The Spring Quilt-Long: Quilting the Half Square Triangles

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy

Good Morning, Quilters!

I am back from Spring Market in St. Louis — energized and exhausted all at once!

I have lots of news to share–but we will reserve it for later this week because we have work to do!

We are free motion quilting our Spring Quilt-a-Long.

This quilt-a-long was designed as a half-square and border sampler.  By the time we are finished, YOU will have four ways to quilt the HST in YOUR quilts and several motifs for quilting borders.

In addition, we will be reviewing how a quilt top becomes a quilt:  step-by-step.  This little quilt is adorable, but it’s really a quilting textbook!

Follow along and you will learn how to quilt YOUR quilts!

Today we will choose thread and stitch one of the HST borders.  On Thursday we will quilt another HST border.


Piece the Quilt Top HERE

Borders and  Layering the Quilt Sandwich HERE

Stabilizing HERE


Our quilt is fully stabilized so we can quilt the rest of the quilt in any order.

When I begin quilting, I usually don’t have all the quilting planned, but I have some ideas.

I start quilting where I have an idea or plan--hoping the rest will come to me as I go!

If there’s any area of the quilting that is calling your name, quilt it!

The act of beginning has “pull-power” and will help you develop momentum to keep going.

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy


The first two decisions to make are:

What motif are you going to use?

What thread will work best?

Start with the colors in your quilt.  Usually HST consist of a light and a dark triangle.  Either one of these colors will work–however, the quilting will be very visible on the contrasting fabric and will disappear on the matching fabric.

You could also split the difference–find a thread color and value that is between the dark and light fabrics.

A medium colored thread will be equally visible on both triangles.

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy

Choose the weight of the thread after choosing the color.  

The heavier the weight (lower number) the more it will show up on the quilt.

I choose a medium value color-Sulky 40wt Rayon.

In the bobbin, 80wt Aurifil cotton.

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy


Start quilting the far right row of HSTs.

Arrange the quilt so that the bulk of the quilt is to the left side–leaving less bulk underneath the harp of the sewing machine.

Begin stitching in the left lower corner of the HST.

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy

Stitch a shallow arc to the right lower corner.

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy

Stitch a shallow arc to the right upper corner.

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy

Stitch along the diagonal back to the left lower corner.

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy

Stitch on the dark fabric–a shallow arc back to the right upper corner.


Stitch a shallow arc to the left upper corner.

NOTE-From here we will begin stitching the next HST in the row.  Once all the HSTs are complete, we will finish the left side of all of the HSTs.

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy

Begin the next HST in the row.

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy

You may find it is easier to rotate the quilt 90–so the right border is facing you…

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy

Stop at the top border…adding a final smooth arc.

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy

Stitch the left side (or top of the block if you re-oriented your quilt) of each block all the way down the row.

Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy


Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy

That’s it!  Easy as 1-2-3!

Enjoy your success–you’ve completed the first row of quilting!

Celebrate like you do when you complete the first block in a quilt!!!

If you were stitching a row of HST in a King Size quilt–this would be a major achievement.

Machine quilting is faster than hand quilting, but it’s not fast.  Don’t rush yourself–


More quilting all week—

and reports from Spring Market:  trends, colors, people, places, things….

and a little news!

Slow and Steady wins the Race,

Your Turtle Tutor,


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at 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  Thanks!!

24 thoughts on “The Spring Quilt-Long: Quilting the Half Square Triangles

  1. It looks like fun, Lori. I am off to my yoga class this morning and then I’m ready to start. I can’t wait!

    • Not sure why Lori didn’t, but someone told me that if I start at the bottom, right corner and move up I can see where I’m going better as my view of what’s next is in clearer view, and where I’ve been is also visible. It helps me avoid crossing threads that are out of my view now, although I will also quilt sideways like she turned hers. Depends for me on the motif.

      I can’t wait to get started!

  2. OK, you win- but it’s not a quilting win. I’m sitting here surrounded by my containers of summer clothes that I’m supposed to be sorting and swapping with my winter clothes. It is so easy to do the dance of avoidance as I call it by focusing on the always informative Inbox Jaunt
    You wrote this line, “The act of beginning has “pull-power” and will help you develop momentum to keep going.” Well, if that didn’t give me the case of the guilts. So, I’m not even going to finish the article now. I told myself no more reading until the clothes swapping is done. Don’t you worry, Lori- I shall return!

    • LOLOL!!! Just did that job myself! You will feel so virtuous that your quilting brain will be clear and creative when you get back to quilting! I am so much happier and more creative when my house (especially my closet) is clean!!!

  3. This design on the triangles is so cute ! Leaving town in few minutes to celebrate his 9th birthday with grandson, but will return ! Again, I do so appreciate your simple steps and encouragement not to hurry. (Where do the years go?)

  4. Just back from the Fiber Arts Show in ABQ, NM. Quilt is racked up on my LA as a table runner, so I’m ready to stabilize and quilt the HST today. Will send pics later this week! Thank you so much for your tutelage!

  5. I am curious how the back of the quilt looks since you used a heavier weight thread in the bobbin. I am also wondering if there is a reason you chose rayon thread for the top and cotton thread for the bottom.

    • I will post a picture. The 80 wt cotton Aurifil is lighter weight than the 40 wt Rayon. (Larger number is finer weight).

  6. Can’t wait to see the next three ideas. Hoping they might translate to flying geese triangles too? This one is pretty similar to one I already use on flying geese, so I’ve got my fingers crossed.

  7. This looks fun, I’m going to try it. Sure was great to meet you at Quilt Market at the Bernina Q20–you made me do a sailboat and it turned out OK!

    • Great to meet you and thanks for writing!! It was fun to play on the Q20 together!!

  8. Pingback: Machine Quilting Half Square Triangles: HST Flowers | The Inbox Jaunt

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