Monday, 19 August 2013

HST Value Quilt Block Tutorial

My turn is coming up in the Simply Solids Bee and I have been trying out the Threadbias online Design Tool so I can show people better pictures than photographing my sketchbook (which is really a bit shonky)! Again there has been a bit of learning curve; but probably it's not too hard, and I'm sure has tons of potential as I become a more fluid user of the tool!

I would like the people in my Australasian circle of the bee (Fallow) to help me make a sofa quilt in pinks, reds, oranges and yellows to go with my favourite cushions

 I've had this design saved for ages, which I thought might work well in solids, as well as potentially for a scrap quilt some day. My rather tatty graph paper tells me it originally came from a library book called How to Design and Make Your Own Quilts by Katharine Guerrier 

Just ignore the top row of two blocks that somehow ended up along the top. 

Even though the design tool allows you to choose (some) fabrics that was just too steep a learning curve for me, I decided that since this quilt is really a value quilt, it would be better if I showed it to you in greyscale, so you get the fun of deciding which fabric to put where in your block

As you can see each block is made up of four x nine half square triangle blocks, rotated to form the design.

So if you're making this for me as part of the Fallow group in Simply Solids Bee, I have sent you, or will shortly be sending you, a variety of strips 4" wide. There should be enough to cut at least 20 dark 4" squares, 14 light squares and 8 medium squares. But you only need 6 medium, 12 light and 18 dark, so you have room for mistakes choice. 

I'd be grateful if you could send any unused squares or HST squares or scraps back to me with your finished block, so I can make a few more blocks or use them on the back please.

So first finish the cutting into 4" squares then order your fabrics into light medium and dark values.  If you find this a bit tricky you can either view the fabric through a red filter, or take a photograph in black and white to help you decide on the relative value of each fabric.

Some of them are very close ( I love that kind of interplay)!

A fabric's value is relative to a degree; so in some cases the same fabric could be light, medium or dark depending on the fabrics next to it.

The "relative value" means that the same fabric can act as a dark or a medium or a light value depending on what it is near.

So to make the block, take 12 dark squares and put them together with 12 light squares.

Rule a diagonal line in pencil corner to corner.

Sew a 1/4" seam either side of the line and

Follow the same method combining six medium and six dark squares.

I chain pieced all these (light/dark and medium/dark) together in one long line down each side

Then cut them apart

And cut along the pencil line to form two HSTs. 

Press open carefully without stretching the bias. And trim the dog ears...such a fun part :-{- Not!

Note that I didn't trim the block size at all, only the dog ears. I just used scissors as I pressed them open. But use your rotary cutter, or whatever works for you but don't trim the sides of the HST blocks at all to keep the blocks the same size.

Arrange your squares for each nine patch according to value as above.
Sew together the squares  using a 1/4" seam using your preferred method. (I like pressing the seams alternate ways and nesting them, but do it whichever way you prefer).

Finally, combine the four nine patches to complete the block.

In this trial one I made I've decided there's a bit too much yellow, so I'll probably redo a couple of the squares substituting another light triangle in due course...

Thanks so much lovely Fallow people for making these for me and if you make this following this tutorial for any other reason, do put a link in the comment box, so I can see what you've made.


  1. Eeek this looks awesome! Can't wait to get the fabric and make up this block for you. Just one question - when trimming off the dog ears, did you trim the HST blocks to a particular size (normally if I used 4" squares to start I would trim my HST blocks down to 3.5" square)?

  2. This is gorgeous Camilla! Great tute :)

  3. oooh nice. not colours I would use but really works

  4. This is going to be a stunning quilt Camilla - can't wait to start on these blocks!

  5. Your fabric arrived in the mail today...looking forward to having a go at this one!

  6. I so can't wait to see this one! I was drooling over your block on Flickr... Great colours, m'dear!

  7. Great tutorial! I'm working exactly in the same plain warm fabrics for a special project! Makes the summer stay longer!


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