What’s YOUR Favorite Method for Half Square Triangles?

Wedding Ring Quilt, LKennedyGood Morning, Quilters!

Time to check in …

I’ve really been disciplined this week about spending time each day on my “Big Three” (Read more about setting priorities for your quilting in The Quilt Notebook Series.)

What about you?  Did you spend most of your time working on your big three?
Wedding Ring Quilt, LKennedyMy #1 priority is this wedding ring quilt.  The blocks are together now and I’m working on the half square triangle border.

Over the years, I’ve tried several different methods to create half square triangles.  After watching Edyta Sitar’s video:   Mix and Match: Scrappy Quilts, I decided to try these Triangles on a Roll (on sale at 40% off at Craftsy).
Wedding Ring Quilt, LKennedy
Wedding Ring Quilt, LKennedy

Though I don’t usually like paper piecing, this method easily created very accurate HST and removing the paper was a simple TV activity.  I also liked that you can roll off as many as you want at a time–easy peasy.Wedding Ring Quilt, LKennedy

Wedding Ring Quilt, LKennedyI know there are lots of ways to make half square triangles—

What’s YOUR favorite method?

We’d LOVE to hear!  (Please include links if convenient!)

Happy (focused) quilting!


PS…All tutorials, images, and information are the property of Lori Kennedy@ The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!

60 thoughts on “What’s YOUR Favorite Method for Half Square Triangles?

  1. Recently I purchased Triangulations which allows me to make HSTs of all sizes. It is very similar to Triangles on a roll, but dl as a pdf on the computer so I can print what I need.
    Thank you for your very informative and fun blogs!

  2. I’ve done the pp on a lap size pinwheel Christmas quilt. Never again. I tend to draw the square grid and diagonal lines on the back of my fabric, layer it, sew 1/4″ from each side of the diagonals, then cut apart. I make them almost 1/4″ larger than needed and trim to exact size. That eliminates the tails as well. I’ve a rotating cutting mat that works a treat for the trimming.

  3. I find that my favorite method for making HSTs depends on the project. If I need just a few, then I like making squares 1″ larger than the finished size and sewing 1/4″ on both sides of a diagonally drawn line, then trim to size. Very basic method and accurate. If I need to make a long row (longer than 8-10) then paper-piecing using Triangles on a Roll is the only way to go!

  4. Mine is accuquilts half square triangles because you dont have to spend time cutting off those dog ears or ripping paper off.I’ve tried triangle on a roll and they okay but accuquilt is for me. Michele

  5. When I did the Civil War Chronicles BOM it seemed like every block and border needed a bazillion HSTs! My salvation on that project was using Quilt-Pros “Triangle Magic” software. You print out sheets of paper (letter or legal size) for the size HST you need. Stitch and then cut on the lines (just like with your Triangles On a Roll), tear away the paper, press them open and you have oodles of perfectly sized HSTs with little effort. An 8-1/2″ sheet produces (12) 2-1/2″ unfinished HSTs (16 from a legal sized sheet) and the program prints HSTs of many sizes both larger and smaller. Brenda Hennings “Triangulations” software also does the same thing.

    For smaller amounts of HSTs I’ve come to really like cutting the triangles from strips layered together using an Easy Angle Ruler (ala Bonnie Hunter).

  6. Glad you raised this Lori, as I found the very best method a few years ago and it is not well known. BTW I have an Accuquilt but accuracy can be a bit of a trial and you are still stuck sewing them one at a time. Ok so the fastest way to make HST’s is also the most accurate…and convenient. I am not trying to shill a product, but try the demo sheet…the best way is to use Brenda Henning’s TRIANGULATIONS CD. You can print out any size HST you want, pin the sheet to your fabrics as you do the roll, and sew up unlimited multiples quickly. And because you are working from the CD, you don’t have to buy different sized HST papers! Here is the web page: https://www.bearpawproductions.com/store-detail.php?cat=1&ID=2
    And here is the demo sheet you can try out:
    I have emailed to ask Brenda to add the ability to do Half Triangle Rectangles, which are just HST’s stretched a bit.
    I keep sheets made up and pinned to fabric stacked beside my machine to just sew up whenever I have time…great for making Freddy Moran style HST sashings/borders.

  7. I have not done a lot of piecing in the past few years, but in the past I liked the paper triangles best. It’s interesting to see what everyone else is doing now to get the perfect half square triangle. It was an amazing thing in the mid 80s to learn this new method of piecing half square triangles. There were several methods at this time, but there was not much difference. And now we have special rulers, cutting machines, and printed papers to help us along!

  8. Love the quilt..is it paper pieced???… Love your colors too….
    I use triangulation paper pieced and I always make them at least 1/8 to 1/4 bigger
    Then square up….more accurate if I’ve sewn a tad crooked

  9. I’m an Easy Angle girl myself. No odd dimensions to figure out, no papers to buy or print or tear off later, no trimming to size after the fact. I think I learned about it from Bonnie Hunter, too. Love my Easy Angle ruler!

  10. I like to make my half square triangles a little larger and then trim them up with a Bloc-Loc ruler. It takes s little more time but they are perfect every time.

  11. In the beginner’s class I teach, we cover the “draw a diagonal line and stitch 1/4 inch to each side” method, and trim down to the correct size. If I’m doing lots and lots with the same colors, I like Triangulations.

