The Spring Quilt-a-Long: More HST Quilting Motifs


Machine Quilting Half Square Triangles, Lori Kennedy

Good Morning, Quilters!

Are you ready to stitch?  Let’s continue our Spring Quilt-a-Long (before I have to re-name it the Summer QAL!)

On Tuesday we stitched the far right row of half square triangles.

Today we will stitch the far left row.
Spring QAL, Lori Kennedy

First let’s address a few questions that you had.

Why do you start on the bottom of the quilt and not on top?

Hmmm….I’m not sure!  I arrange the quilt so the bulk of the quilt is to the left of the machine-not under the harp space.  It doesn’t matter if you start at the top of the row or the bottom.  I usually start at the bottom–mostly out of habit and because the bulk of the quilt is supported on the table when I start–and it moves into my lap as I go along.  There is no reason you couldn’t start the other way.

Why do you use Aurifil cotton 50 wt in the bobbin and Sulky Rayon 40 wt on top?

That thread combination is my “go-to” combo.  I know how it looks and that the two threads combine well together.  YOU may have two entirely different choices depending on your quilt, the batting, your sewing machine.  It is good to come up with YOUR “go-to” combo…then start adding new threads to try.

I like threads like Sulky Rayon with a bit of sheen on top.  40 wt thread is a slightly heavy thread and shows up well.

Because it is a slippery thread, I find it works best when I use a less slippery thread–like cotton in the bobbin.  It helps the machine make a nice stitch.  I used an 80wt cotton Aurifil in the bobbin this time–it’s new to me, but a thin thread will last longer in your bobbin.


To stitch this motif we will stitch four triangles:  up, sideways, down, sideways–to form our X.

Begin stitching in the lower left corner of the square.

Stitch toward the center, stopping a few stitches short of the center.

Stitch to the lower right corner to create the first triangle.

Stitching on the light fabric, add a sideways triangle, ending in the upper right corner.

Stitch a downward triangle, ending in the upper left corner.

Stitch a sideways triangle, ending in the bottom left corner.

The “X” is complete.

Stitch in the ditch or close to the seam on the left side of the first HST to begin the next HST in the row. If you have trouble stitching to the center of the HST–and your Xs are catawampus (I look for excuses to use that word!)

Use chalk to mark the center.  Usually, once you stitch for a while you won’t have to mark–your eye will improve.

Once all the HST are machine quilted, stitch a straight line down the right side of each square to complete the pattern.

There you have it!

Another simple way to stitch HSTs!Machine Quilting Half Square Triangles, Lori Kennedy

Keep it simple and you’ve got it made!

Your Simple Quilting 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!

21 thoughts on “The Spring Quilt-a-Long: More HST Quilting Motifs

  1. I, too, love the sheen of rayon thread for quilting and have never had a problem. But now, more often than not, I use Glide thread. It has the same wonderful glow of rayon and my sewing machine and longarm love it!

  2. I love the sheen of trilobal polyester & my machine appreciates that it is so much sturdier than rayon. When I use rayon, I get lots of shredding, breakage & cussing when I quilt!! LOL

    • I love both Rayon and Trilobal polyester. Start with whichever works for you. Shredding usually means you have a burr somewhere on your machine or you need a new needle.

  3. Oh, PS: I love this quilt a long and all your tutorials, including your book!! I recently participated in a “Quilt Studio” tour for my guild. (Not that my small sewing/quilting room is actually a studio!!) So many people complemented me on the “Sailboat Sampler.” I recommended your web site/blog so often that I finally made a handout! Hopefully, you have lots of new followers!!

  4. I have had fabric store owners warn me off of rayon thread for quilting saying it’s not strong enough. Any comment on that? Bev Ottawa Canada

    • Your comment is very timely. After pulling out all my (gray) hair because of skipped stitches, shredding and breaking when quilting with Rayon thread, I’m off to the store to get more trilobal polyester. (I have been giving the thread the ultimate challenge by quilting through layers of fusible web and fabric, trying to quilt a fused flower quilt!) NO MORE RAYON for me!!! 😉

    • Rayon is not strong enough for piecing seams. But it is strong enough for quilting and other decorative stitching.

  5. Hi Lori– I have been asked to teach a FMQ class to my local quilt group in the fall. It is a group of about 20 women. We are not officially a guild, no officers, no shows, no speakers, just sharing ideas with each other. This quilt along would be a great way for me to introduce my group to machine quilting. So I want to ask your permission first. I would, of course, credit you and also promote your book and your blog. Please let me know. You can send me an email at the address given. Thank you. Robbi Imhoff

  6. I received your latest book and I love it !!! Thank you for your quilting example and for personal note! Have already used your designs!
    Thanks again !

  7. Question I have wanted to ask for a long time… LOL… Lori. in your photographs, the stitches appear long to me. My setting would have to be a 4, 4.5 or 5 to produce a stitch that long. But maybe this is an illusion for me. Maybe it is the close up photography producing that effect. Or maybe it is the length the stitch becomes as a side effect of the free motion movement. Can you clear up the mystery for me? Have you ever had to measure the length of those stitches ? I understand in FMQ, no length is set. Thank you.

  8. Hi Lori,
    I discovered your beautiful FMQ Designs on Pinterest recently due to my interest in
    teaching myself FMQ. Love your designs. I have quilted my quilts over the years using Sulky Rayon Thread. After a few years, I discovered that a family members quilt was losing all the FMQ Designs because the Rayon thread was breaking. I feel that Rayon is just too weak a thread to last, if you want to actually use the quilt. I’m considering Polyester or Cotton. Is there any reason not to use either for FMQ?
    Thank you for your wonderful designs and tutoring. I plan to get your book, as well.

    • PS: I was mortified when I discovered the FMQ was coming off the quilt. I now worry that all the quilts I’ve given as gifts, have done the same thing..

    • I like polyester and cotton too. I love wonderfil’s Mirage. Superior’s Magnifico and Aurifil 28wt cotton.

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