Half square triangles (HST) are basic shapes in quilting. You can make full quilts using just HSTs.
They can be made with different techniques: the traditional two at a time, 8 at a time, and my favourite and flexible way to make any amount of HSTs you like at once.
Today’s video demonstrates how to make HSTs using a grid.
For today’s block we need 12 HSTs so I made a grid 2 H x 3 W. This translates to 2 x 4″ = 8″ and 3 x 4″ = 12″.
So cut 2 pieces 8″ x 12″ in contrasting fabrics and get going! I added 1/2″ to each measure – I prefer trimming than being short.
Finished HST size: 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Starting squares: 4″ x 4″
How to calculate the size of the grid
To make HSTs in bulk you need to use the Two HSTs at a time chart below to calculate the size of the grid you need.
Select the finished size of your HST, eg 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″.
The starting square for a finished 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ HST is 4″ x 4″.
Using 4″ x 4″ as the starting size and the number of HSTs you need you can calculate the grid size.
Let’s say you need 36 half square triangles.
Each 4″ x 4″ square makes 2 HSTs, therefore you need a grid with 18 squares (36 divided by 2).
Using the multiplication tables you can work out how many rows and columns you need to make a grid with 18 squares.
In this case I can think of 2 grids to get 18 squares:
- Option A: 3 squares x 6 squares, or
- Option B: 2 squares x 9 squares
Tip: On the site Research maniacs you can enter any number to see which combinations of two numbers multiplied will equal that number.
Now that you know the grid you need to obtain 36 HSTs you need to work out the size of the 2 fabric panels.
How to calculate the size of the fabric panels
Multiply your starting square (4″) by the grid height (3): 3 x 4″ = 12″
Then multiply the starting square (4″) by the grid width (6): 6 x 4″ = 24″, so your 2 panels will be 12″ x 24″.
The other option requires 4″ x 2 = 8″ and 9″ x 4″ = 36″, so your 2 panels will be 8″ x 36″.
This method is very accurate but you may choose to add 1/4″ to the panels.
Two HSTs at a time reference chart
|Finished HST size||Starting square|
My book Turnabout Patchwork
“Turnabout Patchwork. Simple quilts with a twist” is all about playing with blocks – making a block, slicing it up, and turning or repositioning the pieces to make a completely different block (sometimes two smaller blocks) to yield endless quilt tops.
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