Step by Step: 8-at-a-Time HSTs

I’ve been working hard behind the scenes on my second quilt pattern. It’s a really fun, block-based design, made up of mostly half square triangles.  The throw size uses five different colors that you can mix and match to give sort of a coordinated-scrappy look, if there is such a thing! But that’s as many hints as I will give for now, start looking for sneak peeks on Instagram soon!

Before the pattern releases, I wanted to share my favorite time-saving tips, tricks and tools for making half square triangles (or HSTs, for short). The pattern provides direction on the 8-at-a-time method, but I wanted to give you a resource that goes a little bit more in depth, and that can help save you time trimming all those little squares! 

Half Square Triangles: 8-at-a-Time Method

Supplies Needed:

2 squares of coordinating fabric

(The size of the squares depends on the size you would like the HST to be.  I am using 5.5” square and trimming my HSTs to 2”)

Hera Marker, or other marking tool

Rotary Blade

Rotating Cutting Mat (Optional)

Straight Edge Quilting Ruler 

Cleary Perfect Slotted Trimmer

(This is my go to ruler for trimming HSTs- it will save you so much time!)


Step 1: Place two squares of coordinating fabric right sides together.

Step2: Using a Hera marker, mark an “X” across the top of your fabric

Step 3: Sew ¼ inch on BOTH sides of BOTH lines

Step 4: Using a rotary blade and ruler, cut horizontally, vertically, as well as along the lines that you drew with the Hera marker. This will leave you with 8 triangular sections.

 *I like to do this on my rotating cutting mat but that is totally optional!*

Step 5: Using the slotted trimmer, find the size you would like your HST to be (in this case I am making 2” squares).  Line up the dotted line with your seam line.  Trim both sides along the ruler, as well as into the little grooves.  (This will take care of any little dog-ears from your seam allowance.)

Step 6: Open your square and press. Repeat to make 8 HSTs.

Now, get ready to sew this cute little squares into something beautiful!

** Please note that some of these products contain affiliate links. However, all suggestions are my own :)**

Organizing Your Fabric Samples

January always seems like the perfect time to organize and declutter.  And two weeks into the new year, I am finally starting to tidy up my sewing space.  Actually, I’m pretty excited about it!  We moved last Summer and our new home has a dedicated sewing room on the first floor, which I am (very) slowly decorating and designing into a cozy and functional studio.

One of my first projects was organizing the fabric swatches that come on the color cards of my favorite fabric manufacturers. Taking the fabric samples off the card, makes it much easier to mix and match colors to create a palette for your quilt.  In my old sewing space, I cut up my color cards and had them hanging on magnetic white boards.  This time I decide to organize them into binders.  

If you are unsure how to best organize your fabric samples, I am detailing the pros and cons of each method below (along with links to the supplies needed):

Organizing into Binders:

If you are like me and work best in a calm and clean space, then organizing cards into binders might be the best option.  I am the type of person that NEEDS to clean my sewing space between each project because too much clutter makes me feel overwhelmed and overstimulated.  So rather than having ALL the colors (seriously, like over 300 colors) hanging on my wall, I decided to neatly organize them into binders. 

First, I peeled each fabric sample off the card and tucked it into its own slot in these slide protectors.  These are actually created for photography slides, but I found they fit fabric swatches perfectly! Next, I used these labels to print the names of the fabrics. Then, I snapped the slide protectors into a 3-ring binder and my fabric swatches were ready to go!

Side Note: You will have lots of these labels left over, but they work great for labeling and organizing fabric. 

Organizing onto Magnetic Boards:

Sometimes an organized mess, or at least having a little more color on the wall helps to spark creativity.  If you are very visual (like most quilters!), having your fabric out in the open might actually help your creative process.  

In the past, I have used these magnetic boards to hold my fabric swatches. I first cut up the color card and placed a small piece of magnetic tape to the back of each sample.  My best tip is to make sure that you use a large enough magnet to prevent your swatches from falling and getting lost (if you are cutting up a Kona color card, I would suggest using two rolls of this tape).

Note: I have the older addition of the Kona Color Card which has the names printed under the fabric sample.  Newer color cards may require that you label your swatches before hanging them.  

If you are looking for color cards, my favorites are the Kona Color Card and the Art Gallery Fabric card because they are the solids that I sew with the most.  However, you can find fabric samples from almost every manufacturer at the Fat Quarter Shop.  I’d love hear what your favorite solids are and how you keep your color cards organized!

**Please note that some of these products contain affiliate links. However, all suggestions are my own 🙂  ***

Rocking Chair Quilt Along: Week 5

It’s Week 5 of the Rocking Chair Quilt Along!  If you were thinking that you missed last week’s post, that’s because we didn’t have one!  Last week was a catch up week to get us ready for the final steps of making our quilts.  

