Friday, January 9, 2015

Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along Part 1, The Magic Begins, HSts

Hello Folks,

It's time for the first installment of the Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along.  For your convenience, I have a link-party and flickr pool at the bottom for you to share your progress with the QAL group.

The magic begins--we're going to change all of those charm squares into half-square triangles (HSTs).  I am a big fan of chain piecing so I sew all of my squares into HSTs all at once.  However, you may want to "take it easy" and sew one block at a time.  This will mean that you will need to start each block by selecting 8 prints from your charm square collection and 8 white (or back-ground color of your choice) 5" pre-cut squares.

Note: Charm squares are pre-cut to 5", including the serrated (pinking-shears looking) edge which leaves a useable size of 4 7/8".  If you are using your stash, cut your squares into 4 7/8".

Here we go:

  • Draw a diagonal line down the center of all of the white charm squares.  This will become your cut-line later on. I use a regular pencil for this.
    There are two ways I like to do this.  I like to use a drafting ruler with a right triangle at the bottom.  If your fabrics move, place them on a piece of sandpaper to avoid the stretch.  The two yellow pins show where I plan to sew both  1/4" seams.
Another way is to align your fabric on your rotary cutter mat with its right-triangle (45 degree) angle and draw the cut-line.
  • With right sides facing, layer one white (or back-ground color) 5-inch charm square on top of your 5-inch  charm square print.
  • Sew a 1/4 inch seam on both sides of the drawn line.
    I like to chain-piece these.  To do this, take a pile of white-marked squares and a pile of prints to the sewing machine.  Sew one 1/4" seam as shown--not cutting thread, and align the next one.  When all one side is over,  rotate the chain around (last is now first) and sew the other side.
Close-up of the 1/4" seam away from the cutting line.
  • After both sides are sewn, cut these in half on the drawn line.  I use scissors, but it is more commonly done using a rotary cutter and mat.


  • Press all squares open and toward the print fabric.

If you are using charm squares, ignoring the serrated edges, you will now have 4 1/2" HSTs--ready to be made into our various sampler blocks.  If this bothers you, trim off all serrated edge to a finished size of 4 1/2".  I've done it both ways.  If you choose to trim them, it is more likely that you will get sharper points in your sampler.
I hope you've enjoyed this first installment.  Don't be afriad to ask comments below and when you're ready, I'd love to see you share your pictures on my flickr pool.  Thanks!

Charm Square Sampler Quilt Along