Half Square Triangles - A How-To

Half square triangles are little workhorse blocks in our quilts. These blocks are great for so many reasons! They can add movement, they can add graphic punch, they can create contrast among your fabrics...all kinds of things! In our new book One Block Remix, we've designed 10 different quilts that are all made from one HST block. 


One Block Remix Front Cover Harding Hill Designs
One Block Remix

There are tons of ways to make HST's and tons of tools to help construct and finish these blocks. Some methods call for adding 7/8" to the finished size of your units when cutting, which makes my brain and eyes twitch a little. Plus, this method leaves you with almost no wiggle room if you've got a wonky seam, or any inconsistent stitching. I like to have wiggle room! I need wiggle room! So, the method of adding a 7/8", and then cutting doesn't really work too well for me.  I'd rather cut the beginning units a little larger and be able to trim them down after sewing. It gives me a little more control over the outcome and makes the cutting easier for me in the beginning because I'm working with whole numbers. 

To give yourself that extra wiggle room begin by cutting your squares 1" larger than the size of your finished HST.  Part of the extra 1" will be trimmed away, and the other part will be your seam allowance. If your finished HST unit should be 8", start with 9" squares. 

After cutting your squares, mark the wrong side of half of your squares by either drawing a light line diagonally from corner to corner, or by folding the square in half diagonally to create a crease. Now, match up your squares to make pairs of 2. One of the squares should be a marked square and will be on the top. Next, layer 2 squares, right sides together, and sew a 1/4" away on each side of the marked line.

HST Steps Harding Hill Designs

Next, you'll cut on the drawn line and you'll have 2 HST's. Carefully press the seam, either towards the darker fabric or open....pressing these seams open does take a little longer but can make things easier for you in the long run when stitching the blocks together. Now for the last step, you just need to trim your HST's. If you have a ruler with a 45 degree line on it, align that line with your seam and trim the unit down a 1/2" from the size of your beginning squares. If you started with 9" squares, trim the HST's down to 8-1/2", which will give you 8" finished HST's. Because I press my seams open, I like to trim a little from all 4 sides. Some people like to trim from just 2 sides. Do what you like best and what works best for you. :-)

HST Trimming Harding Hill Designs

I Would love to hear your favorite method for making HST's! How do you mark your squares? Do you draw a line, use tape on your machine, fold your squares? Drop me a line in the comments and let me know. Also, here's a handy little HST step-by-step you can download and keep handy.  A HST How-To  -  Harding Hill Designs

Cheers & Happy Sewing!

Sweetheart Table Runner Tutorial - Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you! As the old saying goes, "time flies when you're having fun". I can't believe it's already the new year. I'm looking forward to all the things I have planned for this year and hope you are along for the ride!

Do you do the New Years Resolution thing? I used to come up with very specific, grandious resolutions that usually fizzled by March, well some by February. Ha! But this year instead of specific resolutions and plans to lose weight and eat better (which I'm going to try to do) I'm also going to try and live a little more in the moment, laugh a little more- whether it's just laughing at myself or laughing with others. Take my work and goals seriously, but not take myself too seriously. Try to spend less of my limited time worrying and more of it laughing and smiling. I've also started a Gratitude Jar. Mine is actually a gratitude make-up bag because I am using an old make-up bag I've had for years. That way I can throw it in my purse and take it with me. I'm not going to force myself to write something down everyday, even though that wouldn't be the worst idea in the world. Instead, I am going to try to make note of things I am grateful for both big and small when the moment strikes. (You reading this is something I am grateful for!) 

What are you grateful for? Harding Hill Designs
I've got a new Valentines Day tutorial in the post. It's a sweet table runner to add some love to your home for not only Valentines Day but all year! It was inspired by the tried and true Valentines Candy Hearts we see every year. 

Image via candywarehouse.com

There has been alot of action here in the sewing studio with 11 new patterns in the process of being tested right now, and some great projects for a few magazines. I can't wait to get them done and ready to show you! We've also taken some time to plan out some great things we'll be doing on our blog. We've got a new editorial calendar for ourselves to keep all of our new blog ideas organized and ready. You can expect to see much more from us throughout 2013 and hopefully beyond. :-) 

Here is the tutorial for the Sweetheart Table Runner-- I hope you enjoy it!

Harding Hill Designs Sweetheart Valentines Day Table Runner Tutorial

Fabric Requirements:
 (Based on fabric with a width of 42" of useable fabric)                   Finished Size: 21" x 49". Use a 1/4" seam for all piecing.

