Like many of you,  I often have overflowing bins of scraps.   There is something so satisfying about saving and eventually using up even the smallest bits of fabric, knowing that you utilized that well loved print or solid to the nearest inch or so.   I enjoy trying out different ways  to use these precious scraps with a variety of  sewing and quilting projects.

Sample Scrappy String HST block #2

One technique that I have recently been having fun with is what I call my Half Square Triangle {Scrappy Strings Style} String Block, a basic Roman Stripe block.

Scrappy Strings HST Quilt Top

I came up with this method out of necessity while trying to make a quilting experiement work and save it from the eternal UFO (unidentified fabric object) pile. The resulting finished quilt top shown above is just one example of how you can use these HSTs; more layout options shown at the end of this tutorial.   I realize there may already be methods/tutorials out there in blogland for this or a similar block, but as I am not aware of them, I will be showing you here how I make mine.

So let’s get to it….

Materials needed for two 8 inch blocks:

muslin backing and kona snow solid

**two- 8.5 inch squares of muslin- I have tried paper but feel that the muslin gives the strings more support and keeps them from shifting around, AND I just like the feel of fabric over paper (in my more updated version of this technique I do use paper- I mostly try to find clean (with some print is fine) pieces that are already destined for the recycle bin).

**two- 8.5 inch squares of background fabric (I used Kona Snow here)

box of scrappy strips

**a variety of scrappy strips of fabric (fat quarters cut into strips work nicely here as well)

Sewing Supplies

**and of course an iron, rotary cutter, disapearring ink marker, cutting mat,  plexi ruler, pins, sewing machine and some good thread (not shown).

All seams sewn at a  1/4 inch!  

Step 1:

Step 1 Scrappy String HST

Lay out your muslin (or paper) square and choose your center strip.  It is best to have this strip be on the wider side- about 2 to 2.5 inches.  Lay this strip out centered on  the diagonal, corner to corner.  Be sure the strip is longer than the square itself.

Step 1B Scrappy Strings HST

I like to put a pin or two in at this point to hold it steady before I sew my first strip to it (when using paper, I just dab a few spots of glue stick glue on the paper and smooth out my fabric on top of that).

Step 2:

Step 2 Scrappy String HST

Now you are ready to place the next strip.  Place strip on top of center strip with right sides together, edges aligned.

Step 2b Scrappy Strings HST

Gently invite your muslin to be somewhat taut here as you sew this strip in place.  Repeat this step with another strip on the other side of the center strip.

Step 3:

Step 3 Scrappy Strings HST

Press seams to the side.

Step 4:

Step 4 Scrappy Strings HST block

Repeat step 2  by placing your next strip in place on one side of the square, and again on the ther side of the square.


You will continue repeating this step until you have sew enough strips together to cover the entire square.  Your square should look something like this on the back side when finished.

Step 5:

Step 5 Scrappy Strings HST block

Trim the edges of your block to a nice, clean 8.5 inches (this is a different block than above-forgot to get this photo on the other one).

Step 5b Scrappy Strings HST block

Your block should look something like this at this point. Pretty just like this, and you could do something fun with this in a quilt, but we have just a few more easy steps to create an HST!

Step 6:

Step 6 Scrappy Strings HST block

Place your solid block on top of your right side up pieced square, being careful to line them up well.

Step 6b Scrappy Strings HST block

Next you’ll find the center diagonal line with your ruler, then mark it with a disappearing ink marker (sorry mine is kind of hard to see here).  I like to place a pin on either side of this line.

Step 7:

Step 7 Scrappy Strings HST block

Sew 1/4 inch from this drawn line.

Step 7b Scrappy Strings HST block

Then turn your square and sew  1/4 inch on the other side of the drawn line (shown here on a different block-just to avoid any confusion).

Step 8:

Step 8 Scrappy Strings HST block

Now you are ready to remove your pins and cut on the line, using your ruler to guide you.

Step 9:

Step 9 Scrappy Strings HST block

Here I press my seams open.  They are just a bit bulky but will still press open.

sample Scrappy Strings HST block

I then trim my block to a clean 8 inches and call it finished!!  You now have two lovely little 8 inch Scrappy Strings HSTs like the one shown here.

Now this tutorial wouldn’t feel complete without showing off  some fun ways to use these squares.  I don’t have an illustrator program and if I did would likely not know how to use it, so I just snapped a few layout options on my design wall to help you visualize how these could look in an overall design.

diamond layout in progress

Layout #1

Layout #2

Layout #2

layout #4

Layout #3

Scrappy Strings HST layout 4

Layout #4

Scrappy Strings HST layout 5

Layout #5

These are just a handful of  simple ideas to get you thinking about options, but as many of you know, the possibilities with HST’s are seemingly endless.  Have fun with it.

I hope you find this tutorial helpful and that if you try this method, you have as much fun with it as I do! If you are interested, I now have two quilt patterns that use modified versions of this method.  Please find the Connection and the Bodhi Quilts PDF patterns in my shop!