Block 4 of Andrea Smith's A Snowy Day Sampler is more of a challenge than last week. Lots of Half Square Triangles make up this block which means lots of points and lots of bulky seams to deal with. The directions say to cut 5.25" squares from all of my fabric choices. Working with triangles will be much easier if I take the time to starch my fabric first. By now we all ought to be getting pretty comfortable with making those HST's (Half Square Triangles) so let's get started sewing.... Download directions for Block 4 here.
I will start by drawing a diagonal line on all 8 of my light colored fabric D squares.
Placing a D piece on top of each of my A, B, and C fabric squares I begin stitching 1/4 inch from my diagonal line. Chain-piecing makes this a smooth and quick process; I just butt up the next two pieces I want to sew together right up to my needle and keep on sewing.
Flipping those pieces I have just sewn I stitch 1/4 inch from the other side of the diagonal line. By the way, I really like this method of making HST's as I am able to trim them to the exact size needed for my project and I do not have issues with the triangles stretching out of shape trying to sew two bias edges together if I started with two triangles.
(I am including a handy chart later in the post for knowing what size squares to start with to achieve the desired finished size of a HST.)
Using a ruler I will cut on the diagonal line of the squares to end up with two HST's.
As in previous blocks I need to trim all of the Half Square Triangles to 4 1/2 inches. It is important for this step to make sure the diagonal line on my ruler lays right on top of the diagonal line where the two fabrics meet in my squares.
After the first two cuts are made I line up the ruler with the 4 1/2 inch marks as well as the diagonal line on the fabric.
Now to lay out the pieces on my design wall. (A flannel sheet hung on my wall though you can just as easily use a tabletop for these blocks as well.)
I was very tempted to replace these HST's with a simple square, but where would the fun be in that? lol. As I looked over the pattern after printing it off I did think to myself, "Why, oh, why, Andrea?" Since, however, I approach every pattern as an opportunity to learn and stretch my abilities I quickly squashed that rebellious spirit.
Just like I have done on the previous blocks, I begin by sewing the rows together. Here the first two columns have been done and I am laying the next one in place, ready to sew.
Chain piecing as I stitch the rows together.
I want to make sure that my stitching has been accurate and my seams will line up so I check to see that my middle square measures 4 inches then add the final squares to my rows and check my measurements again.
With my rows completed it is time to sew them together. Pin, Pin, Pin is my motto and as I come to those pinned seams I slow way down and wait until I am a stitch away from the pin to remove it. It is rare for me to not break a needle and bend a pin if I do not take them out as I come to them, but others seem to have no problem. Perhaps my slightly smaller stitch length is the culprit. At any rate, I Pin, pin, pin, those seams where they meet and aim for the intersection of the previous stitching lines to achieve sharp points on my quilt block.
Block 4 is done-and if you look closely you will see I have some seams that do not quite match up even after a couple of redo's. Sometimes they just do not cooperate and that is alright. I am usually the only one who will notice these things. But oh our "mistakes" can be glaring to our own eyes. Do not be too hard on yourself!
As promised, here is a handy little chart for Half Square Triangles. My mathematician husband helped with the formula that works for whatever size you need. So algebra comes back to taunt me, but basically all you need to do is add 7/8 inch to the desired finished size of your square.
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