Sunday, September 9, 2007

How come I never knew??

How come I never knew you could make half square triangles from the same width strip of fabric that the matching whole squares get cut from? Last week (instead of blogging!) I was watching a video (is that the right word?) of Elisa Wilson of Back Porch Designs over on Quilters TV and she was showing this method of cutting them using a special ruler. The 45 degree tip has the "dog ear" marked on it and you put this above the strip of fabric and then cut on the diagonal. You get a half square triangle to sew with one dog ear already cut off. Then Janice came to club with this "Half and Quarter" ruler from Fons & Porter she had got in USA on her recent travels to do the same job. It also cuts quarter square triangles from the same width strip.

I have seen a picture of it in the Fons and Porter magazine, but they were only showing the half square triangle bit. They didn't show that the squares get cut from the same strip. I don't have this ruler and haven't seen them available in New Zealand. BUT I do have a triangle ruler for doing side setting triangles. I improvised with a bit of masking tape using Janice's ruler as a guide and had a go:

Two 3 1/2" strips of fabric right sides together:

My triangle ruler with the improvised bit of masking tape at the top:

Two half square triangle units cut and the matching 3 1/2" square. Notice how the left hand tip at the top of the first one, and the bottom right hand tip on the second one, is cut off:

Because I have 2 strips of fabric right sides together it is a snip to pick up these nits and sew without pinning. Here they are. Notice the dog ears in the top right hand corner but not in the bottom left:

The two half square triangle units and the two squares placed ready for sewing:

The finished unit. It is supposed to be 6 1/2" unfinished. Mine is a little on the small side so I guess I need to work on the tip and/or my 1/4" seam!

And four of them make this very nice block"

Now what I want to know is who thought this idea up and how come I haven't seen (noticed?) if before !! Do I need to get myself the Fons and Porter version or will my home grown version cut the mustard?

I feel a quilt coming on!


jill said...

You know there's a way to sew the HST before you cut them too, right? I'm not very good giving directions I only half remember but I do know it's done.

Karol-Ann said...

Two squares right sides together and a line drawn on the diagonal. Sew a 1/4 inch on either side of the line and then cut on the drawn line is how I do it, but a fancy ruler is nice too.
Love the blocks, hope you don't mind if I file the idea for future reference (i.e. put on my long list of nice things to do LOL)

janice said...

thanks for the emailed link (! :-)) to the video Helen - i've bookmarked it to watch later. Yeah, I guess that's why you don't see this method mentioned much, mostly we do the 2 squares together and sew before cutting as mentioned in the comments above. To do it from the same strip you wouldn't be cutting squares, you'd be cutting rectangles and it gets a bit complicated then.

janice said...

not for a mathematician like yourself of course, but for the rest of us...

DubiQuilts - Debbi said...

Another good way to HST, thanks for the link to the video.

atet said...

Ooooh -- thanks for the tip. I may have to look into that ruler, though I tend to either do the squares and/or "cheat" and use thangles or some such!

meggie said...

That looks a good idea to me. I have just bought myself a triangle ruler to try some of Wanda's quilts.