Perfect HSTs with no marking or trimming, in a fraction of the time!
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Perfect Half-Square Triangles In Less Time!

Perfect HSts without marking or squaring up, in a fraction of the time!

Happy Monday! I’ve got something super exciting to share with you all today! It’s my method of making perfect half-square triangles (HSTs) in a fraction of the time, with no marking diagonal lines or squaring up the finished units! Yes, really. LOL.

I’m calling it “Perfect HSTs.” Perfect HSTs is an instant-download PDF that includes the following, all for only $7.99:
• Templates to make half-square triangles in 10 sizes (finished sizes of 1″, 1-1/2″, 2″, 2-1/2″, 3″, 3-1/2″, 4″, 4-1/2″, 5″, 6″)
• Complete step-by-step instructions for using the templates, with photos
• Fabric requirements and a cutting chart for all 10 sizes, in quantities of up to 300 HSTs each—so all the quilt math is done for you!
• A quick-and-easy pillow project pattern that you can make in less than two hours, using my templates

Perfect half-square triangles with no marking or squaring up - in a fraction of the time!

As we all know, HSTs are in just about every quilt design out there. : ) And these templates have been my go-to method for making them for ages, since it’s so fast and makes them perfectly. It’s what I used when I made the my mom’s quilt that I posted about last week.

If you’re familiar with half-square triangle papers, my PDF templates basically work the same way. But since I’m offering it as a PDF, you pay one price for TEN different HST sizes, ranging from 1″ to 6″ finished. You can print as many as you need for all eternity—no going back for more pre-printed papers when you run out—and the templates are specifically set up for printing on 8.5″ x 11″ paper.

Here’s how it works:

Perfect half-square triangles with no marking or squaring up, in a fraction of the time!

1. Print the template.

Download the “Perfect HSTs” PDF and print out the template in the size of your choice.

Be sure to print your template at ACTUAL SIZE (100% scaling). This setting can be found under “Page Sizing and Handling” in the print dialogue box (“Shrink to Fit” is often the default, which will result in HSTs that are too small!). After printing, use a ruler to check the template’s 1” scale (see below) to ensure the size printed accurately.

I print my templates on standard office paper/copy paper, or try printing on blank sheets of newsprint for even easier tearing later on. (Here’s a pack of 500 sheets of newsprint paper for $8.74.)

Perfect half-square triangles with no marking or squaring up, in a fraction of the time!Perfect half-square triangles with no marking or squaring up, in a fraction of the time!

2. Cut out the fabric and the templates.

Cut two pieces of fabric to the size specified on the template, and trim the templates on the outer dashed line. The template size is designed to approximately match up to the size of the fabric pieces you will be using.

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3. Stack fabric and template.

Stack two pieces of fabric, right sides together, as shown above. Place trimmed template on top of the stack, printed side facing up.

Perfect half-square triangles with no marking or squaring up, in a fraction of the time!

4. Sew.

Turn down the stitch length on your sewing machine—I set mine at about 1.5. (The shorter stitch length will help you tear off the paper when you’re done stitching.) Sew on the dotted lines that say “Sew here,” through all three layers (two pieces of fabric and the paper template).

Perfect half-square triangles with no marking or squaring up, in a fraction of the time!

Perfect half-square triangles with no marking or squaring up, in a fraction of the time!

5. Cut.

Using a rotary cutter and quilting ruler, cut along the solid lines marked with scissors icons. Cut the template’s vertical lines first, then the horizontal and diagonal lines.

Perfect half-square triangles with no marking or squaring up, in a fraction of the time!

6. Remove paper.

Carefully remove the paper by folding it back along the stitching and then tearing it along the seam line.

Perfect half-square triangles with no marking or squaring up, in a fraction of the time!

7. Press open.

That’s it! Perfect HSTs in no time flat!

Want to give it a whirl? Click here to download the Perfect HSTs PDF! And if you give it a try, I hope you’ll post about it on Instagram with the hashtag #perfecthsts. Perfect HSTs work great ANY time you’re making HSTs and with any existing pattern, but I’m also planning to put out some patterns that specifically use Perfect HSTs—one is already in the works! So I hope you enjoy the templates, and have a wonderful week!

Perfect HSTs without marking or squaring up, in a fraction of the time!

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HST Quilt for a Kidney Donor (My Mom)

HST Quilt for a kidney donor

I’m finally getting around to blogging about a special surprise quilt that I made over the holidays!

For the past several years, my mom’s husband has been dealing with declining kidney function. The doctors had been keeping an eye on it for some time, but unfortunately there isn’t much that can be done for people whose kidneys are failing, apart from dialysis or kidney donation.

