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Thread: My tips for making HST's and not losing the points

  1. #1
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    I use a lot of HST's in my work and have for over 10 years nearly every day.
    So here are a few of the things I have learned.

    It doesn't matter what method you use to make the HST's however I think my cut down method is the most accurate.

    Cut down method and HST's

    I do mostly scrappy so we cut swatches and sew them together and cut out a square from the center.
    If I am making a lot of the same color HSTs I cut strips and sew two strips together. Open and iron the seam flat. Turn over center your template on point on the seam and cut out with your rotary. Make sure your template does not move as you cut. I use a mini mat and hold the template with the fingers on my left and swivel the mat between cuts with my right.
    You can continue to cut them out til you get to the end of the strip and then pull the strips apart and sew the other two sides together and continue to cut.

    Any leftovers we recycle into more blocks or smaller blocks.

    Ok now for the prevention list. These are things to watch and be aware of so you won't lose your points!! Accuracy and attention to detail will help keep those points from disappearing!

    1. Make sure your HST is truly square. If it is not gently trim it to square or as close as you can without losing the integrity of the HST
    2. Make sure the seam is exactly in the middle of both fabrics on the corners.
    This is one of the main reasons you will lose your points. If it is not exactly even on both sides of the seam then you need to gently trim to get it even.

    3. MAKE SURE YOU KEEP A 1 1/2" SEAM ALLOWANCE BETWEEN THE
    POINT AND THE EDGE OF THE QUILT BLOCK!!!!!!

    4. When you join two HSTs you need to look at the seams and match them as closely as you can. I like to tack them so they won't move. Pins still will allow things to slide a bit more than I like.
    5, Iron everything at every step. How can you get a good clean connection between blocks if the fabric is not crisply flat? If it is wrinkled at all it will affect the position of your pieces. If it is flat then you can better see what your are working on.
    6. Check the accuracy at every step. (example)- Take a look at the 4 patch you just joined together. Does it look like a square or a rectangle or even a triangle? Now is the time to fix anything that is not square. Don't get so caught up in the steps that you don't look to see if the quality of what you are doing is ok or not.


    Strategies to fix problem areas


    1. Sew along the seam to fix any uneven seams(tightening a seam)

    I chain sew and I join two's together. then I lay them on the table and look at each one and I pull any to the side that look like they are not straight lines.
    If they are bowed in the middle then I start at the middle of the seam and sew along the seam and sew a little more to the left or the right depending on which side needs to be tighter or looser so the two will lay together in a straight line. (pictures below)

    2. You can stretch cotton to some extent to make it fit.
    3. If you find you have a HST that the point is too close to the edge
    You can sew a seam along the first seam and the deeper seam will
    allow for a 1/4" seam allowance.
    4. If you have an HST that the point is too close to the edge and you
    really don't want to mess with fixing it you can use a scant 1/4" or
    a 1/8" seam to use as little of the fabric between the point and the
    edge as possible and still have a solid seam.











    Square HST where the fabric is even on the corners
    Name:  Attachment-41155.jpe
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    The fabric is the same on each side of the seam.
    Name:  Attachment-44379.jpe
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    The corner has one side of fabric bigger than the other side. This corner needs to be trimmed so the fabric on both sides of the seam are the same.
    Name:  Attachment-50429.jpe
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Size:  15.4 KB

  2. #2
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    Here is my cut down method with strips

    Middle picture is first step -Top pic is second -and last pic is last step
    Attached Images Attached Images



  3. #3
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    When you join two blocks

    Tack the corners so they can't move
    Name:  Attachment-41105.jpe
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    Sew again along seam to tighten the seam
    Name:  Attachment-41107.jpe
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    Check to make sure they are sewn together straight
    Name:  Attachment-41154.jpe
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Size:  49.7 KB

  4. #4
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    When you have points too close to the edge

    These have loaded backwards so start at the bottom.

    Go back and tighten the seam to a 1/4"
    Name:  Attachment-41122.jpe
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    Seam is not 1/4" I sewed a 1/4" so you could see where it would go
    Name:  Attachment-41153.jpe
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    Now you should have a point that won't disappear. Here again you can see where the 1/4" seam will go
    Name:  Attachment-55071.jpe
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Size:  79.8 KB

  5. #5
    Senior Member QuiltMania's Avatar
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    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the tips. I wish I would have known them before I did the bear paw I just finished.

  6. #6
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltMania
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the tips. I wish I would have known them before I did the bear paw I just finished.
    Well I'll tell you no matter now experienced or how well you try to prevent these things they still happen. I have two bear's paw coin purses I just finished and I lost a few points on them so nothing is ever perfect!!! no matter how hard you try!!!
    But if this helps someone to see what I do then I am glad and hope you get some good out of my experiences.

