All about Half Square Triangles and Flying Geese with the Avalon Quilt
Welcome back! I am having so much fun sewing this quilt with you!
Some important links before we dig in:
- Learn all about the inspiration behind this pattern here!
- Read about fabric selection tips and a square-in-a-square tutorial here.
- Shop all things Avalon, including the pattern if you don’t have yours here.
So far, we’ve picked out our fabrics, prepared and cut them and started on our square-in-a-square block centers. You may have also completed a block or two and are eager to finish your quilt!
Over the next two weeks, we’re going to dive a bit deeper into the four-at-a-time half square triangle method and the four-at-a-time flying geese method.
Alright, cozy up with a mug of coffee (or your drink of choice) and let’s get ready to churn out some quilty components!
Four-at-a-time Half Square Triangles (HSTs)
The Half Square Triangle - or HST as it is lovingly referred to - is the most utilized quilt block in the quilting world! I adore its simplicity and versatility, and one can be sewn up using a variety of methods!
The Avalon Quilt uses the four-at-a-time method to make the HSTs needed, so let’s turn to page 7 of the pattern, grab our fabric squares and start sewing :)
After you pair the squares up with a square of background fabric, sew a 1/4” from the edge of each pair - you’ll sew all four sides of your square.
Chain piecing really speeds up this process! I will sew along one side of all of the pairs, then sew along the second side of all pair, then the third and then finally the fourth. Phew, that really make quick work of this!
Next, it’s time for the magic to begin. Cut your sewn squares on the diagonals. You will now have four HSTs for each sewn pair ready to trim and press.
Let’s talk a bit about trimming - there are several different methods for trimming and how you like trimming may evolve over time. Currently, my preferred trimming method is to use a square ruler, line it up on my un-pressed HST and then trim the two sides that hang over the ruler. Then, I take my scissors and trim a small angle that would be the dog ears and then press all of my HSTs open.
But, the same result can be achieved by pressing first and then lining up the ruler over the pressed HST, trimming off the excess and then trimming any remaining dog ears.
Or, you can also use your cutting mat to measure and trim down your HSTs if you don’t have a square ruler. However, if you don’t have one yet, I highly recommend this be added to your wish list!
After everything is trimmed and pressed, take a moment to admire all of your hard work! Oh, and check your coffee - do you need a refill or maybe even a new one if it got cold?
Four-at-a-time Flying Geese
Is it okay to have favorites when it comes to quilting? I know I told you just a few minutes ago how much I adore HSTs, but flying geese have a special place in my heart! The Harmont Quilt uses only flying geese and I’m constantly thinking about ways to use them in quilts!
Similar to HSTs, there are several ways to make flying geese, but today we’re making them four-at-a-time - or otherwise knows as the no-waste-method.
Continue following along in your pattern and grab your large background square and four Color 3 squares.
Are you using directional prints? There’s a few tips in the State Avenue, Week 3 blog post about maintaining direction when making flying geese.
Then, begin by drawing a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner on the backside of all of your Color 3 squares.
Then, place and pin two smaller squares on opposite corners of the large square - the squares will overlap slightly.
Sew 1/4” along either side of the marked line. Then, using your ruler, cut along the marked line. Press your seams open.
After pressing your seams, place and pin the remaining two smaller squares and then sew 1/4” along either side of the marked line and then cut along the marked line and press your seams. You should now have four flying geese ready for trimming.
I prefer using the Wing Clipper ruler to trim my flying geese, but the same result can be achieved using your cutting mat!
To use the Wing Clipper ruler, you first place your flying geese on your cutting mat with the point facing you. Then, line up the point on the ruler for the size of geese you are making and trim the excess from the top and right side that is hanging outside of the ruler.
Then, flip these geese (or goose, or whatever a singular unit is called…lol!) so that the point is facing away from you. Line up the geese in the rectangle marked for your size geese and check that the “X” at the top lines up with the point of your triangle and then trim the remaining sides.
Alright, how is that drink of yours doing now? Top it off, grab a snack and have fun sewing up your remaining flying geese!
Coming up: Weeks 5 & 6
In the next post, I’ll discuss block placement in your final quilt.
And, with big blocks and no sashing, we will make quick work of our finished quilt top in a couple weeks!