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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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 11 – Pixie Dust

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It’s Monday, so that means it’s Summer Sampler day! Ready for Block #11?

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This week’s block is Pixie Dust by Kelly Bowser of Kelby Sews. This week we’re going old-school with half-square triangles, and a whole lot of them. My favorite thing about this block is how geometric it is, yet still so starry!

This week’s tip is a doozy you guys: It is pay attention to what you’re doing. I know that doesn’t sound like much of a tip, but it bears repeating with this block! If you want to make the color placement look like the mock-up, you really do have to pay close attention to the written instructions and the diagrams in the pattern. You’re basically making some units that are mirror images of other units, as you can see from mine in the photo.

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It’s not a difficult task—it just requires close attention to what you’re doing. Without that, this block is a prime candidate for one of those where you sew it together wrong and don’t realize it until the whole darn thing is done. LOL. And as always, remember that the key to this block is accurate trimming. These units are trimmed in the exact same way as hourglass units, so click here to revisit my tips for trimming.

Have fun with this week’s block! And thank you,Kelly, for designing such a pretty addition to the quilt! If you’d like to play along, click here for all the details, and don’t forget to hashtag your posts #summersampler2017.

 

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Summer Sampler 2017: Block 5 – Alchemy

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It’s Monday, so that means Block 5 of Summer Sampler 2017 is here! This week’s block is Alchemy by AnneMarie Chany of Gen X Quilters.

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I did the block in the 6″ size this week, and found it to be surprisingly fun and easy, even in the smaller size! Cool block too—I would love to make a whole quilt out of this one! (Want to make this block? Join the Summer Sampler 2017 quilt-along right now! Click here to join.)

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This week I’ve got a time-saving tip. When you’re making a lot of half-square triangles (as you do in this block), save some time and skip marking the backs of the squares. Instead, put a piece of tape down on your machine bed (I used some fancy orange washi tape, but duct tape or masking tape will work just as well). Make sure one edge of the tape is directly in line with the needle.

Then, as you’re sewing, keep the corner tip of the fabric squares aligned with the edge of the tape as you stitch from corner to corner. If you need to sew directly down the center of the square, leave your needle aligned with the edge of the tape. If you need to sew 1/4″ out on both sides of the center (as is required with this block), move your needle position 1/4″ over.

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Then trim and press as normal!

Happy sewing, and see you next week for Block 6! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #summersampler2017 to share your progress!

 

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Love All Around

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About a week ago, my friend Lee from May Chapelle sent out a call to action—she wanted all of us to help her bring some love and positivity to the world on January 20. The idea is that she’s going to make this block—the Love All Around block—every time she sees an act of kindness in her community in 2017. She’s hoping to end the year with a gigantic, epic quilt.

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I can’t think of a better way to spend this particular day than talking about an idea like Lee’s. There’s so much negativity in the world right now. Anger, defensiveness, and self-absorption are rampant—and I’m not talking just about the political arena. It’s everywhere right now, in all walks of life. There are a lot of ways I’m hoping to help change the world in 2017, but this block is a pretty great place to start, don’t you think?

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Want to make your own? Head over to Lee’s blog for a complete tutorial for making this block. And check IG for lots of other versions of this block, made by many of your other favorite bloggers! Let’s bring the love today!

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Christmas Ornament Mini-Quilt

img_9579Happy December, you guys! If you’re looking for a quick, fun little holiday project, head over to the Bernina blog today for a complete tutorial to make my Christmas Ornament Mini-Quilt!

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It uses super-simple raw-edge appliqué, so no need to worry about curved piecing, and the half-square triangles in holiday brights give it a clean, modern look.

While you’re enjoying that, my goal for the day is to finish the Christmas decorations around my house. Have a lovely Monday!

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Summer Sampler 2016 Block 13: Diamond Ladder

IMG_8967 This week’s Summer Sampler block! It’s a skill-builder block, courtesy of Faith at Fresh Lemons Quilts. : )

Half-square triangles and a few flying geese—that’s it! But of course those are both units that you see in quilt designs over and over again, so it’s always good to get in some more practice.

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And somehow, these simple shapes add up to a unique design. One of the things I love so much about a block like this!

Still want to join in the Summer Sampler fun? Don’t worry, you’ll get all 13 previously-released blocks immediately, plus the 7 remaining blocks delivered to your email inbox every Monday! Click here to subscribe.

And as always, check the #summersampler2016 hashtag to see everyone else’s beautiful blocks!