Long story short, he eventually got to the point that he needed a kidney transplant, and upon investigation, they learned that my mom was a match and could donate one of hers. The transplant was a few weeks before Christmas, and things are going well for both patients! But going into it, my mom (who had never had surgery before and never even spent a night in the hospital apart from when my sister and I were born) had a request. “Could you please bring me a quilt?” she asked. “Just any quilt you have sitting around will be fine.”

HST quilt for a kidney donor

I don’t know, it didn’t feel right to bring her just ANY old quilt. LOL. I felt like this was an occasion that called for one made especially for her! So I got out my bundle of Essex Yarn-Dyed Linen (the Pond color coordinates), and this was what came out of it. The background is all Kona Snow and Kona Ivory.

HST quilt for a kidney donor

After years of working in bright colors, I have to say I’m really feeling the softer, more subdued neutrals in this quilt! Some of the Essex Linen I used was the metallic linen, which has a little bit of a sparkle to it, so that jazzed things up in a really good way. I love how it all turned out.

HST quilt for a kidney donor

I played around with the color placement a lot on this quilt. I liked the idea of not making it a straight graduation of color—I threw in some of the neutral half-square triangles at strategic spots in order to give the design a little more depth. (Also making it a little trippier for when she was on pain meds. LOL.)

HST quilt for a kidney donor

As you can see, the entire quilt is made out of 4″ half-square triangles, set on point. Making all those HSTs actually wasn’t AS painful as it could have been—I made some templates for fast HST stitching that worked great! No marking diagonal lines on the backs of the squares and no squaring up afterwards. In fact, my next project is to make up a PDF with the templates I used, for any of you who are interested in making HSTs the same way.

HST quilt for a kidney donor

Here are the blocks, slowly coming together on my design wall. I was working from a digital mock-up that was on my computer screen. This quilt took major forethought and planning to put it together correctly!

HST quilt for a kidney donor

I finished it off with my go-to quilting method recently: Straight diagonal lines about an inch apart. I’m loving straight-line quilting lately! I use masking tape to mark off the first line somewhere close to the center of the quilt, then just set the quilting guide on my Bernina 770 and go. As a bonus, because the blocks were on point, the seam lines on this quilt helped guide me and keep me from getting off track as I worked my way along.

My mom is now enjoying this quilt as she and her husband make their recoveries.

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25% off all digital patterns, Cyber Monday only!

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I hope all of you in the U.S. had a wonderful holiday weekend filled with food and fun! Now it’s time to shop. : )

I’m offering 25% off on all digital patterns, TODAY ONLY—including all three Summer Sampler patterns—with promo code CYBER25! This is the best deal we’ve ever offered on the Summer Samplers! So head over to my shop to get yourself some deals: https://freshly-pieced-quilt-patterns.myshopify.com/discount/CYBER25. If you’ve been eyeing my Instagram-based Mega Quilt-Along (one Summer Sampler block per week now through next October), this is a great way to jump in!

My co-authors Katie of Swim Bike Quilt and Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts are offering the same sale as me, using code CYBER25, so stop by their shops too. And don’t forget to check out Pattern Drop, Katie’s new pattern subscription service! A great way to get premium modern quilt patterns delivered to your in-box every month!

Now go get yourself some bargains.

 

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Exciting New Pattern-of-the-Month Club – 2 Months Free!

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Hi friends! Today I’m excited to be posting about an amazing new pattern-of-the-month club called Pattern Drop!

My co-author, frequent collaborator, and good friend Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt created Pattern Drop, which offers a new PDF quilt pattern every month for an amazingly low price—as low as $6.99 per month!

Pattern Drop will be offering high-quality, modern patterns from some of your favorite designers (including me—I’m Miss February!), as well as commissioning brand new patterns that will be available only to subscribers. (January’s quilt is a gorgeous pattern that is available exclusively to subscribers.) Plus you get access to members-only deals, a private Facebook group for subscribers where you can share your progress and chat with fellow quilters, and much more!

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Pattern Drop‘s first quilt of the month is Amy Smart‘s Hopscotch pattern, which will be sent to subscribers in December. Hopscotch is one of those patterns that looks much more complicated than it actually is—which to me is the gold standard for quilt patterns! LOL. So if you sign up for Pattern Drop now, this will be the first PDF delivered to your in-box!

