Sunday, April 26, 2015

HSTs and QSTs - a Pet Peeve

It really, really bugs me when quilters use the HST term for both kinds of triangles. Yes, they look the same, but in half square triangles, the diagonal is on the bias and the edges are on the straight of grain. Quarter square triangles are the opposite, with the diagonal on the straight of grain and the edges on the bias. For stability of your blocks it helps to have all the outside edges be on the non-stretchy straight of grain. Thus, placement and type of triangles used is important for accurate measurements, matching seams and points, and preventing the block from having a 'wonky' shape.

I see all sorts of videos and tutorials for making quick triangle units. The triangles are invariably referred to as half square triangles when they actually are quarter square triangles. One such tutorial is the 'tube' method where you stitch 2 equal sized strips together on both the long sides, then cut them apart on 45 degree angles. Most of these tutorials recommend heavily starching the fabric, I guess to cut down on the bias edges stretching out of shape.

I have no problem with people posting and using these methods. It's totally OK if you want to do it this way. There's no 'rule' that says you can't. Just please give the triangles their correct names. It seems pretty simple to me and would certainly help clarify whether the edges will be on the bias (QSTs) or not (HSTs).

There's a detailed explanation of HSTs and QSTs on the Guidelines for Quilting web site. I'm not affiliated with this site (they sell rulers), I just think they have a pretty good tutorial.