For the Island Batik Ambassadors “Try It” Challenge, I’m pleased to share a technique for making half-square triangles (HSTs). I wish I had thought of it, but all of the credit goes to Beth Helfter of EvaPaige Quilt Designs. I honestly cannot recall how our quilting paths first crossed, but we are both former members of the Quiltmaker Magazine “Scrap Squad” and both of us have more or less built our design careers around scrap quilts.
The most common way of making HST units is to begin with two squares, draw a diagonal line on one, sew 1/4″ on both sides of the line then cut on the drawn line. This gives you a pair of identical HSTs. But Beth wanted each HST in her project to be unique. She could have just cut all of the squares diagonally and mixed them up, but then she’d be dealing with all of those bias edges. Her solution is nothing short of genius. She calls it Accordion-Sewn HSTs. She even wrote a book about it!
Because this is Beth’s technique, and because it’s one that’s easier to understand if you see it done, I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch her tutorial videos:
I was intrigued, so I ordered the book and whipped up a quick star block. That’s all it took, and I was hooked…and looking for other scrap blocks I could use the accordion technique on. The first one I came up with was the “O, Scrap!” block.
I should note that all of the scrap fabrics used in this post are Island Batik prints.
I really like that blue star block from Beth’s book, but I don’t like the big “blank” space you get when you set the blocks side-by-side. I decided to try to add dark triangles in the corners. The challenge with this block, which I called “O, My Stars”, was figuring out how to stack my squares so I’d wind up with the specific combinations I needed.
I have big plans for that block, so I cut a mess of my Island Batik scraps into 4.5″ squares with my AccuQuilt Go! die cutter. It’s going to be an ongoing scrap project for a while, though, because I got another bright idea.
I had most of a 10″ stack of the Island Batik “Lavendula” collection left over from my February miniature quilt project, so I cut all of those squares into 5″ squares and made a modern-style lap-size quilt .
I made three 16″ “Oh, Scrap!” blocks. I considered renaming the larger block “The Big O”, but chickened out. Beth would’ve done it. I also made two extra side strips. I sewed the blocks and extra strips into one long row, then added a 16.5″ wide strip across the top and a 40.5″ wide strip on the bottom. The result will be a 56″ x 72″ scrap quilt. The binding will be either teal (more likely) or purple.
All fabrics in this post were supplied by Island Batik Ambassador sponsors. The project is sewn with Aurifil thread, and the batting is Hobbs Heirloom Cotton blend. AccuQuilt has GO! dies for both the 4.5″ and 5″ squares I used in this project.
Have I convinced you to try the Accordion HST technique? You’ll want to order your very own copy of Oompah! or the technique sheet from EvaPage Quilt Designs. You may want to check out her Facebook page as well. Do me a favor and tell Beth you heard about it here on Seams Like a Plan. Pretty please?