More than One Way to Skin a Triangle?


3rd quarter linky party is here.

Hello everyone, the cuckoo in Rhonda’s nest today is Me, Sarah from PingsAndNeedles.  I live in Brighton, on the south coast of England and I’m delighted to be here!

How are you all getting along in the Finishalong? Can you believe we’re in the 4th Quarter? I can’t, and I haven’t really managed to finish very much this year that was in my original list! Of course, I have, true to form, started and finished several other projects! *ahem

What little time I have had to sew has been spent trying to improve my technique, so I thought I’d share a little tute on my latest harebrained genius HST technique! 

This is still a theory thus far proved by one project, so please try it out to see if it works for you, before you commit to a whole quilts-worth!

I don’t have a great deal of space or manoeuvrability for trimming in my sewing space, and although I find the process of trimming HSTs quite satisfying, it is always uncomfortable trimming first two sides and then the other …

I usually end up lazily wielding the rotary cutter in multiple-direction-slapdash-accident-waiting-to-happen-fashion.



So, this is the way we all trim, right?

I line up my diagonal 45 degree line (in this case on a 4.5″ square ruler) with the seam line and trim two sides, turn 90°, and then trim the next two.

If I’m lucky I can get away with two cuts, but they always go in different directions. Frankly it’s the one repeated action I really hate in cutting.  I like to do things appropriate to my space (and general haphazard corner-cutting sewing technique) so, as I was pressing a batch of little sandwich pieces ready to trim, I had a thought …

How about trimming them while they’re still little closed sandwiches?  That would mean 50% less cutting and pressing!  I figured if it all went horribly wrong I could always trim back to 4″!

I’ve rotated the pics here to mirror the trimming position.  If you keep your stitching line on the vertical, then you don’t even need to rotate the mat!


Just line the diagonal on your ruler with your stitching line and trim left and right with some corner snips?

Would it work?


Well, I learned one important thing before you trim …

Make sure you line your diagonal up to the stitching line first …

And then …


… scoot the line up just a tad from the stitching …


You need to take into account the thickness of your thread/fabric – if you’re using Aurifil 50 wt, you probably won’t need to scoot so much as it’s so lovely and fine, but I was using Gutermann here and it is quite a bit thicker, so I had to up the scoot factor.

If you don’t do this then you will have undersize squares.




Are they accurate?  Let’s see ….


Well, that’s pretty spiffingly good for me … I’m sure it’s better than if I trim the old 2 x 2 way. I know that it’s quicker.

So, the question is …

(a)  Am I really late to the party and does everyone already trim like this?

(b)  Is there a glaring fault in my plan?

(c)   Am I a genius?


Do let me know what you think – and thank you Rhonda for having me over to visit.  Nice place you have here …


Hey, y’all….Rhonda, here! As you know, I usually do the introduction at the beginning of the post (by the sheer definition of the word introduction that would make sense, right!). Well, not this time….why? you ask! Well, because I was so happy with the way Sarah called herself a cuckoo! For once on this blog, I wasn’t the only cuckoo! LOL

I have been so blessed to call Sarah a friend that it is hard to introduce her anyway. Granted I have never met her face to face but I still am amazed by her talent every time I look at her blog and it is blogs like hers that keep me inspired to keep posting when I ain’t so sure I wanna!

Just look at some of her amazing work. Oh and for those of you that can retain technology information (of which Sarah is amazing at!) she did a series of GIMP tutorials.

Regardless of what tickles your fancy….this girl is amazing (I mean – I have been trimming all my triangles the hard way – duh)!!! Thank you Sarah!

BTW…the pre-fourth quarter linky party goes live October 8th!.



26 Comment

  1. Thank you Sarah I will certainly give this a try. I make a lot of hsts and never thought of this approach but it sure would be faster.

    1. I’m dying for someone else to try it to see if it’s robust. My unique method of quilting quite often involves the ability to completely change quilt measurements based on smallest trimmed block!

      If you do have a go … just try it on one first eh? LOL … and then please tell me about it!

  2. I vote ‘d’ – you ate a genius. Thanks for this and can’t wait to try it.

    1. Typo!! You didn’t eat a genius you are one. Sorry!

      1. LOL … and there was me thinking you knew about my little affair with that Nobel Prize Winner …

  3. Yes. You are a genius. And I love the quilt!

  4. Wow! Great idea, I’ve never thought of doing it that way, and this the first time I have heard it suggested. Did you press your seams before or after trimming?

    1. I pressed after – as long as you iron your fabric before you cut your squares you should be fine …

  5. Smart woman, the trimming of HSTs kills me every time (well, that and sewing them together afterwards o.O )

  6. No you’re not late. I had a “huh that makes sense” moment. I often think of easier ways of doing things half way through a project and wonder if everyone else does this all along. I enjoy figuring it out for myself though and have never taken a class.

  7. Oooh definitely gonnna give that a go! Sarah is AWESOME.

  8. D is for genius in my book. The last couple of times I’ve actually hated the trimming so desperately that I’ve trimmed 1 and done the rest with scissors around it and over the bin. Or just try and wing it with them untrimmed. Yes I may just be the laziest person ever to walk the earth!!
    So thanks for the tip, I’ll try it next time.

  9. Well, it’s a wonderful idea, but…I vote A. 😉 Well, half of A. There’s a Quilt in a Day ruler just for this, and it’s how I’ve always trimmed my HST. I never understood why everyone else does it the other way! And your way is certainly genius for anyone who doesn’t want to add another ruler to their collection. (The QIAD ruler also has a line to trim QSTs.)

  10. I had seen this technique on Quilt in a Day, but thought, “There is no way I’m buying a special ruler just to trim half square triangles.” Your method, using the regular ruler, is genius. Thanks, Sarah.

  11. It really is brilliant! But… well I think it might work best if your ruler is the same size as your hsts. If your ruler is bigger you’ll have to trim one side then reposition to trim the next. Still easier than the trad method but not as genius. I’ll have to check out the quilt in a day ruler and see what it involves.

    1. ah, but the whole point is that you don’t need a different ruler … You can use any size right angle ruler – the triangle point is 90 degrees, so you just have to mark the diagonal, with tape or summat …

  12. absolute genius!

  13. Sarah you are a genius! I’ll definitely be trying this out.

  14. Yes, genius – I’ve just ironed all my HSTs open but I am going off to iron them all closed again. I think that The Pings Scoot Factor should enter quilting jargon permanently for anything which requires an element of wiggle.

  15. I’m not much of a judge because I’m new at all of this myself but I’m voting GENIUS! Having just trimmed over 400 little hst’s, I sure wish I’d waited until AFTER you had posted this little trick.

  16. I’m thinking more on the genius end!! I am deep into two HST baby quilts and I am going to try this!!!

  17. Fabulously genius! Thanks!!

  18. Sarah that’s genius, will be testing it tonight!!!

  19. Sarah, Thank you so much! I was stuck on a KING SIZE quilt for my son and needed to square up. OMG You made my day!

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