My Overflowing Scrap Basket

In The Thrifty Quilter, I show one way to make half-square triangles (HST’s). I’m often asked if these units have to be made using this method when making the blocks in the book. No, they don’t. I went with that particular method because it was easy to use for any size HST needed in the book. To be honest, it isn’t even my favored method. 

For those who don’t have the book, I’ll explain the method used there, first:  

Step one: Take two 2.5" squares and place them right-sides together. Draw a diagonal line on the back side of the lighter square.

Step one: Take two 2.5″ squares and place them right-sides together. Draw a diagonal line on the back side of the lighter square.

Step two: Sew ON the line and trim 1/4" away from the seam.

Step two: Sew ON the line and trim 1/4″ away from the seam.

Step three: Open the HST unit and press. I almost always press my seams open, but you can press to the darker triangle if you prefer.

Step three: Open the HST unit and press. I almost always press my seams open, but you can press to the darker triangle if you prefer.

That’s it…three easy steps. Of course, there is a down-side to this method, in that you use two squares to make one HST, and you wind up throwing away a pretty good-sized piece of each square. Few of us would cry over the tiny “waste” triangles from a 2.5″ HST, and I have discovered that if you save the waste triangles from 3.5″ squares, you can actually still make a 2.5″ HST from them. The leftovers from a 4.5″ HST would give you enough to make a 3.5″ HST.

Now, here is the method I use most often. Take the finished size of HST you need and add 1″. Since the HST’s I’m using in this block are 2″ finished, I need 3″ squares to start. Of course, I have a Thrifty Quilter bin full of 3.5″ squares, so I’ll just use those.

Step one: Place a dark and light square right-sides-together, draw a diagonal line on  the back of the lighter square and sew 1/4" on each side of the line. Cut the triangles apart on the drawn line.

Step one: Place a dark and light square right-sides-together, draw a diagonal line on the back of the lighter square and sew 1/4″ on each side of the line. Cut the triangles apart on the drawn line.

Step two: Press open. You need a ruler with a 45degree diagonal line that goes into the corner. Lay this diagonal line on the seam, making sure the portion of your square under the ruler is larger than 2.5" (or the desired size of the HST you're making). Trim the right and top sides.

Step two: Press open. You need a ruler with a 45degree diagonal line that goes into the corner. Lay this diagonal line on the seam, making sure the portion of your square under the ruler is larger than 2.5″ (or the desired size of the HST you’re making). Trim the right and top sides.

Step three: Flip the HST around and lay the ruler down again with the diagonal line on the seam. This time, the sides you just cut should line up with the 2.5" vertical and horizontal lines on the ruler. Again, trim the right and top sides.

Step three: Flip the HST around and lay the ruler down again with the diagonal line on the seam. This time, the sides you just cut should line up with the 2.5″ vertical and horizontal lines on the ruler. Again, trim the right and top sides.

There are a couple of advantages to using this method. First, you get two HST’s from two squares with less waste. Second, the HST’s are exactly the size you need. The bonus: no dog ears to trim!

So, let’s fill a scrap basket with HST’s, shall we?

To make this 10″ block, you will need:

Nine 2.5″ HSTs that are half print and half white

Six 2.5″ HSTs that are two prints

One 4.5″ HSTs that is half brown and half white

Two 2.5″ brown squares

Two 2.5″ x 4.5″ white rectangles

The pieces for the Overflowing Scrap Basket laid out.

The pieces for the Overflowing Scrap Basket laid out.

Sew the pieces into units as shown above. You can see this leaves you with four square units that are sewn together first. The sew the strips of white/print HSTs to the right side and top to complete your Overflowing Scrap Basket block. 

"My Overflowing Scrap Basket", designed by Anne Wiens, Sweetgrass Creative Designs. 2013

“My Overflowing Scrap Basket”, designed by Anne Wiens, Sweetgrass Creative Designs. 2013

Make two of these blocks, and over the Labor Day weekend, I’ll give you a tablerunner pattern to make with them!

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “My Overflowing Scrap Basket

  1. I like this! It is different from other flower baskets, and your basket is NOT the usual clunky HST. This is how we arrange flowers – you let them drape over the vase. Very good. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. vicki

    Cute block. You might want to double check your numbers. I think you need 6– 2.5 HST that are two colors and only one 4.5 brown and white hst. Thanks for idea for scraps.

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  3. thank-you!

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  4. My guild handed out different flower basket patterns every month this year and I’m turning mine into a QOV. I’m adding your block to the collection! Beautiful!

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  5. This is such a great original block! I love it and will definitely be making some. What fun it will be to fit them into a quilt!

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  6. marci357

    Oh, THANK YOU for making me understand these triangles FINALLY! QUilting for over 40 years and scared to death of triangles…NO MORE !!! HOORAY!!!!

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    • I’m glad I could help, Marci. Start piling up those HST’s…I think you’ll like the tablerunner pattern I’m working on.

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  7. I try to print this and it would not print, it also lock my computer down. I ask my husband to print it from his computer and it did the same way. I would love to print it. Has anyone else said anything about not printing.

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  8. I love your pattern and made two so far.

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  9. Dorothy Holt

    That would make my Daughter a great quilt.. and I can use scraps!!

    Like

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