QAAQG Quilt Along Week 4 – Half Square Triangles

  1. By Nico Laudenberg

March 7, 2021

Have you told you lately that you love you?

How are you?

Did you do the center medallion yet? Well, then you are officially a hero! We hope that you are patting your shoulder at least three times a day. We also hope no younger kids grabbed some nice new cuss words from you – but, on the other hand, they might become quilters one day, so they’ll need these words anyway. Speaking of kids, the photo shows you another good reason to chain piece and make good use of HSTs.

You didn’t have time or courage to tackle the center? That’s fine, you can do it this week. Others did it before you, and you will do it, too. Shout out if you need some moral support, we are here for you (best through Instagram, FB-group or

And there is more good news: It just gets easier after you fought through the center piece. Did we say easier? Well, yes, the next blocks are way less challenging. But the rows get longer and longer… ok, let’s save that for later.

There are so many ways to make HSTs.

You can sew together two triangles, duh! But the skinny corners of those might be tricky to handle, as they are likely to get sucked into the machine’s stitch hole. This is especially annoying with the large holes that the fancy machines with great stitch width have. If you have such a machine and you are looking for something to treat yourself to: consider buying a straight-stitch plate for your machine. It just has one single, round hole for the needle to go through. That’s what all straight-stitch machines have, for example the Featherweights. They can’t even do a simple zig-zag or such, but since there is no space for any fabric getting sucked into the hole, they do a fantastic job on normal straight stitching. This makes sewing, especially the beginning of a new seam, so much easier. Well, we got carried away.

There are ways to avoid the tedious corners, anyway. Most quilters take advantage of HST-hacks. These are the most popular:

Make two at a time:

  •  Take two squares, right sides together
  •  Mark one diagonal line
  •  Take a ruler and mark with any pen (this is the cutting line and will be mostly cut away later anyway)
  •  or iron a pleat
  •  or fold over and just finger press said pleat
  • or eyeball it
  • or go to any home improvement store and get yourself a laserpointer. Attach it to your sewing machine and follow the light. Look here!
  •  Sew two seams 1/4’’ on both sides along the line you marked
  • Now cut apart on your center line
  • Press both pieces open. Trim to 2-1/2″
  • Ta-daa– HSTs!

OR: Trim before open. Use the corner of a ruler and align the seam line of your still folded HST with the 2-1/2’’ mark of your ruler, trim, fold open and press. This is the go-to way for many of us.

And there are other ways out there. You can also make four HSTs at a time. Rob Appell has a good video showing how to make both 2 and 4 at a time or watch Jenny Doan at Missouri Star Quilt Co showing the technique.

If you prefer an old school tutorial without moving pictures: Andi Stanfield has one on her blog True Blue Quilts

And this video is extremely helpful when it comes to trimming and pressing the HSTs.


You can make HSTs any size with this simple formula: Add 7/8’’ to the finished size (as opposed to the raw size).

Let’s see how it works:

Our HSTs will be finished 2-1/2’’ square (raw 3’’ square-ish)

So we add 7/8’’ to the finished size, and begin with 3-3/8’’ squares (2-1/2’’ + 7/8’’) to end up with wonderful 2-1/2’’ HSTs.


Improv Alternative

You can just skip all that measuring, pressuring precision and do it freestyle.        Here is how:

Eye-balled Half-Square Triangles

Take triangle-ish pieces, sew them together and trim to a 2-1/2’’ strip. Or two approximately 3’’-squares right sides together. You don’t even need to draw a center line, just eyeball it. And you will see how hard it is to go wonky!


What’s next?

Enjoy this easygoing task this week. You deserve some calmer times after all the cutting and cussing. Keep posting and chatting on social media, but never forget to use #gaaqgqal

If you want, you can attach the unpieced border after you made the HST row and you are good to go.

Watch for the next blogpost or newsletter next Sunday (don’t forget to check and double check your secret boxes: spam, trash, junk, promotions folder!).

Not comfortable with Instagram yet? Need a little refresher? Find our Instagram slideshow here: Instagram Tutorial

Do you want more and meet some of your fellow quilt-alongers live? Let us know –, we’re happy to set up a Zoom meeting to hang and chat together!

Stay happy,
Gena Loyd,
Nico Laudenberg and Nancy Frye

Reach out and connect:

Email:         Instagram: @gaaqg         Hashtag: #gaaqgqal

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This post was written by Susan Schwandt

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