    Everyone has their own way of doing things but hopefully this is food for thought for people.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    Rhonda, this info is awesome. thank you, big time! :D

  8. #8
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    Rhonda: thank you for this information. I'm making Bear's Paw blocks right now and one of them lost so many points it looks like he had a manicure. I'm going back to remove and restitch. Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janRN
    Rhonda: thank you for this information. I'm making Bear's Paw blocks right now and one of them lost so many points it looks like he had a manicure. I'm going back to remove and restitch. Thanks again.
    You're welcome. I'm never sure where I get too perfectionistic for other people so I am never sure if I should pass things on or not.

  10. #10
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    Your lesson explanations and pictures are wonderful. I have a book by Sally Collins who states everything you have in your tips, especially #6. She stated that you don't want to get to the end of a row, and then find out your blocks are not the same size. She measures each part of a block before joining to the next part.
    Mary Ellen
    FL

  11. #11
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Wonderful tute Rhonda!!! Thanks for taking the time and for adding the pictures, too :D :D :D

  12. #12
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    Many Thanks for the fantastic tut

  13. #13
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emmy
    Your lesson explanations and pictures are wonderful. I have a book by Sally Collins who states everything you have in your tips, especially #6. She stated that you don't want to get to the end of a row, and then find out your blocks are not the same size. She measures each part of a block before joining to the next part.
    Mary Ellen
    FL
    Since I start out with the cut down method I don't generally check each block unless one is obviously not the same as the rest but I do measure a lot along the way.
    I pay particular attention to the corners(blocks and 4 patches etc all along the way) being square. If you are sewing along an edge that is not straight your seam will be off at the end where the block might have a bit of a flare to it or is too short etc. This is usually the first mistake that starts the whole thing rolling and when you look back you will see that it was crooked to begin with. I also make sure all along the way that the edges of each section is square and trim or fix it if it isn't before I add any more. If you fix your seams from the start so they are straight and square you will prevent a lot of frustration in the end.

    I guess I could have added this also.

    I don't sew in rows. Rows can get distorted. I sew into 4 patches and then sew two 4 patches together and then sew those 8 patches together. If you sew sections together rather than in rows you have a better chance of keeping things in a square shape. When you sew in rows it is like laying tile. Every small measurement that is off will be magnified by the time you get to the end of the row.
    If you sew in sections you can see right away if something is cockeyed because your 4 patch won't look squared up. So you will know to fix it now rather than get to the end and see a row that looks like a wiggling snake. Use a ruler to see if it is straight. Measure measure measure!!
    Prevents a lot of problems!! But remember NOTHING IS PERFECT! You notice I did not say noone is perfect!. That patchwork is just a thing! Not your identity as a quilter. It is a lesson in the road of quilting life. So enjoy the jouney! The bad teaches us a lesson and the good lifts our spirits so ENJOY it! Don't stress! Walk away and come back later if it is getting to you.

  14. #14
    Esqmommy's Avatar
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    What kind of ruler did you use there? I'm not familiar with "keychain" language. It looks small...what do you use when you want larger HST's?

  15. #15
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    I use templates. If you use my cut down method you sew two fabric pieces together and then use a square template of any size and cut out a square from the middle.
    You can use any method of making half squares that works best for you.

    I have templates made for me and I add a plastic grid to the back of them. I also have rulers that are 2" x 9". This is my favorite size to work with.

    I do miniatures so I use a 1 1/2" or a 1 1/4" acrylic template. The size of the HST can be anything you want. Just use a larger template.

    I offer the 1 1/2" and the 1 1/4" free to anyone who wants one. Just send me your postal address if you would like to try one.

    My free tutorials on the Quilted Paradise Newsletter
    http://www.quiltedparadise.com/n/230-jzl.jsp - cell phone case
    http://www.quiltedparadise.com/n/231-uzl.jsp - bookmarks
    http://www.quiltedparadise.com/n/232-uid.jsp - softbox pincushion 1st half
    http://www.quiltedparadise.com/n/233-uid.jsp - softbox pincushion 2nd half
    http://www.quiltedparadise.com/n/067-ezl.jsp - keychains
    http://www.quiltedparadise.com/n/038-oqk.jsp - mouse pad--star point

  16. #16
    Super Member SaraSewing's Avatar
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    How do you "tack" the points? Is that all by hand? Is there a gizmo to help? Doesn't it take forever - and is that really worth it? Sorry, I just am boggled at that much effort.