This week we are making our sashing strips. And, truthfully, I’m laughing to think I designed a quilt with sashing because I always curse this step when making a quilt. It’s not that it’s hard, just that at this point I am ready to see my blocks sewn up into my final product. 

The sashing in the Rocking Chair Quilt is a little unique in that it is patterned rather than just a plain strip of fabric.  However, making the striped pattern is pretty easy if you sew long (WOF) strips together and then cut them according to the directions.  And I can’t say enough about my Stripology Ruler, it really helps get a straight cut on these strips—and it is by far my most used tool for cutting!

The trickiest part this week comes when sewing the sashing together into rows.  You will notice in the directions that you need to pay close attention to the direction in which you place your sashing pieces. You will want to make sure that the background ends and Fabric C ends (or Fabric A,C,E,G,I for the ombre version) are arranged properly so that an “X” forms at the intersection of some of the block and sashing rows.  You can use Fig. 10 on the pattern to help you lay them out. 

But now that you have all the pieces of your quilt made, you may also find it helpful to visualize the quilt by laying the entire design out on the floor.  (Or if you have an empty wall, I recently just purchased this Design Wall from Amazon—nothing fancy but it really helped make sure my quilt rows were correct)

Once your sashing rows are made, you are done for this week.  Get ready for next week when we sew the block rows together and finish our quilt top!

If you are participating on Instagram make sure to post a progress photo (even if you are a little bit behind!) by Sunday 10/9 at midnight.  This week I will be picking one person to win a $25 gift card to Liza Taylor Handmade!

Rocking Chair Quilt Along: Week 2

It’s Week 2 of the Rocking Chair Quilt Along and this week we are sewing up our first blocks.

One of my favorite parts of this quilt design is its simplicity; aside from sashing, the entire quilt is made up of a variation of a log cabin block.  Eventually these blocks will be sewn together on-pointe for a more modern look – but we will talk more about that in Week 6!

The prompt for this week is to sew half of the log cabin blocks needed for your quilt.  My trick for making this go quickest is to chain piece as much as possible.  

  • For the Rocking Chair Quilt, this means to start with your stack of background squares and sew the 2”x4” strips to the top of each one. Just sew one right after the other without lifting your presser foot or cutting the thread.  
  • When you are done, you will have a long strand of pieces, just snip the thread between each and sew the remaining 2”x4” strips to the bottom of each unit.  
  • Once you are done, you can iron and repeat the process with the next step until you build the entire log cabin. 

When I made my ombre version, I chain pieced all the blocks in one color way before moving on to the next set of colors.  So, for example, this week you may choose to sew blocks with colors A/B and C/D and leave the remaining blocks for next week.  If you are making the traditional version, you can simply divide the number of blocks needed for your quilt size in half and save the second half for next week.

This photo is one of my finished blocks.  I am planning to gift this quilt shortly after the quilt along, so I am already starting to play with backing fabrics.  I’ve narrowed my choices down to the three in this photo, leave a comment below or on Instagram to help me decide!

I am really excited to see all the fabric pulls from last week sewn up into blocks. Remember to share your progress using the hashtag #RockingChairQAL by Sunday 9/18 at midnight to be entered to win this beautiful fabric bundle from Kristin Quinn Creative.

All the Details on my Finished Deviate Quilt

Just two more weeks until our baby girl is due to arrive and I finally finished her last baby quilt.  This quilt was one that I pattern tested but didn’t really have a plan for until I got is back from the long arm quilter…then I knew that I had to keep it!

I have only pattern tested a handful of quilts in the past, but when Kiley from Kiley’s Quilt Room (and Editor of Modish Quilter) reached out to see if I would test her upcoming pattern, I was so excited!  I was a little nervous because this quilt was also my first attempt at Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP), but she promised it was a beginner level design and that the pattern would walk step by step through the process.  And boy am I glad I branched out!  I learned a new skill and found that I love the precision of paper piecing.  This was my first FPP quilt, but it won’t be my last!

If you are new to Foundation Paper Piecing, here are a few tips that I picked up while testing this pattern:

  • Use Foundation Paper.  I tried using regular computer paper, and this was so much easier to use. Here is the brand I used.
  • Shorten your stitch length.  I set mine to 1.6 and this made it much easier to peel the paper at the end.
  • I’ve also heard that many quilters like to use finer thread.  I used my typical 50wt thread and it worked just fine, but I am going to try a higher weight on my next quilt to compare.

As for the design of the quilt, the pattern that I tested was called the Deviate Quilt from Kiley’s Quilt Room and it is available now!  Kiley offered testers a fabric discount at one of her favorite online fabric shops, Binded with Love.  I took advantage of the offer and had them curate a custom bundle of soft blues and pinks and paired them with a white background (see below for all the fabric details).

