Half Square Triangle Sampler

Other than log cabin squares, I enjoy using Half Square Triangles (HST) as a basis for a pieced quilt. They are relatively easy to make and like log cabin blocks, can be arranged in a multitude of patterns/designs.

For this project, I am using 10″ “layer cake” pre-cuts. (Using up some older layer cake squares is on my annual to-do list). I have a number of these squares and square sets in my stash, so it was time to get some of the older ones into a quilt. First up, is a selection of mini pearl bracelets from Andover that have slumbered for 6 or 7 years in my stash. When Pearl Bracelets came out, I fell hard for them and collected and sewed up a number of projects with this simple design…white dots forming circles (AKA pearl bracelets) against a highly saturated color background. Later, Andover came out with pastels and the mini pearl bracelets design.

Andover Mini Pearl Bracelet 10″ squares
Kona layer cake

The color distribution in my layer cake stash is uneven as I have previously used some of them, but I decided it was “use it or lose it” time for these layer cakes.

My favorite method for making HSTs was gleaned from a Missouri Star Quilt video called “Falling Triangles”. One solid layer cake square is joined to one printed layer cake square, right sides together, by stitching 1/4″ around the entire square. Taking care not to move your layered block, cut diagonally (corner to corner) from right to left and then left to right. You have now made 4 HSTs. I trim these to 6.5″, pressing carefully before trimming.

1/4″ seam around all four sides of the layer cakes.
Diagonal cut.
Second diagonal cut, which results in 4 HSTs.

All of my mini pearl 10″ squares were sewn with a solid white Moda 10″ square and cut using this method. This resulted in 144 HSTs to design my quilt top.

My first layout was a basic “Around the World” layout with a center “square” and then alternate print/white rounds. After a couple days of fiddling with the color, I found a layout that I like and that accommodated my yellow colors. (I have a preponderance of yellow squares as I don’t use much yellow.) I decided to sew my top in quarters, breaking up the chore of joining squares, and making the sections more manageable. Each quarter has 36 HSTs.

Around the world layout.

After my first quarter was joined, my quilter’s brain decided to up the ante and the interest! Rather than repeating each quarter identically, I found myself drawn to making a sample style quilt with different HST layouts. Now the quilter’s brain was fully engaged! I have spent more time on layout than on actual stitching, and have completed the quilt top quarters.

I am calling this “Kaleidoscope” as it reminds me of the toys from when I was a kid where you hold the Kaleidoscope tube up to your eye and different designs form as you turn the end.

Eleanor Burns has a great method for chain stitching square blocks, which you can find in her Log Cabin In a Day book or video (part two).

Step one, pinning my blocks using my quilt wall as a vertical table. I will stitch down of the pinned blocks of each two rows and then join the three sections in the same manner.
Chain stitching a row of blocks.

I have found this row chain technique to give better corner/point joins and to be very forgiving of slight differences in sizes of your squares. I always get a nice, square top when I use this method.

Here is the quilt top “Kaleidoscope” all stitched and ready to sandwich an quilt. An HST sampler quilt! It is 72″ square and will make a great couch quilt for my niece Emily, who has claimed this quilt.

Clockwise: pinwheel layout, Around the world quarter, Zig zag and false flying geese, Diamond.

Quilting is up next and I am really looking forward to it. Happy quilting all!



  1. WOW your brain sure went in to over drive Lennea. What was going to be calm around the world trip turned in to a race around the world in over drive. I just love the end results. You all ways surprise me LOL What a lucky lucky niece! Looking forward to seeing the quilting now? I all ways wait till I have some time out for my self before opening your blog to give my self plenty of time to enjoy it. Cheers Glenda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, my quilting brain is always taking the road less traveled. I think it has a low boredom threshold! Lol. Got it sandwiched today and have a couple thoughts on the quilting.


  2. Hi, a great interesting way to make this quilt and your instructions in pics are great and informative. I love how you sew and look forward to your next project

    Liked by 1 person

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