Sherwood Half Square Triangles Pieced Trees Quilt Tutorial

Rob Appell

Sherwood Half Square Triangles Pieced Trees Quilt Tutorial

Rob demonstrates how to make The Sherwood Quilt by creating half square triangles out of 10 inch squares of precut fabric (layer cakes). Learn a quick and easy method for HST construction in this quilting tutorial video.
Supplies list
  • 2 packs x 10" Precut Fabric Squares (Layer Cakes)

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video transcript

I absolutely love to spend time outside in nature. And as a matter of fact, my son who is twelve and I, just spent three nights backpacking in the redwoods of Big Sir. And when I got home I was so inspired I decided I had to make us all this awesome quilt featuring half square triangles. We’re calling it Sherwood.

Sherwood features two different ten by ten pre cut packs. We have the Emerald Forest here by Wilmington. And we also have Maywood Studios Whisper White. So it’s mostly white on white, a little bit of white on cream--wonderful. And I’m going to teach you all today how to use half square triangles to build the basic tree set ups that you see behind us. But if you want to make the exact quilt we actually have a printed pattern you can purchase. And there’s a link below in the description with all the supplies you ever need. Let’s get started. I’m going to walk you through those half square triangles first.

You’re going to need to create two sizes of half square triangles. And for the ease of use we’re going to refer to this one as big and this one here as small. Let me show you how to make the big one here first. All of the construction of this quilt is super, super simple. But let me make myself a little bit of space. You’ll be taking one white and one green fabric. And I’m going to take my white fabric real quick and I’m just running a crease across edge to edge. So this style of half square triangle is the kind where maybe you learned before where you draw a pencil line. I’m just running a quick press line. And I’m going to sew a quarter of an inch on either side of this line, both sides. And then we’re going to cut right down that line. So we come over to the sewing machine here for a quarter inch seam allowance. And if you’re doing a little bit different seam allowance that’s ok as long as you do them all the same. We just need all of our big squares the same and all of our small half square triangles the same. I’m looking at the edge of the foot along the crease I set. And I’ve come to the other end so I’m just going to spin it and I’m going to go right back down the other side. And this will yield two of our big half square triangles. Ok, so that couldn’t be much easier.

Now what I did when I unpacked my pre cut packs, my white and my green packs, is I went ahead and pulled about 12 sets from my big yielding about 24 of my large half square triangles.      Real quick we’re cutting down that crease line that we made. And I did the same for the small half square triangles but the small half square triangles will actually yield four instead of two. And that’s kind of the magic of what we’re doing. So there we have two of our big half square triangles with that easy crease and two seam allowances.  So we’re just going to set those aside now. And just like the big, we’re making the small. So we have our white and our green together. And this one hopefully you all watch Jenny Doan from the MSQC. She showed me this. We’re sewing around all four sides. And then we’re going to cut it on the diagonal. Watch this.

Ok so I have all four of the sides sewn around. Now the key to this is to make both cuts without moving your fabric. So if you have a lazy susan this is a great time to use it. And right now what I’m doing is I’m looking at, making sure that the ruler lays across crosses within the threads. So I’m going to cut here and I’m pushing hard to make sure I get through all the layers. I’m going to peel my ruler up. And drop it right back down over here. And here, making sure I don’t scoot it because I’ve got those cool grip strips on the back of the ruler and it will move the fabric all around. So now I’m cutting this side here to here. Now the awesome thing about this is if you haven’t seen this before, is it makes four awesome half square triangles. And they work fantastically as you can see there, ok? So at this point I would take all of my big and all of my small half square triangles and I would take a moment and I would press them all to the dark side. So that I get ready to go to my design wall and be creative and play. So what we’re going to do next is we’re going to go to the quilt behind me. And I’m going to show you the three different trees. That was kind of the starting point and show you how I built the sections of the trees. Check this out.

