HST Block of the Month

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Welcome to the Half-Square Triangle Block of the Month! For each month in 2012, I'll present a quick tutorial for a traditional quilt block using half-square triangles (HST)! It's going to be a lot of fun, feel free to join in at any time!

I want to give you a little more information on what to expect and what you'll need before we dive into January's block!

- New blocks will launch the first week of each month.
- Each block will be the standard 12.5" unfinished quilt block. 
- Tutorials will include instructions for two different Half-square Triangle methods, Traditional and Alternative. (Don't worry, we'll talk about both!)

Half-Square Triangle Block of the Month - In Color Order
HST Block of the Month, a photo by jenib320 on Flickr.
- Approx. 2 yards total print fabrics OR 2+ charm packs OR 1 layer cake
- 1 1/4 yards background fabric
- 2/3 yard sashing fabric
- 1 yard border fabric
- 3.5 yards backing fabric
- 1 3/4 yard batting
- 1/2 yard binding fabric

Finished Quilt: 54"x67"

Sewing Level: Intermediate

I am slightly hesitant to list all of the materials needed for this quilt for two reasons:

1. The HST method you choose to use will make a difference in how much fabric you need. If you use the traditional method, you can more easily take advantage of pre-cuts: charm packs and layer cakes. If you use the alternative method, which uses larger squares, pre-cuts won't work very well!

2. I want to encourage you to work from your stash on this project! I'm taking a semi-scrappy approach to my quilt and will be sharing scrappy sashing, border, and backing tutorials. So, you may want to hold off on buying all your materials just yet! :)

My recommendation is to work from a healthy stack of fat quarters. I think this will give you the most flexibility in terms of which method you use as well as give you plenty of variety in your quilt!

Choosing Fabrics
Here is the stack that I'm using for my quilt and for our tutorials! I started with a few navy prints from Tula Pink's Prince Charming and pulled colors from there. Lots of yellows, yellow-greens, turquoise, and more navy fabrics. I made sure not to choose any fabrics that have a white background color, so that I get maximum contrast in my HSTs.  I'm using Kona Snow for my background fabric.

You can interpret the blocks however you'd like, but in general I think working with color stacks of 3, 4, and 5 colors will be the most effective!

Half-Square Triangle Methods
Half-Square Triangle Block of the Month - In Color Order
Block of the Month: January, a photo by jenib320 on Flickr.
Like I mentioned above, I'll be providing cutting measurements for two different HST methods. Let's talk about both:

1. Traditional Method - This seems to be the most common way to create HSTs. You start with two squares (1 background, 1 print), and place them right sides together. Using a ruler and pencil, you draw a line across the diagonal on the top square, sew 1/4" on either side of the line and finall cut on the line creating two HSTs.  You can see my tutorial for this method here.

2. Alternative Method* - This is my current preferred method for making HSTs.  This method still uses two squares (1 background, 1 print), but they are larger.  You place them right sides together, and sew 1/4" all around all four sides. Using your ruler, but cut along both diagonals, creating four HSTs. You can see Christina's tutorial for this method here. I'll be sharing more about this method later this month!

*A few of you have expressed concern over this method as your HSTs end up cut on the bias. At the end of this video tutorial for the method, the instructor suggests using starch to help make sure you don't have any stretching when you sew your HSTs together. I have never had any trouble with this method, but if you're uncomfortable with it, I'd recommend sticking with the Traditional method.

 The method you choose to use is totally up to you! Both give you the same result, and you still have to trim using both methods!

Half-Square Triangle Block of the Month - In Color Order
Block of the Month: January, a photo by jenib320 on Flickr.
Most if not all of the quilt blocks I'll be sharing with you are traditional in style. I managed somehow to not write out any of the block names as I was collecting blocks for this project. I'm going to try to find the true names after we get started! Many of them I found with the help of The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jimmy Beyer and the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman. Both are fantastic resources!

I've created a page for this quilt that you can find in the header! It will have the button, which I'll also provide below, as well as links to each month's block!

If you'd like you can grab a button for your blog here:

Finally, if you'd like to make extra blocks and a bigger quilt, consider using one of these three free quilt settings:

Over And Above Quilt Setting Tutorial

Blockade Quilt Setting Tutorial

Interlaced Quilt Setting Tutorial


  1. wow! i love this idea! though i don't have a stash of fabric. and i have like a million of projects going on. but maybe i'll try and jump aboard once i get my ducks in a row.

    love your color choices.

    i've been wanting to make a quilt with purples and browns... this could make a good excuse!


  2. Jeni, how can I resist jumping in? Thanks so much for all your work to make this happen.

  3. I am just getting into quilting and I think I might just have to join in on this one. I am a sucker for any sort of (fill in the blank) of the month type things.

  4. If the first block is anything to go by this is going to make a great quilt! :))

  5. I love the fabric with bikes on it - and all the turquoises!

    Unfortunately I too have 3 other quilts (2 tops, 1 in blocks) to finish before I am letting myself start something new. :(

    I'll try to catch up in about April.

  6. The only down side to the big-square-into-four blocks method is you end up with all your edges being on the bias. Have you had to pin them a lot to keep them from shifting?

  7. This looks so fun. I put the button on my blog and will be saving your patterns. Wish I could start now, but I have tooooo many irons in the fire.

  8. This looks like fun, Jeni! I may have to play along. I love your color choices, too. Do you know who that aqua gingham is by? I have been searching for that and I have a couple blocks on hold until I find it! Thanks!

  9. This sounds like fun, and only having to do one a month doesn't sound stressful, so I'm going to give it a try!


  10. Hi Jeni & George!

    I picked up your button and added it to my blog. I'll be along for the ride!


  11. Wow, a QAL I could actually do - matches my skill/confidence level perfectly :D Thank you thank you thank you!

  12. Isn't the grain wrong if you use the 2nd way???

  13. I just put the button on my blog. I'm excited to learn all the different options for HST's!

  14. I am going to jump in and give this one a go!

  15. I love that you threw the orange in there. If I were picking fabrics from the Prince Charming as inspiration, I would never have thought to add in some orange since there is no orange in Prince Charming. But it works SO well.

  16. so so excited to get going with my blocks and your quilt along! I think i might try both hst options and make 2 quilts so that by end of the year i'll have a quilt for each daughter~yay!!

  17. Added your button to my blog.
    Love the look of this, I am a little scared of HST so this is a challenge for me.

    Now of to choose fabrics, which niece / nephew will get this for Christmas?????????

  18. Do you always use white as a background color? I used a light green and it seems to overpower the other colors. Mine will be a Christmas quilt.

  19. Omigosh! I ended up here via a link to a specific block from One Pretty Thing, and I'm in love with this! Your tutorials are so wonderful, the blocks are great and I'm really excited! I'm usually more of a "do all the things all at once and not sleep for a week!" kind of person, so doing one square a month (after my race to do 6 to catch up) might be a good learning experience. Wheee, so awesome!

  20. Love this!! I'm a beginner to quilting and your tutorials are fantastic! I can't wait to run and get some fabrics. Maybe I'll aim for 1 a week til I catch up! Thanks!

  21. I jstt found this and I am currently doing my first ever block of the month program... but I am going out to buy the fabrics since I don't really have a stash and start this one as well.

  22. I'm so excited to start this! I need to buy more fabric!


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