Half-square triangles are the foundation for many quilt designs. Today, I’ll show you how to make super-easy 1/2-square triangle blocks the no-hassle way in my newest Sewing With Nancy series, No-Hassle Triangles Quilt Blocks.
During the first episode on Sewing With Nancy, learn to create six different blocks, all made with 1/2-square triangles. During the second episode—next week’s feature—learn about 1/4-square triangles. Here’s a sneak peek into this week’s Sewing With Nancy episode!
The Box Quilt (1898)
One of the more streamline quilt blocks to create from 1/2-square triangles is the Box Quilt. First illustrated in print in 1898, it’s created with eight 1/2-square triangle blocks and a square. The design has great movement, reminding me of a pinwheel.
Instead of making all the 1/2-square triangles from the same fabrics, stitch together three different color combos. I call this block, Shadow Play, where the fabric choices create the impact.
Godey’s Lady’s Book was a monthly magazine published in Philadelphia between 1830 and 1876. Before the Civil War, it was the most widely circulated magazine in the United States. Sarah Josepha Hall was the editor of the magazine from 1837 to 1877; she also wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” One of the designs featured in the magazine in 1858 was simply called, Godey Design.
Square in a Square
When researching quilt block names, I found literally dozens of quilt blocks named a Square in a Square. With seemingly limitless geometric options with squares, no wonder it’s a common name. Regardless, it’s an attractive block all designed with 1/2-square triangles.
May Basket is another frequently used name for a quilt block. I also found this block named, Cactus Flower. Your fabric choice will dictate the name. This version combines two sizes of finished triangles: 3-1/2″ and 6-1/2″, giving the block a center focal point.
This block may or may not be an original arrangement of 1/2-square triangles. My guess is that it has been created before, but since I couldn’t find it in print, I boldly named it Nancy’s Spool.
How to Make 1/2-Square Triangles
During the TV episode, I share how to easily make the above blocks as well as basic 2-1/2″, 3-1/2″, 4-1/2″, 5-1/2″ and 6-1/2″ half-square triangles. (Next week, learn 1/4-square triangle tips!) There’s no hassle and no need to cut a single triangle! The measurements are printed on the No-Hassle Triangles Gauge that I designed for Clover.
- Reference the left side of the No-Hassle Triangles Gauge to select a half-square block size.
- Cut crosswise strips of two fabrics—the size is printed on the No-Hassle Triangles Gauge. Cut strips into squares.
- Lay the No-Hassle Triangles Gauge onto squares to double-check the block size. If the block set is larger or smaller than the confines of the gauge, re-cut the blocks.
- Mark a center diagonal line through No-Hassle Triangles Gauge die cut openings.
- Stitch a scant 1/4″ from each side of the center marking.
- Cut along the center diagonal line.
- Presto, there are now two accurate 1/2-square triangles!
Watch No-Hassle Triangles (Part One and Part Two) on Sewing With Nancy online.
Make This Sampler Quilt at Home
The No-Hassle Triangles Quilt book shows exactly how to make the 12-block sampler quilt. Hint: the remaining six blocks will be featured next week. For best results, use the No-Hassle Triangles Gauge.
Bye for now,