And even better: If you sign up for an Annual Membership, you’ll get 2 months free! Just use coupon code 2FREEFP. You already get two free months when you choose an annual membership, so that means you actually get 4 free months! Four completely free patterns just for signing up now. And the best part of this discount is that it’s a forever discount, meaning that each year you renew, you’ll get the same low introductory rate! But hurry, because this offer expires on December 5, and it will not be repeated at any time after that. Click here to sign up!

For more information about how it works, visit thePattern Drop website or Katie’s website. Happy sewing!

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Mega Sampler Quilt-Along!

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So, my Summer Sampler 2017 is done, but I’m feeling a little lost without a regular weekly block to make. Lol. So Katie and I decided to take on another sampler project! Remember this mock-up that Faith made? Yes, Katie and I are doing it! And we hope you’ll join in our insanity (or at least watch it unfold!).

This mock-up is EVERY SUMMER SAMPLER BLOCK that Katie, Faith, and I have put out, over the course of three Summer Sampler patterns—2011 (the original quilt-along), 2016, and 2017. It’s 49 blocks in all! When I saw them all together like this, I knew I needed to do it.

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And so we are: One block a week. Who’s in?

Hopefully most of you already have the Summer Sampler patterns! If not, they are available here. And for a limited time, if you order two or more Summer Sampler patterns, we’ll give you $5 off. Just enter the promo code “MEGA” at check-out. (Please note that the 2011 blocks are also available for free in blog posts—click here for links to all the posts—or you can purchase the 2011 blocks in one convenient PDF.)

My plan is to just post the blocks as I finish them on my Instagram feed, which you can follow here. I’m starting the week of Oct. 16—the schedule for the first several months is below. I’ll be posting my blocks under the #megaquiltalong hashtag and I hope you will too! You can also post your blocks in the Summer Sampler Facebook groups (the Facebook groups are available to verified pattern purchasers only), and I’m sure I’ll be updating you on my progress here occasionally as well.

MEGA QUILT-ALONG SCHEDULE
(The first several months of it, anyway.)

Week of Oct. 16
Star of Virginia (by Katie Blakesley, Swim Bike Quilt)
Summer Sampler 2011, Block 1

Week of Oct. 23
Turkey Vulture (by AnneMarie Chany, Gen X Quilters)
Summer Sampler 2016, Block 1

Week of Oct. 30
Millcreek Star (by Katie Blakesley, Swim Bike Quilt)
Summer Sampler 2017, Block 1

Week of Nov. 6
Greek Cross (by Faith Jones, Fresh Lemons Quilts)
Summer Sampler 2011, Block 2

Week of Nov. 13
Summer Slice (by Allison Harris, Cluck Cluck Sew)
Summer Sampler 2016, Block 2

Week of Nov. 20
Tilted Star (by Karen Lewis, Karen Lewis Textiles)
Summer Sampler 2017, Block 2

Week of Nov. 27
Mosaic (by Lee Heinrich, Freshly Pieced)
Summer Sampler 2011, Block 3

Week of Dec. 4
Snow Cone (by Nicole Daksiewicz, Modern Handcraft)
Summer Sampler 2016, Block 3

Week of Dec. 11
Celestial Star (by Holly DeGroot, Bijou Lovely)
Summer Sampler 2017, Block 3

Week of Dec. 18
Flower Garden Path (by Katie Blakesley, Swim Bike Quilt)
Summer Sampler 2011, Block 4

Week of Jan. 1, 2018
X Spot (by Faith Jones, Fresh Lemons Quilts)
Summer Sampler 2016, Block 4

Week of Jan. 8
Rosetta Star (by Lee Heinrich, Freshly Pieced)
Summer Sampler 2017, Block 4

Week of Jan. 15
Star Block (by Faith Jones, Fresh Lemons Quilts)
Summer Sampler 2011, Block 5

Week of Jan. 22
Sugarhouse (by Katie Blakesley, Swim Bike Quilt)
Summer Sampler 2016, Block 5

Week of Jan. 29
Alchemy (by AnneMarie Chany, Gen X Quilters)
Summer Sampler 2017, Block 5

 

 

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Summer Sampler 2017: A Finished Top

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My Summer Sampler 2017 top is complete! Yay!

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I really hope you all enjoyed this project as much as Katie, Faith and I did! It was a labor of love for us, as always. I love how these blocks came together in exactly the way that we had hoped.

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I’m not gonna lie: The blocks aren’t the end of the work involved here. LOL. The “filler” blocks (the flying geese, sawtooth stars, etc.) are simpler, but still time-consuming! Still, I love love love how dynamic the finished design is. Truly starry and dreamy. : )

And so our 2017 quilt-along officially comes to a close. But we love seeing the finished quilts, no matter when you might happen to finish yours! If you enjoyed this quilt-along, keep an eye open for future announcements from us, because we’ve got more up our sleeves! And even though the quilt-along is done, you can still buy the pattern to make this beauty on your own schedule. Click here to purchase—I’ve put all the weekly release files into one complete (and large!) PDF to make it a little easier on latecomers.