Neutral Fabric:     
7/8 yd

Colored Fabric:    
3, 7" squares
4, 4" squares
60, 2.5" squares
(great way to use up leftover layer cake squares, charm pack squares, and pre-cut 2.5" strip scraps)

3/8 yard

1 yard

24" x 52"

Cutting Neutral Fabric
1. Begin by cutting 4, 4.5" x WOF (Width of Fabric) strips from your neutral fabric. First, cut 2 strips into 4.5" x 40.5" units (top and bottom borders). Then with the remaining 2 strips cut 4, 4.5" squares (small heart backgrounds) and 2, 4.5" x 12.5" units (side borders). Now cut a 8.5" x WOF strip. From this strip cut 3, 8.5" squares (large heart backgrounds) and then with the remaining part of the strip cut 2, 2.5" x 12.5" units (sashing between blocks).

Valentines heart runner neutral fabric

For the hearts use whichever applique method you prefer. For myself I didn't fuse or stabilize anything. After tracing and cutting out the large hearts from the 7" colored squares and the small hearts from the 4" colored squares I just used a dab a glue from a glue stick in the middle of the heart and slowly stitched around the edge with a standard zig-zag stitch. This may not be the preferred method by most people but for this project I'm happy with the results. The most important thing to remember if you don't stabilize or fuse your fabric is to stitch slowly around your hearts to keep everything flat and not to create any puckers. But...before we get to the stitching we need to align our hearts on our background fabric.

Take your 8.5" neutral fabric squares and make 2 folds to create a center intersection. First fold the square in half to create a horizontal fold and finger press the fold. Next, while the square is folded, fold again in half to create a vertical fold and finger press.

Bckgrnd fabric second fold
First Fold


Bckgrnd fabric final fold
After Second Fold


Bckground fabric after 2 folds
Double Creased

Next you'll want to do the same type of thing with your hearts. First fold the bottom or the point of the heart up, so the tip is even with the top of the 2 curves and finger press the crease.

First heart fold IMG_6954
First Fold

Next, unfold the heart to fold it in half to create a vertical crease and finger press.

Heart second fold IMG_6956
Second Fold

Now you will have a intersection of creases on both the background squares and hearts. To keep the spacing even, simply match up the crease intersection on the hearts with the crease intersections on the background squares. I put a very small dab of glue from my glue stick right in the middle and then zig-zagged slowly around the heart. I would recommend stitching the hearts with your needle in the needle down position for easy pivoting. Also, if you use the glue stick method make sure you don't put any glue around the edges or where your needle will go in. If your needle goes through the glue you could have a big gluey mess in your bobbin case.

Heart w bckgrnd fabric
For the large hearts keep all the creases lined up

For the small hearts makes the same folds and creases on both the hearts and background fabric but rotate the heart as shown in the picture below. 

Small heart w bckgrnd fabric
Match the intersecting creases but rotate the heart so the point is pointing towards a corner of the background fabric

Next, divide your 2.5" squares into 6 groups of 4 squares each and 6 groups of 6 squares each. Sew the squares together in each group, pressing seams all the same direction. Now sew a 4 square unit to the top and bottom of each large heart block. Press the seams towards the middle. Then stitch a 6 square unit to each side and press towards the center. 

Heart block with top and bottom sewn but showing sidesYour finished blocks should measure 12.5" x 12.5". 

Next, sew a 2.5" x 12.5" neutral fabric unit between the blocks and press towards the neutral fabric. Proof your runner, it should measure 12.5" x 40.5".

Top block construction
Now, sew on your 4.5" x 40.5" top and bottom border and press towards the border.

Valentine runner construction with top and bottom borders

Decide on the placement of the 4 corner hearts and sew one to the top and bottom of your 4.5" x 12.5" units. Press away from the 4.5" square.

Valentine runner corner hearts graphic
Now, sew the side borders with the corner hearts to each side. Press away from the center.

Valentine runner full construction graphic
Layer your heart filled runner, batting, and backing. Quilt, bind and Enjoy! The Kona Cotton colors are used are Medium Pink, Banana, Lavender, Mango, Honeydew, and Ice Frappe.

I put together a few other color options for this runner. Other than my inspiration from the retro colors of the candy hearts I also like the idea of raiding your red/magenta/purple scraps and making a runner with those bright tones.

Red purple pink valentine runner color option
Or, you could keep it bright with rich, jewel tones.

Valentine runner jewel tones
We always LOVE comments here on the blog! We would also love to see a picture of your runner! Follow us on facebook and share a picture with us, or follow us on twitter and share a picture there.

Thanks for stopping by & Happy New Year to you!

Happy Quilting!

Download Valentine Sweatheart Runner Hearts



A Holiday Tutorial

It was so much fun reading all of your comments for my last post!  I appreciated all of them! A few questions were asked about the layouts and if I used EQ6. I usually use Illustrator instead of EQ6 to create layouts for blocks or quilts. Im sure there are some bells & whistles that EQ6 has that are limited in Illustrator but I havent made the leap to EQ6 quite yet. Learning to use EQ6 is on my list of things to-do...I just need a few more hours in the day! But, don't we all need a few more hours in the day, right? Also, it was great to see all the fun comments about mayo or miracle whip! I had never heard of Dukes Mayo before reading the comments but now I am eager to try it. I checked out the Dukes website and it looks like it is only available it Virginia. Hopefully someday I'll try it!  