  12. Funny, not one mention of Thangles, which I’ve been using since I started quilting, somewhere around 1996. I like them because they are accurate, there can be no stretching of bias, no marking, and you save fabric. I sew them with a smaller stitch, as in paper piecing, so the paper is easy to remove. So maybe I haven’t kept up with the Joneses here, but I have tons of Thangles, all sizes (got them at a great sale), and I’ll use them until I find a better way!

    • The Triangulations CD is similar and lets you print out any size HST. Much quicker than Thangles, let alone the standard methods. That small stitch is a great tip, I rip off the papers when in the car or watching tv.

  13. I make mine the way Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co teaches on YouTube. Put two squares together facing each other. Sew around all 4 sides using 1/4″ seam allowance. Mark an X from corner to corner. Using a rotary cutter and ruler, cut on both lines. Press seams to dark side. You have 4 Half Square Triangles. Easy!!!

  14. I’ve been watching and learning about all these other methods where you end up squaring your blocks to the right size. Too much waste and an extra unneccesary step, both of which are avoided, with the same accuracy, with Thangles.

  15. HI Lori,
    I have tried many different ways for my half square triangles– and I agree I used the
    thangles R. I also bought a problem called “Quilt Pro” and you can make triangles the size you need.

  16. Just now read the above link to Setting Priorities which really got me thinking. When I look at some of the pieces I have started they sure aren’t “my best work” or I don’t have motivation to spend more time on them because I don’t love them any more…but when other folks look at them, they think they are wonderful, and don’t see the inaccuracies, bad color choices, dated styles. Why don’t we break some rules, move them up the priority list, finish up some of the blocks and “pieces” and “partials” just enough to be able to add some simple borders and centerpiece them into lap quits or larger quilts to donate. There are a gazillion needy and grateful recipients out there who will treasure and be comforted by our generosity.

  17. My favorite method for making HSTs depends on the project. If HTS are needed for the border as in your quilt – I use a freezer paper foundation method. I found this method in the Judy Mathieson book http://www.amazon.com/Mariners-Compass-Quilts-Setting-New-Patterns/dp/1571203001/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1443197330&sr=1-2&keywords=mariner+compass+quilts.

    First of all, no paper foundation removal; second, you can re-use the same freezer paper template up to 8 times.
    draw a template on the dull side of the freezer paper
    perforate the sewing lines (sew without a thread)
    put first 2 pieces of fabric right sides together
    align the edge with the first sewing line + seam allowance
    bound in place with a dry iron to the shiny side of freezer paper
    flip the freezer paper along the perforated line
    stitch along the folded freezer paper

    The same way I did New York Beauty block, the description is in Russian, but photos do not need translation

  18. Favorite method is 8 at a time, second favorite, chain stitching each side of a diagonal line. Working on a quilt now that has a gazillion HST’s and wishing I had a Bloc Loc for squaring up! Since another quilt in my future has a boat load of HST’s, I guess I’ll put the Bloc Loc on my Christmas wish list! LOL!

    • I hate squaring up! To me a big waste of time. That’s why I use Thangles, though there are other paper methods where they come out the perfect size and no fussing about bias.

      • Hi Terry, I have used Thangles a lot and like them, but I liked these Triangles on a Roll even better…Makes any amount at a time. Now I’m going to try several other methods offered here.

      • Lori, the Triangles on a Roll are the ones I think I might like and plan to give them a try. Thanks for your input!

  19. Wow! One of my goals for my “2016 year of Precision” is to create the best possible triangles. Thanks to all of you for resources to check. And, yes my quilts may not be perfect, but they are my “best effort.”

  20. I use Kimberly Einmo’s EZ Flying Geese ruler which she teaches on her Craftsy class “Chain of Stars Mystery Quilt.” No waste and no marking to slash. Easy Peasy!

  21. I lay two squares together and sew 1/4″ around all the sides. Then I cut diagonally from each corner and press open my HST’s. There is a chart to get the right size but not sure where to find it. I just experiment until I have the correct size then I make a ton.

  22. It is great to read all of these methods.
    I have to admit, many of these techniques I do not know.
    I do know the sew around the perimeter and slice. I do not like this idea unless you have good fabric that is not stretchy, some cotton are you know.
    I have tried triangulations and all of those, I learned these techniques from the one and only quilt group I go to. Those ladies are so knowledgable.
    It is good to have so many choices.
    I try to cut larger and square to size before sewing.
    My skills have improved
    I want to try that block lock. I do have many well marked rulers though. I always measure carefully from the sewing line.
    Thank you every one for sharing your ideas. I greatly appreciate it.
    Always eager to learn and try.

  23. If I have a lot to make of the same fabric, I use Triangulations (I love to paper piece). If they are scrappy or I don’t need many, I use 1/4″ graph paper taped to my machine bed. It gives me the lines to follow and saves me from drawing a line on the fabric itself.

  24. I like the method Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilting uses although it is easier only if you don’t have to fit into a existing block. Take two fabrics same size and sew right sides together 1/4 inch all the way around. Then cut diagonally corner to corner though the middle both sides before pulling apart. This will result in 4 identical hlf sq triangles. Great for making scrappy pinwheels the sme size through out. A 10 inch sq will result in almost a 6 3/4 half sq with this method.

  25. My favorite HST method. . .I like to use these papers as they are super easy when using large pieces of fabric. If I have smaller separate pieces (charm squares), I just sew the two seams 1/4″ from center and cut apart. Might I add that I really, really love HSTs and making quilts with them!

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