Being so close to my due date, getting down on the ground to pin paste a quilt was a challenge so I decided to send it off to my friend Paige of The Dogeared Quilt for long arm quilting.   I also thought it would be a good opportunity to try using Shannon Minky as the backing fabric.  Paige used the pantograph called Sprawl and I could not be happier with how it came out!  I think it was the perfect design for this quilt and looks great on the minky back.

And because this was a quilt of firsts (first paper piecing, first minky…), I decided to try my hand at a new binding technique.  Rather than make binding and stitch it on, instead I trimmed the minky fabric about an inch wider than my quilt top and folded it over to create a cozy, frayed look.  If you are looking for guidance, I got my idea from this Instagram post by PiperAutumnFabrics.

All together, I love how this quilt turned out!  It was a quilt of trying new things, which made it perfect for all the new beginnings headed our way.

Here are all the details:

Pattern: Deviate Quilt from Kiley’s Quilt Room (made in the baby size)

Quilt Top Fabrics: Custom Bundle from BindedwithLove, Snow by Art Gallery Fabrics, Sandstone by Art Gallery Fabrics

Backing: Shell Pink Luxe Cuddle by Shannon Fabrics

Binding: Shell Pink Luxe Cuddle by Shannon Fabrics

Batting: 80/20 Quilter’s Dream Blend

Quilting: Pantograph– Sprawl, quilted by Paige Carothers of The Dogeared Quilt

Thread: Machine Piecing- Aurfil 50wt in White (2024)

3 Ways to Resize a Quilt Pattern

If you are anything like me, you have a knack for falling in love with a quilt pattern only to find it wasn’t written for the size you need. Bummer, am I right? But, while it might seem like you need to go back to the drawing board and find a new project, there are a few easy ways to modify your pattern to fit your project needs.  In fact, all three of the quilts that I have made so far this year have been modified from the original size in the pattern.  

I am highlighting some of my favorite ways to alter a pattern below, but keep in mind that these are not the only methods.  It is also important to note that not all patterns can be resized, especially very intricate patterns, but the ideas below are a good start for anyone looking to just tweak and bend their project a little bit.  

The First Step

The first step in resizing a pattern is to determine what size you want your quilt to be.  The chart below is a rough size guide if you are looking for a place to start.  However, there are really no exact standard dimensions.  If your quilt is close to one of these sizes, it will probably work just fine.

You may also find that your idea doesn’t fit any of these dimensions.  Sometimes I will resize bigger patterns to make even smaller projects than those listed in the chart…for strollers, car seats, table runners, etc.

Method One: Changing the Number of Quilt Blocks

The most common way that I alter a pattern is by adding or removing blocks.  This method only works, of course, if you are working with a block-based quilt. 

-To do this, you just need to know the finished size of the block and then deduct half an inch for seam allowances (once you sew the blocks together, you will lose a quarter inch on each side).  

-This will give you the size of each block in the finished quilt.   You can then take your desired length and width from the first step and divide them by the size of the block to determine how many blocks you need.

Example:  I recently finished an Irish Chain quilt.  The original pattern was written for a 66×66 quilt but I wanted to change it to a stoller-friendly size.  Each block finished at 6.5 inches, so when accounting for seam allowances, each block would end up as a 6 inch square in the completed quilt.  The original pattern was 11 blocks wide by 11 blocks long (6 inches per block x 11 blocks= 66 inches).

I decided to remove four rows and four columns of blocks to make my quilt 7 blocks wide by 7 blocks long, resulting in the final 42×42 inch quilt pictured on the right. (6 inches per block x 7 blocks = 42 inches)

Method Two: Adding/Removing Sashing or Borders

Perhaps the easiest way to change the size of a quilt is to add or remove borders and sashing.  This works best if the original size is already close to the size you want.  For example, I recently made a quilted pillow cover but the pillow form that I had was too small for the pattern, so I removed an inch from each of the borders to make the cover a little smaller.

Tip: If you chose this method, I recommend that you change all of the borders or sashing by the same amount.  Don’t take an inch off the top and two inches off the bottom, you would be better off removing and inch and a half from both to keep it even. 

Method Three: Highlighting a Favorite

What about giving the pattern a whole new look, by highlighting just your favorite block? This method is a little less straight-forward and should only be chosen if you are willing to really change how the final quilt will look.

The quilts below are an example of how I recently did this for a customer.  The quilt on the left is the twin size quilt that I made for my son using a pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.  A customer reached out and asked if I could make a travel -sized T-Rex quit.  My solution was just to make one T-Rex block and fill the rest of the quilt with negative space.  But the adaptations are endless here, I could have centered the dinosaur, surrounded it with half square triangles, etc.