I was using the white and the green only for the big half square triangles. But I also did create a few of the white on white half square triangles. And I also created if you look up here, some of the green on green half square triangles in the small format so that I would have a little bit of filler space because what I want you to see on the quilt is two small half square triangles plus a little bit extra on the sides here will equal two big half square triangles so let me show you how on our layout table here. What I’m trying to explain is we’re building this in the concept of rows.

I’ve already assembled two of my half square triangles to kind of make the points of the trees. And what we’re going to do is as long as we keep everything the same height as we go across the rows we can build and build and build to create our tree concept. So I’ve sewn two big ones together and you can see that obviously two small ones are not quite enough so how do I handle that? I’m going to actually start by sewing on a little bit of extra of my white on one side. And a little bit extra and I always make sure I’ve got a good inch past. And then once it is all seamed together, then I line up these center seams right here. And I’m able to trim off the excess to make this row of small half square triangles the same width as the row of large half square triangles. Some of you who like to do a little more precise quilting than I do, you may want to square these up as you go. And you  may want to come up with a mathematical number. I wanted to make this as quick and easy as possible. And this was my way. So I’m sewing it on and I’m just trimming it off to fit.

There’s a couple of fun other examples. So back to the quilt we go. Let’s look at this center tree first. And this is one of my favorites of course. And I used my lighter color fabrics in the center. And when I was joining my half square triangles I always tried to use a different print. So I had two small half square triangles with two small white on white half square triangles to make this upper row. Then I come down and I have two small half square triangles together and I did the same trick where I added in some extra white on both sides, trimmed them off. The next row down are four of the small half square triangles. So here’s one white on green, here’s a green on green, a green on green, and another white on green. I bet you my sewing machine is in the way over here but hopefully you can see it. But what we have is we have a rectangle of green fabric. And a big half square triangle and a big half square triangle on the other side there. So that’s another way we construct rows and rows as we go. And the way I made this big one here is I stitched on a solid chunk of green on one of my half square triangles then I just matched it up to the other row above, sliced it off, add another half square triangle as I went.

So I started building with the concept of I wanted to just create the trees but then if you look really closely the quilt is kind of divided into three major rows. So I’ve got a wide row down the center where I could put my biggest tree. And then this concept kind of up above is supposed to be the mountains and the trees off in the background, off in the distance. It’s mostly small half square triangles. I have a few of these half square triangles that don’t even have the other half so they just look like they’re off in the distance. One of my favorite tricks, way up at the top of the quilt is this little teeny mini half square triangle. And what happened with the mini half square triangle here is it actually a three inch wide strip. Some of my big half square triangles while I was making them I wanted to experiment. I always want to experiment, I love to experiment. So what I started doing is I first took and I cut off one inch. Then I made another set of big half square triangles. Then I cut off two inches. See here’s the two inches right there that I cut off. And then I cut off three inches. And I cut off that third, that, that third slice for the three inches it ended up at the top of the quilt. Over here is where you see these rows coming together. So big half square triangles missing an inch. Big half square triangles missing two inches. Big half square triangles missing three inches.
So these are some of the basic ways you can play with the real simple construction of your half square triangles and make a fantastic artistic yet pieced quilt that represents some sort of fun scene. And of course this was my gift to my son after our fantastic backpacking trip which he did wonderfully on. The other thing I really enjoyed about the process in this quilt actually was the ability to do some machine quilting. I’ve been working on some fun free motion skills and drills for everybody. And if you look close my new favorite motif. I’m calling it rainbows gone wild. But it’s a fun circular design. And it’s basically just half clam shells. But I love to use rounded motifs when I’m using sharp edges in my patch work. I feel like it softens it up. So when I’m looking at the design of the all over quilt I often try to have my light flowing through from the top to the bottom. My brightest parts in the center of the quilt and the quilting should always have some sort of fun accent to the piece you have created as well. So what I would love for you to do for me this time around in those comments below, I want to hear about your very favorite adventure. And then maybe we can come up with a quilt for you. And we’ll see you next time at Man Sewing.

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