other states.

I got to meet my blogging friend Julie!   In person!   She is a wonderful person and quilt maker from the Dallas area who makes the most amazing plaid quilts and string quilts.  We just didn't have enough time to visit!  She always has several projects going at once and each one is more beautiful than the next!  If you haven't been to her blog, you must go visit her.

Julie is on the right and I'm on the left.  It was very chilly that day!

The quilts at the Dallas Quilt Celebration were simply amazing!  I had planned to post photos, however, the show program specifically asked that no photos without permission from the owners/makers of the quilt be posted on the Internet so I am honoring that request.

Linda Roy won Best of Show and you may have seen her quilt in other shows.  It is a work of art as are all of Linda's quilts!

This is where I spent most of the time at the show.

The beautiful quilt on the left is for the Texas Association of Quilt Guilds that was the booth beside us.

We started out giving  visitors the NQA member magazine, the Quilting Quarterly, but ran out on Saturday.

The banner says it all -- Creativity, Education and Heritage, that's NQA!

Isn't the bee cute?

If you would like to know more about the National quilting Association, Inc., visit us on the web to see how you can become a member of this fine organization.

Next time I'll show you where I stayed and talk food!

Until next time,