*There is also a fourth method of scaling the original block. This is probably the most challenging way to alter a quilt size but works if you want your quilt to be the exact same proportions as the original pattern.  Scaling blocks involves a bit more math and could probably be a post on its own, so I will not go into detail here.  Please leave a comment if this is something you would be interested in learning!

You’ve probably heard the saying “Measure Twice, Cut Once” but when it comes to resizing your pattern, my best piece of advice is to triple check before getting out the rotary cutter!


If you are a quilter, chances are you are familiar with the age-old debate on how to finish your quilt, machine bind or hand bind?  Personally, I always hand bind my quilts but that’s a post for another day.

Today I want to talk about how I actually cut my binding strips.  While you can, of course, always use a plain old rotary blade and ruler, there are some really easy ways to save time on this step.  And let’s be honest, cutting strips for binding is nobody’s favorite part of making a quilt.

Two of my favorite (ahem, fastest) ways to make binding strips are using my Creative Grids Stripology Ruler or my Accuquilt Go!.  I’ve had quite a few people ask me to compare the difference between these two methods, so here is my honest opinion based on five factors: speed, accuracy, cost, storage and versatility.

First, if you are not familiar with either of these tools, I recommend you click the links above or watch the quick video that I made showing how they work.


Since no one loves cutting binding strips, getting it done and moving on to your next project as fast as you can is pretty important.  Both of these tools will save you a ton of time over the old-school method of rotary blade and ruler.  I have the XL Creative Grids Ruler, so I can make ten 2.5 inch strips without ever moving my fabric. If I fold my fabric and cut through several layers, that is usually more than enough strips to finish my project. A couple of minutes and my strips are all cut!

The Accuquilt Go! has a die (or I sometimes call them templates) for cutting three 2.5 inch strips at a time.  The die is designed to hold the width of the fabric, folded in half once (about 22 inches) and can cut through up to six layers of fabric.  This means that with just one pass through the machine, there is enough strips to bind a queen-sized quilt.

So which is faster?  Probably the Accuquilt Go!.  It takes a few more seconds to set up but is for sure faster once you start cranking.


Speed doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t making accurate cuts.  The Stripology Ruler has a cutting slot on the end for squaring off your fabric to help make the most accurate cut.  However, you do need to make sure your ruler is aligned parallel to your fabric and straight on your cutting mat.  That being said, it is pretty easy to get the hang of and my strips usually come out perfectly sized.

While my strips turn out accurate 99% of the time using my Stripology Ruler, the Accuquilt Go! probably wins in this category too.  As long as your fabric covers the entire area of the blade on the die, there is no need to line up fabric, and thus less room for user error.  One thing is for sure, both methods give me much more accurate strips than a plain old ruler and blade.


Price point is where these two tools really start to differ.  The XL Stripology Ruler retails for about $70 (smaller sizes are less expensive, I believe the mini size is about $40).  

The Accuquilt Go!, however, is $325.  There is a smaller version available called the Accuquilt Go! Me, but I can’t speak to how to works.  In addition to the cutter, you also need to purchase each die or template separately.  The die for the 2.5 inch strips is $100 (smaller dies and applique dies are generally less than this). That being said, they are always running sales on their website, so wait for a good one!


If you are running out of space in your sewing room , you may have to reorganize in order to make space for your Accuquilt Go!  While there are a few different size cutters, you also need to store the different dies and templates.  On the other hand, the XL Stripology Ruler is about 18×22 inches, and chances are you already have a place to store rulers. 


The Stripology Ruler is a specialty ruler designed just as it says, for cutting strips of fabric.  The XL ruler allows you to cut any size strip or block, up to 20 inches, in half inch increments (for example, half inch, 1 inch, 1.5 inch, etc).

On the other hand, making binding strips is just one of the wonderful things the Accuquilt system is designed to do.  Once you have a cutter, there are hundreds of dies to choose from to cut shapes; from strips to triangles to curved piecing, and even animals, flowers and hearts for applique.  Next on my wish list is a die for English Paper Piecing hexagons, which includes a template for cutting both the paper pieces and fabric (yes, it cuts paper too!) 

The Bottom Line

If you are just interested in saving time cutting strips for binding or piecing, I think it makes sense just to purchase the Stripology Ruler (it’s one of my most used tools).  The difference in speed and accuracy is small compared to the price difference. However, if you think you will use the system for other block shapes, applique or English Paper Piecing, the Accuquilt Go! is definitely worth the investment!

The Accuquilt Go! may not work with specific patterns, depending on how they are written and depending on which dies you purchase.  But if you love being creative, I think you will love the Accuquilt system. 

And there is certainly the case for having both.  For example, I recently used the Accuquilt Go! to cut strips for an Irish Chain quilt that I am piecing. But used the Stripology ruler to subcut the strips once they were sewn together.   So I guess the real question is, how many quilting tools is too many?  For me, the limit does not exist.