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Lady of the Lake Blocks from Sister Sampler Quilts

Happy Monday! I hope all of you out East have managed to dig out a bit, but I hope in the meantime you got some good stay-in-and-sew time. : ) We didn’t get any snow at all (much to my kids’ disappointment), but I got in some quality time with my machine yesterday anyway. And the results of my afternoon’s work: These Lady of the Lake blocks, with which I am now totally obsessed.

Lady of the Lake is a classic block from the new book, Sister Sampler Quilts: 3 Modern Sampler Quilts with Paired Sister Blocks,
by AnneMarie Chaney of Gen X Quilters. I love the flexibility of a good sampler book—make one block, make them all, or mix-and-match to your heart’s content! Sampler books are always a good resource to add to your library, and give you a lot of bang for your buck. (If I do say so myself, having co-written one of my own!)
And AnneMarie’s book is even more flexible than most, offering up instructions for 24 blocks, each in two different sizes (9″ and 12″ finished). I made my Lady of the Lake blocks in the 9″ size. Check those cute little half-square triangles. : ) AnneMarie’s method of making the blocks in “sister pairs” makes things go quickly and efficiently.
Another feature that makes this book a great resource are the fun and creative layout ideas for each of the three samplers. This one, the Bonfire Sampler, is my favorite!
I found the instructions for the Lady of the Lake block to be straightforward and easy to follow. As usually happens when I try to make just one or two blocks, I’m now dying to make a bunch more of these. All out of this fabulous Blueberry Park fabric, like the first two!

Click here to purchase from Amazon. And go visit the other stops on the Sister Sampler Quilts Blog Tour, listed below!

Monday, January 18  
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters – Introduction
Sara Lawson / Sew Sweetness
Tuesday, January 19 
Leah Day / Free Motion Project
Brenda Ratliff / Just A Bit Frayed
Wednesday, January 20
Faith Jones / Fresh Lemons Quilts
Angela Pingel / Cut To Pieces
Thursday, January 21
Lynne Goldsworthy / Lily’s Quilts
Amy Friend / During Quiet Time
Friday, January 22
Christa Watson / Christa Quilts
Violet Craft
Monday, January 25
Lee Heinrich / Freshly Pieced
Melissa Corry / Happy Quilting
Tuesday, January 26
Karen Lewis / Karen Lewis Textiles
Wednesday, January 27
Sherri McConnell / A Quilting Life
Melissa Mortensen / Polka Dot Chair
Thursday, January 28
Friday, January 29
Cindy Wiens / Live A Colorful Life
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters – Wrap Up
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WIP Wednesday: Steppin’ Out

Happy Wednesday! I took a spur-of-the-moment, completed unexpected trip to South Carolina earlier this week to visit my grandma, so I’m a little behind on all things sewing-related, and have about 8 trillion things to do between today and Friday. So let’s make this a quick one!
These guys are sitting on my cutting table, waiting to be trimmed down and turned into Modern Maples blocks.

But before I get back to my maple blocks, my top priority is making step-outs for a class I’m teaching on Saturday in Minneapolis. Yep, it’s going to be step-out central up in here today.


LINK-UP RULES:

1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/lee.a.heinrich). Please hashtag #wipwednesday.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!
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WIP Wednesday: Modern Maples

It’s Wednesday! What’s happening out there in WIP land?
This week I’m breaking out some maple leaf blocks for a really fun, special project. I’ve been working with fabric designer Allison Beilke and AIGA Wisconsin on a fabric design contest—the contest winners’ designs were all printed onto fabric by Modern Yardage. And now for the fun part (for me, anyway): I get to use all the prints in a quilt!

 

The contestants were asked to design prints inspired by Wisconsin’s natural beauty. And yes, that is a mosquito jacquard in the bottom right. : ) (It doesn’t get more Wisconsin than that!) I was hard-pressed to think of a better setting for Wisconsin-inspired fabric than maple leaf blocks.

And I’m still plugging away at my kaleidoscope blocks! They’re coming along nicely.


LINK-UP RULES:

1. Link up any blog post or Instagram photo from the past week that features an unfinished work-in-progress (WIP).
2. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen, and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is www.instagram.com/lee.a.heinrich). Please hashtag #wipwednesday.
3. If you are linking to a blog post, please link back here to my blog somewhere in your post.
4. Comment on at least a few of the other WIP Wednesday links, either IG or blog—commenting on the two or three links directly before yours works well to make sure everyone gets comments!