Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Part 1: HST String Block Tutorial

Half-Square Triangle (HST) String Block Tutorial

Inspiration:  Film In The Fridge's String Block

Materials Needed for Whole Quilt:
Bunch of coordinating Scrap pieces,
1 yard Bright print for center strips & binding
1 yard Coordinating Solid for HST Blocks
1 yard Coordinating Print for border
1 yard Muslin or paper for foundation
 Backing fabric

Glue Stick
Cutting mat, Ruler, & Rotary cutter
Pencil or Quilting temporary marker
Sewing machine, thread
Iron & starch spray
Batting of your choice

For 14 blocks Cut:
14- 9"X 9" Muslin squares for foundation piecing, can use paper too
14- 9"X 9" Coordinating Solid Squares
14-2.5" X 13' strips for center of string block
Scrap Strips ranging from 1" to 2" in width

Making Block 1:

1.  Make sure your 9"X 9" foundation blocks for strings are "Starched" as they are easier to utilize and it will help keep it from stretching.

2.  Finding center of  each foundation block,  lightly glue a  Bright print Strip to exact center of each block

3.  Right Sides together line up a Scrap Strip  to the edge of the  Bright print Strip, sew a 1/4" from the edge, then iron it back.  I like to spray with Heavy Starch as I continue the process to keep it from shifting or stretching.

4.  You will continue to add Scrap Strips  to each sides, ironing & starching as you go until the  foundation block are covered on each side of the  Bright print Strip which should still be in the exact center of the block.  You can chain piece your blocks, adding your Scrap Strips  to each sides before ironing & starching, then repeat the process.

Trimming Block 1:

1.  First make sure you starch and give your block a good iron to make sure everything is pressed.

2.  Be sure you have a fresh or sharpened Rotary blade in your cutter.  Because you are dealing with several layers of fabric you want to make sure the blade is sharp and cuts cleanly.

3.  Flip your block over.

4.  Next you will use your cutting mat to line up the corners; you will not be just trimming where you see the foundation block because there may have been some shrinkage as it dips into the valley between the stitch lines.

5.  Line up your ruler up using the lines on the cutting mat, then you will make your first trim.  I have not picked up a rotating cutting mat yet, but I use a smaller cutting mat for trimming that I can just turn instead of re-positioning the block for trimming up the next side.

6.  Trim up the next 3 sides, making sure that your block measures 9"X 9".  We pick this measurement to have an unfinished HST Block measuring 8.5" X 8.5", the finished HST block measuring 8" X 8" when it is all said and done.

If you would like a different measurement for a finished block size adjust your string blocks to measure 1" more on each side than your desired finished block size.

 You can use the strings blocks at this point and they will turn into a mighty fine project or move on to the further directions below to make them into HST String Blocks.

Completing a HST String Block:

1.  If you used paper as your foundation, this is the time to remove it from the String Block.

2.  Take each 9"X 9" Coordinating Solid Square and mark it from one corner to the opposite [see photo 2 below].  Mark all solid squares at once.

3.  With right sides together, match a String block and a marked solid square, making sure the marked side is up! [Photo 3]

4.  Sew 1/4" on each side of the line [Photo 4], iron seams to set and then cut apart using a ruler along the marked line [Photo 5]

You will end up with 2 HST String blocks [Photo 6] when you iron to one side (this may depend on how you plan to assemble your quilt as well) or iron seams open if you prefer.  Be sure to spray with starch.


 Here are some ideas of the kind of blocks you can make:

 Return for PART Two next Tuesday, when we shall complete a quilt top from these blocks.

Click HERE for part Two!
I made this block as part of my "A Scrapful Life" Scrap challenge.  I want to make projects using my scraps and stash, learning to make do with what I already have on hand.  If you would like to see my February post, look HERE.  I have a link up each month and flicker group if you would like to join me, but no pressure, its just a change in mindset for me.


  1. Those look fabulous. I think I like the HSTs best.

  2. Love! Theses are so pretty


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