Tutorial: The Magical World of HST

One of the most used and versatile techniques in quilting is the Half Square Triangle, aka HST. The number of quilts you could make with only HST could count to infinity. They are easy, colorful, and can be playful or subtle. My favorite part about HST is making them 8 at a time. It's satisfying to follow one set of instructions and, in the end, have a total of 8 HST units. It's quite magical!

I just finished a new Homebody Quilt. This pattern uses many HST. In this post, we will walk through these magical steps, share some color ideas for the Homebody quilt, and in the end, offer you a FREE GIFT to get you on your way to making at least 8 HST if not so many more!

How to Make 8 HST at a Time

You will start with (2) fabric squares the same size, different colors. (We will talk about specific sizes later in the post.) For ease of understanding, let's call the fabrics I'm demonstrating with "light" and "dark."

  • Draw diagonal lines from corner to corner on the light fabric.

  • Place the light fabric right side together on top of the dark fabric.

  • Sew 1/4" from both lines on both sides. You will have a total of 4 sewn diagonal lines.

  • TIP: Sometimes your square is wrinkled after sewing. Go ahead and run the iron over it to smooth it out for more accurate cutting.

  • Using a quilting ruler and rotary cutter, cut on the drawn lines from corner to corner.

  • Then cut down the middle from top to bottom.

  • Lastly, cut down the middle from left to right.

  • You now have (8) folded HST.

  • Unfold each HST and press the seams open with your iron.

  • Using a Square Off Ruler, line up the diagonal line across the center seam.

  • I'm demonstrating with a 6" x 6" square off ruler and trimming to a 3 1/2" square.

  • Make sure the square is bigger than your desired size on all sides on the ruler.

  • For example, look at the left and bottom guide lines. See how they go beyond the 3 1/2" mark?

  • Trim the right and top sides.

  • Rotate your unit 180 degrees.

  • Now line up the HST to the desired size.

  • See how the left and bottom now line up with the 3 1/2" marks?

  • Trim the right and top sides.

And that's the magic! Very simple instructions with a growing number of HST. Just think about it...if you repeat these steps one more time, you're already at 16 HST! I told you it's magic.

These same instructions are in the Homebody Quilt pattern. So now that you know how to make these, you're halfway to finishing this quilt!

Homebody Quilt Shadow Mock Ups

In addition to teaching you how to make the HST 8 at a time, I also wanted to go over how to choose fabric colors for the Homebody Quilt. I used to just randomly choose fabrics for a quilt and hope it looked good in the end. Sometimes I was lucky and others times, not so much. Once I started designing more patterns, I realized that there is an art to how you use your fabric and colors.

Nowadays, before choosing any colors, I like to make shadow mock ups. I use only white, black, and gray to feel the "motion" of the colors as well as see how they interact with each other. Here are two shadow mock ups for the Homebody Quilt.

  • For this one, the main color is dark (black) with the accent color being medium (gray).

  • Then I used light (white) for the background.

  • For this one, I switched the dark and medium.

  • Now we have the main color being the medium and the accent color is the dark.

Homebody Mock Ups

It always amazes me how different the quilts look simply by switching some colors around. Now that we have the light/medium/dark in place, I wanted to leave you with some Homebody Quilt mock ups with more color. Your eyes are now accustomed to seeing the light/medium/dark so you'll notice these shadow patterns even with color added.

  • Here are some solid ideas that will hopefully spark some ideas for you.

  • This first one has dark as the main color, medium as the accent, and light for the background.