Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Joy of HST's ~ Stitch, Clip and Flip Fun!

Here it is a new year and I'm at the same place I was last year.  How about you? 
 I've got  HST's galore!  Years of snipping, clipping and telling myself  "I'll deal with those next week, next month or when I finish this project."  Oh the joy of creating extra HST's with every quilt, or cutting off the extra and saving them for a someday that never comes.  In my mind there's always a fabulous once in a life time scrappy quilt being made from all the saved triangle and bonus Half Square Triangles(HST's) made using the Stitch and Flip Method. 

 At some point you have to admit to yourself 
"I am the master procrastinator". 
 So there, I said it, fully admitting my problem to myself
Step 1 completed of the 12 steps of  HST recovery.  

Now onto Step 2, find hope, believe in a greater power that will help restore my sanity.   LOL! Sanity!  Have you seen my pile of HST's?  Okay, it said BELEIVE, it never said it was going to be a quick process to sanity.  Honestly I'm not sure any longtime quilter is sane.  Have you seen the fabric stashes out there?  They look more like quilt shops not fabric stashes.  Whole rooms dedicated to fabric storage.  Again, I tell myself BELIEVE in the process.  So I guess that means I'm already in Step 3, Turning over our will and lives to the higher power.  Well sweetheart(higher power) you've got a lot of work to do to cure this crazy quilter and I have faith that you are here to help me get it done.  So grab a rotary cutter and ruler and lets get it done.

 It's so sad that will power and the powers that be don't come with an extra set of hands.  It only comes with mental whispers to stay on track. And those can be silenced with one little Google search for "HST quilt patterns".  SQUIRELL! and down into the dark rabbit hole of HST quilts online.  But I managed to pull myself out of the hole with the chime of the washing machine letting me know it's time to get up and get moving again.  Saved by the bell!  

And back to taking a little inventory.  The HST's have been piling up since about 2004 or 5.  Last January I tried to conqueror them and failed.  I made these little baggies full of squared up HST's of different sizes.  It seemed like a good plan at the time. 

Keeping a running total would have been the right plan but remember I have a problem, so that didn't happen.  In the 1.5" bag I know there's hundreds because most of them came from one quilt about 3 years ago.  So I guess this week I'll count all the HST's in the finished bags and start keeping track when I add more to each bag.  A spreadsheet may be a good idea.  Who knew quilting could be so complicated.  Spreadsheet, tracking and a 12 step program!  I wonder if there's an App for quilting insanity? 

Last May I purchased these adorable little bins to help me organize(hide) my HST stash.  It worked out amazingly well.  So well I forgot all about them.  Well it's time to pull them out of the pretty little containers and make them ugly so I will be forced to work on them.  Seems strange I know but it might work for me...I hope it will work for me....I BELEIVE it will work for me! 

Anyway here's the new ugly storage plan.  It looks like a complete mess but it's organized and looks not so cute sitting on a shelf.  All the HST's above were put into baggies.  100 HST's per bag.
2500 HST's needing to be squared up. 

 The new 2022 plan is to square up 100 HST's first thing every morning.  Doable, right?

Day 1 and 2 went well.  Day 1 was squared up very late in the evening and day 2 was done on time the next morning.  They were both sorted BY size and put away without tracking the amounts.  A computer spreadsheet is killing the process.  Paper and pen?  Or better yet just add the number to the outside of the bag.  Keeping it simple is probably my best bet. 

 Day 3.....would be a big fat 0.  I'm not off to a good start but in my defense every new plan has kinks to be worked out.  The powers that be told me to just make it up today and move on.  It's baby steps, work the program, BELEIVE!

Take a deep breath and just do what I can is all I can do.... breathe..... it's going to all work out, you can do this.  

I finished stitching together the solid HST's and put them into baggies of 100. 

 Ten more baggies of 100 HST's per bag.  

Y'all this is a never ending battle.  I know there's more hiding in this room and I make more weekly with each quilt I make!  Now remember the squared up ones have NOT been counted.  Just how many quilts will I be able to make with all of these?  Should I just sew them together into 12" blocks?  Should I make Star Blocks, an Ocean Wave Quilt or a Tree of Life. 

 You see this is one of my biggest problems, staying focused.  Just work on one small detail at a time.  For now stay focused on squaring up the ones we can see and have ready to be squared up.  Time permitting at the end of the day we can search for the stray HST's hiding in other areas of the Studio.  There's no rush Lea Anne, you have plenty to keep you busy.  Just focus on the task at hand.

