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The Fiber of My Being: 6 Steps to Bonus HSTs

It’s happening again. Just when I thought I was free of leftover triangles, they’re back. They’re taunting me. They stare at me from the far edges of the rotary mat. They are leftover from trimming blocks or just plain mistakes. The most recent were cutaways from a new block design. I wish I had a nickel for every time I wasted time glancing at them. Actually, I’d trade in that nickel for time to read one page in a book.

Castoff triangles

Castoff triangles

Some quilters put odd bits of fabric toward good uses such as stuffing for pet beds. I don’t as regrettably I have no available holding space for them. An empty surface in a New York apartment such as mine is a luxury.

A friend revealed that when she is almost out of toilet tissue she walks to the supermarket to buy two rolls. Exactly. She doesn’t load up when it’s on sale. Real estate being pricey she defers to the supermarket to store supplies for her. 

As for scrap management, I keep a wire mesh rectangular wastebasket for accumulations of decent size scraps and yardage to give away. When I am almost out the door to teach for a guild I grab a basketful for their scrap table. As for quilt books, I’ve let some go only after spreading them out at home for a photo of their covers. With passing time, if I can’t find a book at home I look for it in a photo. I left three vertical feet of books on the share table at the Brooklyn Quilters Guild. I set them down, bit my lip and didn’t look back.

This is one of my first quilts.

Square-on-Point Wedding Quilt, 1996, 102” x 84”

Square-on-Point Wedding Quilt, 1996, 102” x 84”

Silly me, I presumed a quilt wasn’t a quilt unless it was a large bed quilt so that’s what I chose to start as one of my first quilts. It was a handful. Time passed and it became a wedding quilt. I quilted it in our then dining room. I kept a ruler at hand on a windowsill beside the sewing machine. One winter day the ruler slipped and fell thirteen stories to the courtyard. In the spring, after the snow melted, the doorman surprised me with it.

I dodged stray triangles from the get-go in the making the quilt because I simultaneously created bonus half-square triangles (HSTs) instead. I used an established no-waste method in which an extra round of stitches produces bonus HSTs. The quilt is made of 238 blocks. That’s four HSTs per block, the makings of 952 HSTs saved from waste.

I used the wedding quilt bonus triangles for a baby quilt gift. I grouped the 81 HSTs by color into 9 blocks.

The baby quilt examined at a school Show and Tell

The baby quilt examined at a school Show and Tell

Tip: Whenever sewing a square to a block to form a triangle, consider making bonus HSTs.

This is the method I used for the square-on-point blocks.

Cut four 3½” squares + one 6½” square for each 6″ finished block. (6½” unfinished block)

Six steps to bonus Half-Square Triangles

Six steps to bonus HSTs

1. Right sides together, Sew two small squares diagonally to any opposite corners of the large square. Sew a second diagonal line, approximately 3/8″ toward each corner

2. Cut between sewn diagonals. Set aside cut off units.

3. Press triangles open.

4. Press block. Repeat step #2.

5. Press 6½” unfinished block.

6. When convenient press and true-up the bonus HSTs.

Ten years later, HSTs from the wedding quilt appeared in Mrs. Gholson’s fabulous quilt, a scrappy mixture framed by reproduction fabrics and a Liberty of London contemporary print.

Quilt made with Half-Square Triangles

The gem born of Half-Square Triangles

You won’t have long to wait for more triangle tricks from me.

About the author

Quilter Anita Grossman SolomonAnita Grossman Solomon is a full-time quilter, author and Bluprint instructor. Her quilts have been displayed everywhere, from the ceiling of the International Quilt Festival in Houston to an enormous screen high above Times Square in New York City.

In this Bluprint Blog series, she dives into the emotional and often humorous aspects of being a maker. Subscribe to the Bluprint Quilting Blog today to follow along, and enjoy personalized instruction from Anita in her popular Bluprint class Traditional Blocks Made Simple.

Creative Uses for Scrap Fabrics

quilting scraps guide

Have fun putting your extra fabric to use in beautiful projects.Get My FREE Guide »


JaniceCarole Allen

I look forward to Anita’s entry in this Craftsy blog. Thank you for sharing this delightful lady with us. Thank you Anita for sharing your corner of the quilting world.

Nancy B

I know I’m going to learn something when I see Anita’s name on the blog entry. Clear, concise writing and beautiful photos are always a treat! Thanks, Anita. Hope to see you in person some day!


Every so often, I pull out the DVD copy I made of the old Simply Quilts program with Anita Grossman and Alex Anderson. Also I keep and eye on Anita’s Grossman’s website. She always is looking at the old quilt blocks and coming up with new inventive construction ideas. It has been fun watching her growth. Some day I will enroll in her classes on Craftsy.

Anita Grossman Solomon

Hi Claire,
I expect you are in the U.S. as that HGTV show wasn’t widely distributed. If so, I hope you are spending some of this Labor Day weekend making something. Thank you for posting, you encouraged me. -Anita


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