Thank you again to everyone who quilted along with us!

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 17 – Shimmer Star

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This is it—the last block of Summer Sampler 2017! Can you believe it?

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Shimmer Star is by Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts.  I like how the different-sized sections in this one give it a unique look. A great way to finish out the quilt-along!

For my final block tips of the quilt-along, let’s talk about lining up those points where the sections come together. Not the easiest task, but with 17 weeks of practice behind you, I know you all can do it!

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Once again, I recommend leaving the paper on your paper-pieced sections as you piece them—this is personal preference, but I find it helps with this type of block. As you’re pinning the sections together, fold back the seam allowance right where those points need to meet up.

As long as your seams intersect right at the point where the next seam will go through, you’re golden (like mine do in the photo above). Pin and sew, keeping those sections lined up where the seams meet. For now, don’t worry about whether the ends of the sections align. It should all turn out fine in the end!

I hope you guys have enjoyed the Summer Sampler 2017 quilt-along! Next Monday, we’ll be releasing the instructions for finishing the quilt, so stay tuned for that!

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 16 – Plaid Star

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We’re on Block 16 of Summer Sampler 2017! This week you get to make Plaid Star, designed by me!

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We’re back to “normal” piecing again this week with Plaid Star. I’m sure you’re all relieved. : ) I designed this block to be geometric, yet multi-dimensional and with a layered look.

I don’t know, you guys—after 16 weeks, I’m just about out of tips here. LOL. I think the key to this block is really all about pressing your seams. Just follow the arrows in the pattern, and you should be good to go! As always, I like to press seams open unless there’s a compelling reason to do otherwise. In this case, pressing seams open for the center and corner units gives a nice flat, crisp look, while pressing seams to the sides during the block’s final assembly will give you nesting seams and accurate seam alignment where it counts.

I’ll meet you back here next week, same time, same place, for our final block of Summer Sampler 2017! Can’t believe it’s here already!

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 15 – Skipping Star

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We’re in the homestretch on Summer Sampler 2017!! This week we’re doing a paper-pieced block called Skipping Star, designed by Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts.

Like Block 10, Spring Star, this block has a kaleidoscope-style construction, where it’s pieced in wedges. This can be challenging to get the hang of, but if you haven’t done many blocks like this, it’s a good chance to build on the skills you developed making Spring Star! I would recommend revisiting the Spring Star post for my tips on aligning the wedges accurately. All the same things I said about Spring Star apply here too!

IMG_1983One of the nice things about this block, Skipping Star, is that there’s only one seam that needs to line up as you piece the wedges together. (Right where the blue meets the darker purple in my block above.) So as you’re joining your paper-pieced units in Skipping Star, that is where your focus should be. Line up those seams and the rest of the block should come together too.

Should, of course, being the operative word here. : ) On my first attempt at piecing the center of Skipping Star, my points didn’t even come close to touching! So here is my tip if that happens to you: Take all of the paper off (if you haven’t already, then unstitch only in the center, about 1″ to 1.5″ inches in each direction. Leave the rest of the block stitched up, especially if that part looks good! Then realign the center as needed and restitch. My second attempt, when I was concentrating only on the center and had all the paper off, looked good to me, and hopefully yours will as well!

Want to make this block? Click here for all the details! See you next week!

 

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 14 – Saddle Star

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We’re on Block 14 of Summer Sampler 2017—when did that happen? : ) This week’s block is Saddle Star, designed by Katie Blakesley of Swim Bike Quilt.

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And check it out, it’s my last block in the 6″ size! I’ve decided I have a love-hate relationship with these little guys. They’re such a pain, but somehow so satisfying when they’re done!

Anyway, for this week’s tip, when you’re making the hourglass unit at the center of the block, I would suggest pressing seams toward the aqua fabric, rather than open as the pattern suggests. It’s all really just personal preference, but I find hourglass units just come together better when seams are pressed to sides, and you can nest them together when sewing the second hourglass seam. So if you’re having trouble getting that center point nice and neat, pressing seams toward the darker fabric might just do the trick.

That’s it! Want to make this block, but haven’t signed up for Summer Sampler yet? You still can—just click here! When you make the purchase, you’ll receive a link to download all of the blocks that have been released so far. It’s instant gratification! : ) See you next week for Block 15!