Hi Summer Haze friends! Laura here, back again with Part II of our Summer Haze Tips & Tricks blog series. I don't know about you, but I'm definitely starting to feel that hazy end-of-summer vibe. The sun is setting earlier, mornings are getting cooler, and pretty soon the leaves will start changing. It's my favorite time of year, and I love that the Summer Haze quilt pattern helps me remember it.
In Part II of our Tips & Tricks series, we are focused on piecing. And I have great news! Part of why Summer Haze is such a fast and fun quilt is because the only block you need to make is a half square triangle. And the even better news is that we have lots of resources to help!
Whether you've made a thousand half square triangles, or you're about to make your very first, after reading this post you'll be confident and ready to make your HSTs.
Summer Haze Tips & Tricks Blog Series Schedule
- Week 1, August 26: Choosing fabric and cutting
- Week 2, September 2: Piecing and layout
- Week 3, September 9: Assembly and finishing
Before You Start, Check Out These Great HST Resources from Suzy Quilts!
The half square triangle might just be the most versatile quilt block. HSTs can be arranged in endless combinations to make new and exciting shapes, like the diamonds in Summer Haze. Because half square triangles are such an important quilt block, we have lots of helpful blog posts and videos.
While you review these helpful HST resources, remember that for Summer Haze, we are using the 8-at-a-time HST method. We'll go over more of what that means later in this blog post.
Get Your Next Half Square Triangle Friendly Suzy Quilts Pattern Now!
Tip #1: Using Rectangles to Make HSTs
To maximize fabric and make this pattern fat quarter friendly, Summer Haze uses a half square triangle technique that may be new to you. What a fun opportunity to master a new quilting skill! This tip only applies to quilters who are using fat quarters, so if you cut your fabric from yardage, skip ahead to Tip #2.
Last week, we cut our fabric to get ready for piecing. All fat quarters were cut into two squares and two rectangles, shown below with a background square.
We'll be using those two rectangles to mimic a square to make 8-at-a-time HSTs.
To start, mark four guidelines on the back of each background square as directed in the pattern. There are several options for marking. I used a Frixion pen, but be aware that lines from these erasable pens have been known to reappear. Because these guidelines will be in the seam allowance, I felt safe using a Frixion pen.
Lay the two rectangles right sides together on top of a background square and pin in place. I used one pin in each rectangle where I knew I wouldn't be sewing.
Flip over and sew a line 1/4" away from each side of the diagonal guidelines. Do not sew on the sides of the vertical or horizontal guideline—those are just to help with cutting.
Make sure your rectangles stay flat when sewing. Don't worry if the rectangles shift a little bit like mine did. If you want to be extra sure that your rectangles will stay in place, add two more pins to the top and bottom before sewing.
Now you're ready to trim and press your HSTs! This technique is such a fun way to save fabric, minimize waste, and even use scraps!
Tip #2: Trim HSTs Before Pressing
There are a lot of ways to trim half square triangles. But here at SQ HQ, we love the Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer, which is a special little ruler that allows you to trim your HST before pressing the seam open! The great thing about this ruler is that it can be used for any Suzy Quilts pattern that uses HSTs, so it's an excellent investment.
You can see this ruler in action in this Suzy Quilts video, which also shows you how to modify a regular ruler to trim HSTs.
Tip #3: Finger Press Before Pressing with an Iron
Unpopular opinion: I love pressing! It can be a calm and quiet time to listen to an audio book or music and enjoy some time to yourself. As a relatively new parent, having that time to myself is invaluable!
A crucial step for pressing that is often overlooked to save time is finger pressing. But finger pressing can give your seam much more accuracy and improve your piecing! Take a look at the comparison above. In the HST on the left that has not been finger pressed, there is fabric hanging over the sides. That is because the seam isn't as flat and accurate as it can be. In the HST on the right, you can see that the points are perfect!
To finger press your HSTs, press down (don't pull or you'll distort the fabric!) on the seam on the right side of your fabric. Give it a quick press with your iron to heat set it, then flip it over and press as usual. You can see more details about finger pressing in this blog post from the Voyage Quilt Sew Along.
Finger pressing adds a step, but if you like precision in your piecing, you won't regret the extra time! Because Summer Haze comes together so quickly, it's an excellent quilt to practice finger pressing because it won't add as much time as it does in a quilt with more blocks.
Once your HSTs are finished, you're ready to start assembling your Summer Haze quilt! Next week, we'll go over layout, assembly, and finishing, including ideas for quilting!