  17. #17
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    Sara tacking is just sewing a stitch to hold it in place. It doesn't take any time at all. I lay two "blocks" together and instead of pinning I use a needle and thread and put a stitch in the edge where the seam will go through. I put one on each end to hold the corners in place so they can't move when I sew the seam.
    It takes a sec or two longer maybe than putting pins in but not all that much and I think it saves alot of hassle. It keeps the seams in the HSTs matching and doesn;t let them drift under the needle. When you keep the seams matching your points will be where they are supposed to be and crooked or disappearing points won't happen. It makes the rest of your sewing go more smoothly.
    I thread several needles with thread and keep them handy in my pincushion. I think it is worth it.

    The stitch is just the same as sewing a button on. Just put the needle through and draw it through again and clip it off. It keeps things from shifting.

    The goal with HSTs is to keep a 1/4" seam allowance between the point and the edge of the square. If things are not in place that is when you lose the 1/4" seam allowance and the closer your point is to the edge the more of it you will lose. So a stitch in time saves nine!!



    This is a star point block and it is tacked at the ends where the seam will go through and at the middle so the seams stay in place.
    Name:  Attachment-41605.jpe
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    This is two HSTs tacked at the sides.
    Name:  Attachment-41606.jpe
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  18. #18
    Super Member SaraSewing's Avatar
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    Thanx. That makes more sence to me now. I think I"ll try it!!!

  19. #19
    Super Member Iluv2quilt's Avatar
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    I agree with you, I too am a perfectionist. I will not hesitate to rip a seam if it is wrong or wonky. Sewing in sections does reduce the amount of mistakes and eliminates the need to rip large seams. Truly square HST's is the key. The tips you wrote are priceless, thank you so very much, I really appreciate it!

  20. #20
    Super Member ania755's Avatar
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    :oops: :oops:

    What is HST ????....

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ania755
    :oops: :oops:

    What is HST ????....
    half square triangles

  22. #22
    CRH
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    Ronda: Thanks for the tips as I seem to be doing a lot of HSTs lately!!

    I don't understand #3- Be sure to keep 1 1/2 inch seam allowance between the point and the edge of the quilt block. Could you explain?? THanks!

  23. #23
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRH
    Ronda: Thanks for the tips as I seem to be doing a lot of HSTs lately!!

    I don't understand #3- Be sure to keep 1 1/2 inch seam allowance between the point and the edge of the quilt block. Could you explain?? THanks!
    Sure. If you sew your HSTs together and you see that your point is closer to the edge than 1/4" then you need to redo that seam on that end so you have a 1/4" seam allowance between where your point ends and the edge of the joined fabrics. If you leave your point too close to the edge then you will lose that point when your seam goes through.
    The other option is to use smaller seams. But you need to have the same seam allowance throughout the whole project.

    If my point is too close to the edge - I take out just about half of the seam in a 1 1/2" block and look at the corners of each of the two blocks I am joining to see if the seam in one block's corner does not go through the corner evenly(as above) or if it was stretched out of shape or wasn't cut quite square. these things will make your HSTs distort and you get a crooked join which will in turn pull your seam out of whack.
    You need to make sure: an overview of my process thinking!

    1 your block has a seam going evenly to the corner
    2 your block is square
    3 your seam in your HST was straight
    4 Tack the HST's together
    5 Check to see if your corners are meeting right before you sew
    With pins you can't do this but with tacks you can open up the HST's
    and see whether everything is in place correctly.
    I don't do this every time but if I have one that is slightly off I check
    to see why and can fix it now before I sew it.
    6 Sew with as straight a seam as you can. If it is off ( sometimes you can hit a snag or something and it will throw your needle off a little) you need to go back and straighten it.
    7. Check to make sure the two blocks are straight with each other If not sew another seam along the first one and straighten any areas that were dipped or crooked. A lot of times I have a tendency to have one end of the joined blocks seem to be wider than the other end. As the picture above. So I go back and tighten it so they lay in a staight line when laying on the table.

    8 I always lay my quilt block down and look at it and straighten any seams that have been alittle too wide or too crooked even after I have my quilt top pieced. Before I use it in a project of course.

    9 If you see a block that is rippling even a little that means that seam needs to be tightened.

    10 I use my fingers and pinch a seam in to see where the problem area is. If I have part of a quilt block that looks like it is leaning to the left or right I will pinch in where the last joining seam (where you have joined 2 four patches for example) and see if that is what will fix it if you were to tighten that seam.


    Sorry I know this is more than you asked but I thought I would pull it all together with some thoughts on how I do it.

  24. #24
    CRH
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    THanks!! Guess I have been doing some of these things, but nice to have it in 1-2-3 order to diagnose a problem!! Thanks again for sharing your tips!!

  25. #25
    Power Poster Rhonda's Avatar
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    You're welcome. Mine are not perfect but it helps to do as much prevention as you can. I HATE to rip seams so I try to keep a watch on it as it goes together. A bit annoying to do but worth the time.

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