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The Fiber of My Being: My Triangle Breakthrough

Plate of Leftover Triangles

Nothing says scrap like a plateful of leftover triangles

My recent posts have been about triangles, mostly about how I’ve managed to avoid creating leftover triangles.

A month ago I posted:

“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.”

This summer I’ve had leftover triangles on my mind. I can’t live with them and I can’t live without them.

My idea was to corral leftover triangles by sewing them, not too haphazardly, to a background.

I’d create cookie-cutter cuts of half-square triangles (HSTs) as if they were biscuits or doughnuts or… cookies. The result seems to work for me and may be of use to you. As this is relatively new to me, please keep an eye on the comments section below. I may post an update.

Sewing Half-Square Triangles

For background I starched a 10” fabric square and halved it diagonally.

Despite my intention to corral leftover triangles, I cut new triangles (I halved 3” squares) to illustrate the process. They in turn yielded 2½” unfinished HSTs.

I positioned and sewed triangles one-at-a time along the bias edge of the background fabric, filling the background with as many triangles as possible. My Elna sewing machine’s flanged patchwork foot rode along the triangle for a ¼” seam allowance.

Auditioning a Quilt Block With HSTs

The background was filled and sewn, one-at-a time, with same size triangles. In the future I may sort leftover triangles by size to best fill the background. I might vary the background fabric too. I cut the unit apart into strips to easily ‘extricate’ the HSTs.

HSTs laid out

Strips 1- 4 from left-to-right:

1. The brown triangle pressed open.

2. All triangles pressed open. The seam allowance is automatically underneath them and not underneath the background fabric because the triangles are on top of the background fabric.

3. A 2½”square ruler placed over the pressed open brown triangle shows the HST to be cut out.

4. All of the triangles are pressed open. The ruler was placed over each and pencil lines drawn to show the eventual HST cutting lines.

For every pot there is a lid. If you can fit a leftover triangle on the background you are good to go. Would I sew leftover triangles to a straight of grain edge, such as a rectangular precut? I’d avoid that as it would result in bias edged background for the HSTs.

Half-Square Triangles

On the right are four uncut HSTs. Apparently I can get eighteen 2½” unfinished HSTs from one 10” background square with leftover triangles.

Sewing with triangles

An option would be to trim future HSTs to 2½” square or any size, depending upon the size of leftovers. I hope to be sewing leftover triangles for a long time to come. Busywork that became of my first summer sabbatical.




What can we do with white ones? I have a lot when I make Granny Square blocks.


Chris – why not sew them to a colored background?


I have used and I am currently using my leftover triangles to make a quilt described in “Sunday Morning Quilts” by Amanda Nyberg called “Ticker Tape”. In it, you make a quilt sandwich using whatever backing you choose and batting and white fabric for the top. Then you take the triangles or squares(whatever I have left over) and quilt them onto the white top. I did a small quilt with this method about a year ago and then I made it into a pillow that rides in my car. I like being able to use up these pieces and it turns out so colorful and when you’ve finished, the quilt is quilted.


Brilliant idea, thank you!


Brilliant idea. Problem: I tried to download your free Scrap Quilting Handbook. I received the confirmation email, but I cannot see the pdf at all or find it to view it. I have checked my download files and my Craftsy account pages…nothing appears. Can you help? I am looking forward to viewing your Handbook. Many thanks, Jan.

Anita Grossman Solomon

Dear Jan,
Perhaps you might find the downloaded handbook by searching within your computer for a PDF with a file name beginning with:
All my best,


This is a great idea, thank you!


You’ve got such great ideas Anita! I’ve pinned it and can’t wait to try it. Thanks!


Fantastic idea! I’ve been using light and dark triangle scraps to make HSTs as stitching leaders when making blocks, and throw them in a bowl to be pressed and trimmed when I’m in the mood. Maybe I could have some bias strips ready to add 3 or 4 triangles and there wouldn’t be so many individual HSTs to be trimmed at one time.

Thank you for all the great tips and ideas, Anita!


Love this tip/trick for using those extra cut off triangles. You might consider using a Quilt in a Day Triangle Square Up Ruler, or other similar ruler, to cut the HST before opening them. It is simpler for me to cut them to size (only cut two sides)rather than opening the unit, cut two sides, turn, realign and cut remaining two sides. Love your innovative thinking to make our piecing life so much simpler. I am looking forward to the debut of your Evening Star block and the Anita Grossman Solomon Flying Geese construction method.


Love the idea! You are always making our lives easier. Thank you! I think I can use my Bloc Loc rulers to trim. Will have to try and report back.

Scheri Manson

Thank you once again for sharing a great idea. I have so many lovely triangle pieces of some of my favorite fabrics that I have kept in a box. I hope to make a beautiful scrappy baby quilt 🙂

Nancy B

Once again you have amazed me with the way your brain works. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful ideas…have to use this one right away so I don’t forget it. That’s the way my brain works now! ?

Angelia Ulrich

Wonderful idea! I’m going to share your link w/my guild members. I think this would also be a great use for the bias binding strips that are left over! Thank you for sharing. I look forward to your next tips 🙂

Anita Grossman Solomon

Angelia, Binding Strips WOW Now that’s a great tip. Thank you!

Primrose Bohne

Hello Anita,
I’m actually contacting you about your ELNA machine – I live in Germany, bought the 760 and am wondering if you have the Upper Feed Device? I do, but wondering also if it only has the one Presser Foot. The ‘O’ quilting foot is great for piecing, but it doesn’t work with the UFD. Do you have any ideas or ????? Regards, Primrose Bohne

Anita Grossman Solomon

Dear Primrose,
You should be able to get a 1/4″ foot to go on to the UF. I hope this information is of use to you. I’m traveling this week and don’t have my machine to refer to.


Some great ideas! I also like the look of the white strip with the triangles sticking out the sides before it is cut into squares. Anyone have a great idea on how to use it?


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