At the end of the post I mentioned a holiday tutorial I was working on. These holiday mug rugs are a fun project that can be done pretty quickly. There are 8 different applique shapes in the complete set. They would make a wonderful gift for someone as a whole set of 8 or you could make a few for a teacher, neighbor, or co-worker.

Holiday mug rug finished

Fabric:  (Fabric requirements are based on 42" wide fabric)

10- 2.5" strips (8 for binding & 2 for the strip panel)

2- 1.5" strips

1- 1" strip

8- 7" x 7" neutral squares (applique background)

8- 7" x 7" printed squares (applique shapes)

8- 9" x 13" pieces for backing

8- 9" x 13" pieces of batting

1. Strip Panel
With right sides together begin by sewing a strip panel using 2- 2.5" strips, and the 1.5" and 1" strips. Press towards the darker fabrics. The finished panel should be 7" wide. 
Sub-cut into 4.5" x 7" units.  

  Holiday Mug rug illustration

Holiday mug rug strip panelIMG_5650

2. Raw-Edge Applique
I didn't use fusible web for the applique shapes in this project. Instead, I used a glue stick. The glue stick method may not be the most popular method but because these mug rugs are used differently than a quilt and the shapes are on the larger side I thought I would be ok without the fusible. It seemed to work out pretty well. After I traced the shapes onto the wrong side of the 7" patterned squares and cut them out, I placed the shapes onto the 7" background squares with a small amount of glue from the glue stick to keep them in place before sewing. If you do use the glue stick method just be careful to keep the glue away from the edges where your needle will go when sewing to avoid getting glue on the needle and in your bobbin. Finish the raw edge with your favorite stitch. I used a wider zig zag. 

3. Assembly
After finishing the applique squares sew them to the 4.5" x 7" strip panel units.

Holiday mug rug assembly


4. Quilting & Finishing
Layer and baste the backing, batting, and top. Stitching in the ditch looks great on this project or try some new free motion quilting designs that you haven't done before. Small projects like this are a great way to practice and to try free motion stitching! Use one of the 2.5" strips to bind and finish the mug rug. Finished size 7" x 11".

Enjoy & Happy Creating!

Holiday mug rug finished


Holiday Mug rug layouts

Download Holiday Mug Rug Applique Shapes (PDF)









Quilting Gallery Celebrate Christmas Quilt-Along



I'm so happy to be part of Celebrate Christmas Quilt-Along!  We've seen some great blocks so far, along with some great deals! Make sure you stop by and check it all out!  

I love the holidays and all the fun that comes with them. I have so many great memories of hanging out with my Mom in our p.j.'s, cooking up a storm. We usually had the Yule Log playing in the background on television while we cooked, chatted over some egg nog, and wrapped gifts. Some of you may know about the Yule Log and some of you may not. It is basically a looped tape of a fire burning in a fireplace with holiday music playing in the background. If you haven't seen it, it may sound kind of odd...watching on television a fire burn in a fireplace but we loved having it on. We would have the Yule Log playing on the television and a real fire burning in the fireplace a few feet away. It certainly became a great Christmas tradition! Check your local listings for a Yule Log program in your area on Christmas eve, some are even now in 3-D (wow)...or it looks like you can also buy a Yule Log dvd if it's not airing in your neck of the woods. 

Yule Log

My block for our fun quilt-along is called Holiday Gifts. It has a great scrappy quality to it along with some punch from the contrasting fabrics.


Finished block


For Holiday Gifts you will need

4 assorted Prints: From each print cut a 3" x 5-1/2" unit & a 3" x 3" square

Black Print: Cut 4, 3" x 3" squares and 1, 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" square

Red Sashing: Cut 4, 2-1/2" x 5-1/2" units


Fabric Req's IMG_5093


1. Begin by sewing a black 3" x 3" square to a 3" x 3" print square.

2. Next, sew the matching 3" x 5-1/2" unit as shown below. Repeat steps 1 & 2 with all the prints to complete the 4 corner units.

Step 2 photoIMG_5101

3. Layout your corner units as shown below, rotating them as needed. Then sew a red sashing strip between the top row and bottom row units. Next, sew the black 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" square between the remaining 2 sashing strips. Press all the seams towards the red sashing strips. 

Block layoutIMG_5103

4. Sew the blocks rows together. Press seams open. Your block should measure 12-1/2".

Here are a couple of layout variations. I think they all look great, but the on-point layout is my personal favorite. Which layout do you like best?


Thanks for stopping by and letting me tell you a little bit about some of my holiday memories! I would love to hear about your favorite holiday memories! I would also love to know if they also involve the Yule Log! Make sure you upload your block to the quilt-along flickr group!

Cheers & Happy Holidays!


Download Holiday Gifts PDF