Monday, 12 March 2018

Patchsmith Sampler Block 2 - Guiding Star and the HST

Block 2 ‘Guiding Star’ is made up of four 'Friendship Stars'. This block uses 1½" half-square-triangles (HSTs) making it an ideal block for experienced patchers.  However, don’t be put off if you are new to patchwork – I have a helpful tip for making those small HSTs. (Experienced patchers may wish to scroll down to the end of this post for pressing tips for this week's block.)
A Friendship Star Block made using four HSTs

A half-square-triangle (HST) is a square made up of two triangle halves. They are great for creating all sorts of patchwork block patterns so making them to size is a good skill to master.
Nine HSTs come together for this pretty block.

There are many ways to make them but the simplest is to mark a diagonal line on the wrong side of one square of fabric. Lay the marked square, right sides together onto a contrasting fabric square and stitch along the marked line. Finally trim ¼” away from the stitched line and press open to create a HST.
I use a Frixion pen to draw lines onto fabric.
It disappears when ironed. 

However, making small 1½” HSTs can be fiddly so my tip for new quilters is to make the HSTs larger than needed and trim them down to size. (You will need a quilter’s ruler with ¼” or ½” markings, a rotary cutter and a cutting mat.)  

1.         Make a HST using the method detailed above using one 2½” square of background fabric and one 2½” square of contrasting fabric .  The HST should measure approximately 2½” square.  Don’t worry if it doesn't measure exactly 2½” square as we are going to trim it to size.
2.         Position the HST onto the cutting mat so that the seam is aligned with a 45° diagonal marking on the mat and the left-hand edge overlaps slightly one of the vertical lines on your mat.  If your mat doesn’t have 45° markings position the HST as straight as possible onto the mat.
I use a Fiskars small rotating cutting mat for my sampler blocks.

3.         Trim the left-hand side of your HST by lining up the ruler with a vertical line on the cutting mat.  (I trimmed the left-hand side but you can trim either side.)
 Trim one side of the HST using a line on the cutting mat.

4.         Next line up the 1½” line on your ruler (indicated by the arrow below) with the trimmed side and trim the right-hand side. 
The black arrow indicates the 1½" line on the ruler.

5.         The HST is now a rectangle measuring 1½” wide. Turn the rectangle on its side for the next step. 
You no longer need to keep the seam aligned with the 45° mark.

6.         Line up a horizontal line from your ruler the bottom straight edge of the HST as indicated by the black arrow. The cutting edge of the ruler should be positioned at the point where the seam meets the cutting board as indicated by the red arrow.  Trim as shown.
The black arrow shows the bottom edge aligned with the ruler.
The red arrow shows the point where the HST seam meets the cutting board.

7.         Finally turn the HST a half turn and line up the ruler as you did at step 5 so that the cutting edge is at the point where the seam meets the cutting board (as indicated by the black arrow) and the 1½” line on the ruler aligns with the left-hand side of the HST as indicated by the red arrow.
The red arrow shows the side edge aligned with the 1½" line on the ruler.
The black arrow shows the point where the HST seam meets the cutting board.

8.         Make that final cut to create a HST measuring 1½” square.
A perfect  1½" HST.

Before I finish just a quick tip for pressing the seams for this block.......

In the book I have recommended seam pressing for the individual Friendship Stars as shown below. This helps with seam matching and reducing bulk.   

However, when putting the four Friendship Stars together to create the Guiding Star block you will find it easier if you press the seams of the top right and the bottom left Friendship Stars in the opposite direction to that shown above.  You will then be able to nest the seams.  Alternatively you could press all seams open.

Pretty in pastels.

Next week is the turn of the mouth watering Watermelon block when I shall introduce quick corner triangles. Until then don't forget to post your block photos over on Instagram (#block2guidingstar) or in the Flickr Group.  Until then ......  

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