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Perfect Points Sampler: Lesson Three (This discussion is available as PDF to download below - called Lesson 3 Posting Notes)

Lesson Three gets more challenging. The Bear's Paw and Friendship Star blocks are made with half-square triangles (HSTs). The one-inch finished size of the HSTs requires precise piecing and most likely a scant 1/4" seam allowance. The blocks are surrounded by frames to allow them to fit in the 8" finished framework of the sampler. This lets you practice maintaining sharp points set against another block or border.

A grid method is used to make the HSTs but you may make yours with individual pairs of squares or the method of your choice. Use a size larger than the one needed for 1" finished squares so you can trim them to the correct size for increased precision.

Please reread the positioning pin tutorial and hints on precision piecing if needed. This may be a time to try cutting the pieces one threadwidth larger than stated. Experiment with techniques for making HSTs to find one that works well for you.

HSTs too small? For quilt along members new to quilting, the Friendship Star block may be especially difficult. You can substitute a block made with fewer, larger HSTs. Pair individual  squares or use the grid from Step 7; make the squares 3" or even 3-1/4". Combine a lighter and darker fabric, draw the lines, sew, cut and press. Square-up to 2-1/2" square. Experiment placing them in different 2 x 3 layouts (the block is 6" x 8" finished). To substitute the Bear's Paw block, place the HSTs in a 4 x 4 layout to create a star or other pleasing formation. Neither block would have a frame.

Other Resources: Check out our tutorials on HSTs

Video Intro to Half Square Triangles (note swirling of seams for pinwheel)

Half Square Triangles: Specialty Tools

Wonder Cut Ruler Demo (the HSTs will have bias edges, consider making with bias strips)

Brenda Hennings Triangulations

June Tailor Perfect Half Square and Quarter Square Ruler Demo

Fons and Porter Half and Quarter Square Ruler Demo

Quick Quarter ll

Related Products: Here are some useful products for making HSTs and quarter-square triangles (QSTs) from the CT website. Hint - there are more HSTs and some QSTs in your near future!

Square Ruler: You will need a square ruler with a 45 degree angle line for squaring up! Check out the options for OmniGrip, Creative Grid (Olfa) or 81990 Fons & Porter Square Up Ruler. I will post a blog about rulers very soon...check the comment wall.

HSTs and QSTs:

81963 Half Square Triangle Sets  (smaller set for our lessons) and 81964 (haven't used them but great idea - would be my choice of tools)

81762 Sew Easy Guide (to guide your sewing of diagonal lines, even without drawing them)

90174 Triangulations 3 (useful for when you have lots, very small or odd-sizes; sewn on paper grid and but have to remove paper afterwards)

81907 Perfect Half Square and Quarter Square Ruler

81826 Fons & Porter Half Square and Quarter Square Ruler (cutting and sewing triangles)

81053 Quick Quarter ll (used to draw diagonal cutting and sewing lines)

81315 Wonder Cut Ruler (recommend using with bias strips to avoid bias edges on all four sides of HST or QST)

Lessons 4 & 5 Supplies: Just in case you want to order ahead; all are optional. Lesson 5 has paper piecing so you may want to order some foundation paper. Note: you could use it to draw and print your own grids for making HSTs and QSTs if  you like that method.

20712 C & T Simple Foundations Translucent Vellum Paper

Carol Doak's Foundation Paper 20824 Letter Size and 21139 Legal Size

90134 Carol Doak Teaches you to Paper Piece DVD (useful if you have never done paper piecing or want a review)

You may want a ruler with 60 degree angle for a surprise optional block...most 6-1/2' x24" ruler have it.

81849 Fons & Porter Binding Tool (discussed in Ann's Binding Basics tutorial)

81892 Perfect Binding Miter



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Replies to This Discussion

Good job!

Ugg!  All I can say is 'glad that's over!'...but at least I FINISHED!  Don't even look at the points on these...:(  I'm just happy they are in a block and not in the bin where they should have gone.  Please, no harder!! Did you notice that my big squares have directional fabric...that doesn't line up on the smaller triangle?  Hmmm...Here's the next set...they WERE tiny to work with!  Quilting over all these seams is definitely going to be a challenge!

And you know what?  I really have NO idea how to square up properly!  I can get close...and I think I learned how to do it on the diagonal 1/2 sq. triangles...but for a block like the friendship one, I don't know HOW TO SQUARE IT UP SO IT'S EVEN ON BOTH SIDES???? ANY HELP? I've searched for a tutorial but can't find one for blocks other than hst...

- Angie

Angie, What kind of ruler are you using? I tend to use a Omnigrid square one to square blocks up. I have 5 different sizes. I use the one that makes the most sense for the size of my block. If it's a perfect square, I try to use the diagonal line to help me too.

Angie- I thought about what you said and did a little mini-tutorial for you. My comments are in the pictures. The part that got chopped of read "... the smaller ones trim these two sides first."

Similar squaring up for HST's. I just had a spare QST sitting here I could show you with. I hope this helps. 

Nice 'mini' tutorial, Joy.  That should clear it up for us.  Thanks very much!

You are welcome. I just realized I didn't answer Angie's Question though! To square up for a rectangle, you do something very, very similar, but instead of using the diagonal, you need to try to preserve those 1/4 inch seam allowances for your points. So, you will be looking for your finished size, AND preserving those seam allowances as best as possible. I try to get my 1/4 dots on my ruler to be as close as possible to those points. Its hard, and sometimes you realize you have to be willing to sacrifice one or do some ripping (or a lot.)

Hi Joy!  First of all, thank you SO much for taking the time and effort to try and help me!  I had been checking the wrong 'week' for a reply (der) so then I saw this answer and am so appreciative!  Your diagrams are very helpful.  I kind of 'got it' for hst, using the diagonal...except...you've added the 'lining up the 2-1/2 on the diagonal' - I think I was missing that part.  I was using the 45 degree line only on one side and then flipping.  Also...adding the center point...I was missing that too.  So for the rectangles, that was my problem...I was seeing the instructions to square up to 'x' and just lopping it off to get the end size with no regard to the points.  Then I realized when it came time to sew that I couldn't use my 1/4" foot because I didn't have 1/4" left to sew without cutting into my points...negating the entire purpose of this quilt-along! (Does that make sense???)  So I kept thinking do I have to choose between the points and the end size???  So once again, thank you for answering me...I'll keep at it and this is the only way I will eventually learn!

- Angie

Angie, isn't it nice when the lightbulb finally goes on. I like those moments and Joy explained it so well.


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