Half Square Triangles (HSTs) and Quarter Square Triangles (QSTs): What’s the difference?

Half Square Triangles - Quarter Square TrianglesI’ve been asked to repost my explanation of the difference between Half Square Triangles and Quarter Square Triangles. Here it is:

Half square and quarter square triangles differ in several key ways. At the most basic level, they differ in the number of times you cut the square diagonally. A half square triangle is cut only once; a quarter square triangle is cut diagonally twice.

How many times you cut the square not only affects the size of the triangle but also determines where the bias edges of the triangle will be. When you cut a square in half, the two sides that form the right angle of the resulting triangle (the short sides) are on the grain line. When you cut a square in quarters the only side on the grain line is the long side opposite the right angle.

Why are grain lines and bias edges so important? When piecing you want to make sure that the sides of your blocks and block units are not made up of bias edges. If they are “on the bias”, your block may stretch and you won’t get the precision you are looking for.

To make each, take the finished size of the square you want and add:

for half square triangles, add 7/8″;
for quarter square triangles, add 1 1/4″.

If you want a four inch finished HST, start with two 4 7/8″ squares. If you want a four inch finished QST, start with two 5 1/4″ squares.

Many quilters start with larger squares and trim down the finished unit to the proper size. For example, if they want a three inch finished HST, they will start with two four inch squares, instead of two 3 7/8″ squares. Do whatever gives you the most accurate finished product.

Just another note on terminology: each triangle is called either a half square triangle or a quarter square triangle. When you sew two half square triangles together, you get a triangle square. When you sew four quarter square triangles together, it is often called a quarter square triangle unit or an hour glass unit.

Hope this helps!

What I did on my summer vacation

Yes, it has been a while since our temperatures were anywhere near summerlike. Let’s just say that due to unforeseen circumstances my summer was extended a little past late September and right on through October. And here it is November. It’s never too late to write that back-to-school essay.

I had an exciting summer and it included being chosen, along with two other quilters, as a winner of Arrow Sewing Cabinets “Banish the Blah” contest. Arrow, which makes both Arrow and Kangaroo cabinets, was in need of three quilts to decorate their offices, and offered prize money toward the cabinet of your choice as a prize. Banish the BlahNaturally, having the expensive taste that I do, I selected their Dingo cutting cabinet as my prize. It goes so well with my Aussie cabinet and my Joey storage drawers. I think my quilt studio is now complete! I can highly recommend all of Arrow’s sewing furniture; it’s sturdy, beautiful and well-designed. I especially like that my pieces fold into fairly compact pieces that look like fine furniture.

The design I submitted to Arrow was the same as my Diamonds & Rust prize winner, but made in Arrow’s size and color requirements. It was a lot of fun making the quilt, even with my “unforeseen circumstances” causing delays in getting the quilt done. I just made the deadline, and I am honored that the quilt is now hanging in Arrow’s offices.

In addition to the prize winner, it was my summer to finish up projects. It feels so great to finally finish projects that have been sitting around waiting for that last little detail to be completed, and get them to their rightful owners. Several of these quilts will be patterned in the near future, so you’ll have to wait for pictures until the patterns are released.

I undertook a major reorganization of my quilt studio, and as I write this I’m sitting at my garage sale and meeting many area quilters who have come for a bargain. I’ll soon be putting the remainder of the items (mostly yardage) online for you all to peruse. I’ll add a few new goodies in as well! Look for a post here soon!

I’m looking forward to the January retreat at Sauder Village, sponsored by their fabulous quilt shop, Threads of Tradition. If you’re ever in northwest Ohio, the shop and the Village are a “must see”. I enjoy the retreat so much I’ll be going back in March for another one.

Watch for my online yard sale post for some excellent bargains!