Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

The other day I was playing with a Thrifty Quilter (TQ) pattern idea using a variation of the Sawtooth Star. This block requires eight 2.5″ squares for the star points. Unfortunately, I didn’t have very many sets of eight matching squares left in my 2.5″ bin.

Now, my self-imposed rule is that I can only buy one fabric for any TQ quilt I make, and for this one, that fabric was for the setting triangles and binding. What to do?

I thought about cutting up a few fat quarters that I had been saving for some project I haven’t thought of yet. That’s how stashes get out of hand, by the way. “Oh, I can’t use *that* piece. I’m saving that for a special project” is just one of the excuses I’ve used to justify a trip to the fabric store for “just a little bit” of the “right” color. Of course, I never take the fabric I’m trying to match along, so I come home with several “little bits” in various shades. Hence, my one-fabric rule. Okay, back to the point.

I happened to come across a small stack of 6″ squares left over from a guild exchange. Then I remembered my bin of 6.5″ TQ pieces.

A-ha!

In the Thrifty Quilter book, we use flying geese units for the star points. I can only cut four 2.5″ squares from a 6″ or 6.5″ square, which would leave me four squares short. However, I can make eight half-square triangles (HSTs) from two 6″ or 6.5″ squares. Here’s how:

Step 1: Pair light and dark 6″ or 6.5″ squares, right sides together. Draw two diagonal lines on the back of the lighter square and sew 1/4″ on each side of both lines.

Cut the square in half vertically, and horizontally. Note: The photos show a 6″ square being cut into 3″ squares. If you start with 6.5″ squares, you would cut them into 3.25″ squares.

Now cut each of the small squares on the drawn diagonal line. I like to press my seams open. You can press to the darker fabric if you want to.

Because these HST’s are larger than we need, we will trim them down to 2.5″. We did this in the “Overflowing Scrap Basket” blog post. Click HERE to go to that post.

Now we can sew pairs of these HST’s together to make the four flying geese units we need for the sawtooth stars!

To complete each block, you will need a 4.5″ square for the center, and four more HST’s for the corners. Notice I have four HST’s leftover from this second pair of 6″ squares.

Those four HST’s went into a second block!

So two 4.5″ squares and six 6″ (or 6.5″) squares will give me two 8″ star blocks.

The quilt I have in mind for these blocks will require 32 blocks for a crib-size quilt. You would need 59 blocks for a generous throw-size quilt – with a border it could be twin-size.

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Here are two more ways to make 2.5″ HST’s from TQ pieces:

If you need just a couple of matching HST’s, you can pair two 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles. Draw a diagonal line from the top left corner to a point 2.5″ in from the left on the bottom edge. Flip the piece around and repeat. Sew on these diagonal lines and trim 1/4″ from the seams. This gives you two matching HST’s.

Need four matching HST’s? Cut two 3″ squares from two 3.5″ x 6.5″ rectangles. Draw a diagonal line on the back of the lighter squares, sew 1/4″ from the lines and trim on the lines. Now you can trim these HST’s down to 2.5″.

If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to join the Thrifty Quilter group on Facebook, and “Like” my Facebook page, Sweetgrass Creative Designs.

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