Secrets of Accurate Half-Square Triangles

The Spring Tulips table runner uses a lot of half-square triangles (HSTs) in the pieced tulips blocks.  In fact, every table runner I’ve designed so far uses them.  For much of my early years as a quilter, cutting and piecing accurate HSTs was a mystery to me.  I followed all of the instructions, tried the triangle paper, triangles on a roll, and just didn’t find a way that suited me.  I even did Debbie Caffrey’s method of cutting bias strips, seaming them, and then cutting the HSTs.  It was accurate, but a headache too.

I needed something simpler.  I like simplicity:  clean, accurate, easy, no weird tools, just the basics on how to do it right.  I finally figured out the secrets of accurate HSTs, and now I’m sharing them with you in this checklist.  I’ve become a huge fan of checklists after reading Atul Gawande’s book The Checklist Manifesto.  It’s a fascinating look at how pilots, surgeons, architects, and other creative and technical people nail down a procedure so there are no mistakes.  So here’s my gift to you:  a HST Checklist for getting them right.  Every. Time.

To view this full-size and print it out, click here for the link.  I suggest putting it next to your sewing machine or cutting table:  someplace visible so you don’t miss it!