The Retro HST Quilt
In three seasons of 2022, I made three quilts that traveled with me between the Eastern and Mountain time zones of the USA. I love “Quilts in the Wild” and capturing these in different cities and seasons, in various stages of completion was a treat. So, with that in mind (and because I’m about a year delayed in writing these stories), I’m going to do a 3 part series. One more thing they all have in common is that they were all three made from my scrap stash. It’s hard to say now, but I’m guessing some element of it was an Earth Day focus, using what I have without buying new. There truly is a blessing in using what you have; I could not be more pleased with these quilts.
A Sew Along
One of the great things about the Instagram quilting community are the friendships that can develop between quilters who may have never even met in person. A shared passion for fabric & design, is something we can talk about for days. Fine tuning skills with tips & tricks, as well as collaborating on patterns or even sew-alongs, is actually fun. This Retro HST (half-square triangle) Quilt was born out of an IG sew-along.
Quilty friends, @lizzymakes, @knotted_thread & @graccieone were the spark behind this sew-along in the spring of 2022. It was inspired by a half-square quilt created by Red Pepper Quilts (the original is a 9-patch HST block) and had been made by Elizabeth. Jen & Amanda hosted a “create at your own pace” sew-along and I liked the idea of a giant quilt, but at my own pace, and not on a group deadline. I started pulling fabric and pairing up squares.
Keeping the momentum going with more fabric pairings and trimming. In true to me form, once I started, I was pretty singularly focused!
A few tools to help with accuracy and flat blocks are always right by my sewing machine. The wool pressing mat, my LDH snips, a hot iron and a tailor’s clapper are all used in a day’s work.
The Block Assembly
Accuracy in the first cut is important, but it’s also important how we press (not iron) and trim our blocks to size. This particular quilt of mine has 576 half-square triangles. A little bit “off” x 576 will result in a wonky, not square or flat quilt top. I knew that if I was going to cut this many pieces, they had to be spot-on!
What’s on the inside matters too. I love how quilt blocks look from the side you’ll never see once it’s quilted.
Little by little, I pulled fabric and paired the darker pieces with some low-volume prints. I tried to stick to a schedule of making a few each day because I could tell right away I was going to like this and wanted to see it through to the end. That isn’t always the case. Some “starts” are not the favorite “finishes”.
Off to Utah
I finished this before our trip to Provo and lovingly packed a suitcase with three quilts to take for photos. It’s been a long time since I was in the mountains west of home, so I was excited about the potential for great scenery. Provo did not disappoint!
Two perspectives along the same sidewalk at Bridal Veil Falls. I wish there was sound…the waterfall and the gentle breeze cannot be captured here; it was a spectacular spot.
I like the contrast of the color and softness of all this fabric against river rocks and the roar of nature. Of course, I was on alert for gusts of wind so that my quilt top didn’t get blown into the stream. That would likely not be pretty!
Back to the East Coast
Once I returned home, this was sent to be long-arm quilted. I’m so thankful to have the option to send big quilts out for the magic of edge to edge quilting. I don’t think I could do it justice, for a quilt this size, on my domestic machine.
I chose a swirl pantograph to give movement to all the angles and squares. The backing is a text print (my editing / writing days shine through in fabric prints, sometimes); the binding is a Liberty print. It pulls colors from the front, coordinates with the print on the back; subtle, but interesting, in my opinion.
I’ve shifted to machine binding my larger, personally owned quilts. Yes, it’s special to have them hand-bound. But, we use our quilts and they are washed often, so I like the added assurance of a solid, machine seam.
Retro HST in Autumn
The good thing about an “at your own pace” sew-along is that I wasn’t behind schedule when I finally had it pieced, quilted, traveled and bound for photos in a New England Autumn! As much as I loved the Utah mountain shots, the backdrop of red trees is pretty cool too.
This one is well traveled and well loved, season to season. I look forward to making another!
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