QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

#qmbittyblocks

We’re having a lot of fun with Bitty Blocks around here, and last week I started making Bitty Baskets. Paula did a nice job on last week’s tutorial, and her enthusiasm is contagious.

Bitty Baskets from Quiltmaker

A number of people have commented about the smallness of the half-square triangles (also called triangle-squares; the two terms mean exactly the same thing). I wanted to share some options with you, and perhaps you’ll find they make the triangles easier to handle.

BBtrionaroll QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Triangles on a Roll

For the first few baskets I made, I used triangle paper called Triangles on a Roll. In fact I use paper to make triangle-squares of any size, all the time. It’s the most accurate method for me. I also use and like Thangles, paper, shown below.

8787 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Thangles triangle papers come in many sizes.

But in case you don’t want to use paper, I have another little trick that I absolutely love. You can use this any time you need half-square triangles for quilts. First I’m going to explain how it’s done, and then I’ll explain the math for those who are interested.

hsttrick1 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Start with 2 squares.

Begin with 2 squares. For 1″ finished triangle-squares, cut them 3-3/4″ x 3-3/4″ (that’s 3.75″). Please note: These photos use larger squares but the process is exactly the same.

hsttrick2 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Mark one of the squares 1/4″ out from the diagonal center in both directions.

On its wrong side, mark one square 1/4″ out from the diagonal center in both directions. I do this with a Quarter-Inch Seam Marker, but you can use any quilting ruler that’s long enough to cover the diagonal.

hsttrick3 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

The square is marked in both directions, 1/4″ out from each side of the diagonal center.

Place the squares right sides together.

hsttrick4 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Sew on all of the marked lines.

Sew on all of the marked lines.

hsttrick5 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Cut on the vertical and horizontal centers of the squares by lining up the ruler as shown.

Cut on the vertical and horizontal centers of the squares (in other words, cut down the middle, both ways) by lining up the ruler as shown. On 3-3/4″ squares (for 1″ finished triangle-squares), halfway across is 1-7/8″.

hsttrick6 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Make a second set of cuts between the lines of stitching as shown.

Make a second set of cuts between the lines of stitching as shown.

hsttrick7 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

This method yields 8 half-square triangles.

You’ll get 8 half-square triangles using this method.

hsttrick8 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Eight pretty little triangle-squares

Open up each one and press gently so as not to stretch.

hsttrick9 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

Trim off the little dog ears.

Trim off the tiny triangular “dog ears” and the triangle-squares are ready to use in your Bitty Blocks or any other project you choose.

How to Figure the Square Sizes: Understanding the Math

For those who are interested, it’s not difficult to determine what size to cut the squares for any half-square triangles you wish to make.

HSTs copy QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

You may already know the rule of 7/8″, i.e. in order to make two half-square triangles from two squares, you take the finished size and add 7/8″. If you’re making two HSTs to finish at 4″ as shown above, you cut two squares 4-7/8″, put them right sides together and sew 1/4″ out from both sides of the diagonal center. Cut between the lines of stitching and you have two HSTs that are now 4-1/2″, to finish at 4″ square. This method is shown above.

hsttrick6 300x251 QM Bitty Baskets: You Have Options

You’re just grouping more squares together!

What you’re doing with the trick I showed in photos further above is putting 4 of these squares together, 2 across and 2 down. So you have the size of the finished unit, times 2. And you must add the 7/8″ twice , which is 1-3/4″ (1.75″).

So if you’re making 1″ finished triangle-squares for Bitty Blocks, the math goes like this:

1″ + 1″ + 1.75″ = 3.75″

If you’re making 2″ finished triangle-squares, the math would be this:

2″ + 2″ + 1.75 = 5.75″

If you’re making 4″ finished triangle-squares, the math would be this:

4″ + 4″ + 1.75″ + 9.75″

In other words, multiply the finished size by 2 and add 1.75″.

Here’s a little chart with often-used sizes.

Finished size of HST     Size to cut the squares
1″                                               3.75″
1.5″                                            4.75″
2″                                               5.75″
2.5″                                           6.75″
3″                                              7.75″
4″                                              9.75″

Give it a try and see how it goes. I love this method for small patches especially, and I think you will, too. Send your questions and photos to editor@quiltmaker.com, or ask questions in the comments. Happy Stitching!

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