Being a fairly new quilter, it’s hard to know what tools I need and which ones I can leave on the shelf. For example, I’ve noticed that there is a ruler for just about everything. Many of them are marketed as “must haves” and promise to make piecing simple, fast and perfect. Do they work? Are they worth the expense? Are they easy to use?
After recently completing a quilt top, I was left with a pile of large scraps. Scrappy pillows are a favorite quick project, so I decided to use the scraps to make half square triangles for the front of a pillow. I’ve made half square triangles once before using a method I found online that promised to be easy. Cutting them was simple. However, as I sewed the blocks together, I discovered that every edge of the block was on the bias. I had to be very careful to avoid stretching the fabric as I sewed.
While working at Quilt Expressions, I’ve heard many of our customers and staff rave about the Quilt in a Day 6-1/2″ Triangle Square Up Ruler. I decided to give it a try for my scrappy pillow.
For this project, I wanted my half square triangles (HST) to measure 3″ when they were sewn together. Looking at the chart included with the ruler, I was able to determine that I needed to cut my squares 8″.
Step One: Prepare the 8″ squares.
Step Two: Place two squares, right sides together, on your cutting surface. Using your preferred marking tool, draw diagonal lines on the wrong side of the fabric. Pin the two squares together.
Step Three: Sew 1/4″ on either sides of the diagonal lines with matching thread.
Step Four: Press to set seams.
Step Five: Lay on cutting mat. The Olfa 12″ x 12″ rotating cutting mat is perfect for this project.
Step Six: Cut squares horizontally and vertically and then cut on each diagonal line. You will end up with eight triangles.
Step Seven: One thing I really like about this ruler is that the triangles are just slightly larger than they need to be. The directions stated that I needed to trim my triangles to 3-1/2.” Find the 3-1/2″ line on the ruler and lay it on top of the stitching line. Trim off excess.
Step Eight: Trim off the dog ears at a 60 degree angle; avoid cutting the seam.
Step Nine: Press open. My HST measures 3-1/2″. Once they are sewn together, they will measure 3″.
Now it’s time for the fun part! If you are under the assumption that half square triangles belong only in a pinwheel block, do a quick search for “HST” on Pinterest. You’ll be amazed by the number of ways they can be arranged.
I was very pleased with the simplicity of the Quilt in a Day ruler and would recommend it. It’s easy to use, creates 8 HST units for each pair of squares, and, for those of us who might not piece perfectly, I like that the units must be trimmed to size. The ruler is also versatile. With just one ruler, I can make HST from 1/2″ to 6-1/2.”
Quilt in a Day also offers a 9-1/2″ Triangle Square Up Ruler.
Karen and Della created a video on the ruler a couple of years ago. If you’d like to see more about the ruler, including how Karen used it to create an entire quilt using the ruler and scraps from another quilt, click here.