Squaring up the many HST's requires a good tool.  I was using a homemade HST locking ruler.  It worked fine and is very accurate but is there a faster way?  YES!  The Quilt in a Day ruler has been the best thing I've found so far to trim large quantities of HST's. 

You can trim all sides at once by lining up the lines on the ruler with the stitching on the HST.

Word of warning, this little tool deceived me.  I assumed that the green lines(green means go or good, right?) were all the normal quilt numbers, you know, 1.5, 1.75, 2., 2.25 and so on.  
Not on this ruler.  Only good green line most used quilters is the one with the whole numbers.  Those small green lines are the oddball number such as 8ths, or 16ths.   I'm not sure which odd number they are so don't use them.  Sadly the direction said nothing about this.  I love Eleanor Burns but her ruler instructions....Not so much.  

Staying calm....It's okay, it gave me another opportunity to control my temper while I squared them up again.   Did I control my temper?  Well no one was hurt and no curse words were spoken, so chalk it up to a success! 

In all honesty the ruler has drastically reduce the trimming process time.  Just line up the little bity lines with the hard to see stitches and trim.  It's magical!...once you get the hang of it.

I'm also trimming the little wings/dog ears off.  What do you call them?  I've heard them called both.  The Quilt Police corrects folks from time to time but I'm not sure.  It seems the quilt police can't agree on the proper term for those little fabric thingies that stick out.  Seriously, I saw a disagreement about this on Facebook awhile back.  NUTS!  Who gives a flying flip, just cut them off or leave them the choice is yours, Karen.

BREATHE, everything is okay....just hunky dory.

Sorry about the little rant.  This whole HST situation I've gotten myself into....well you know....it's a process and tension gets high.  I just need to take it one day at a time and deal with one thing at time.  Fake it till you make it! 
Okay...faking it.....

 I love HST's! 
This is so much fun! 
I'm so glad I waited so long to square up all of these!  
Can I have more please!
Oh Happy Day!

On a serious note....

Quilting like everything else in life, is a process, a learning experience, a challenge, a release or however you look at it.  I choose to make light of most bad habits, situations and challenges in my life.  Like many of you, I've come a long way in my 52 years of existence.   Good and bad. 

I'm in no way making fun of anyone who is or has done a 12 step program.  I'm a dry/sober alcoholic.  I understand the struggle of trying and failing, getting back up the next day only to make it an hour longer than the day before failing.  I learned in those hard times of living that the thing that was  missing in my life was laughter.   Laughter has been a way for me to deal with the hard times and not reach for the bottle, food or a whole array of bad habits.   Quilting is also a way for me to deal with life.  It helped me to dry out and stay focused.  It's not always easy to laugh at my mistakes but when I can, I do.

Blessing to you all,  see you soon.

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  1. Ooh I have a bunch of those! I have them in little snap together containers and one of those picture cases that have a bunch of rectangular boxes in them. Got a bunch at Costco!

    1. Costco! I never even thought about looking there. I guess I should put my membership to use, it's been about a month or two since my last visit. Thanks!

  2. Lea Anne, I loved your blog post tonight. You made me laugh and It was very nice. This past year has been really hard for me so now I am trying to get back into doing things. I have a big basket of HST's that need trimming.( Not quite as many as you) I think I will try your method and just maybe I can get them done. Mine will be made into Star blocks. Good luck getting yours finished.

    1. Awe, thank you. It's nice to know I made you smile. I try not to be an ole fuddy duddy but sometimes it happens. Good luck! We can do this! Have a blessed day!

  3. I am seriously in awe of how many HSTs you have! It will be fun to see what you come up with :-) Thanks for the chuckles, laughter really is good medicine.

    1. LOL! In awe! I'm almost disgusted with myself for letting them get to this point but now I'm feeling a little better. AWE sounds so much better. In a matter of seconds I went from doing 12 step program to beinga quilting rock star. Hmm....Rock stars almost always need a 12 step program.😅

  4. I love using the Quilt in a Day ruler for HST's, too. It makes trimming go so much more quickly. I have to say... I get overwhelmed with scraps and end up giving away or throwing away (GASP!!) the smaller scraps. It will be fun to see what you come up with for your HST's. It will be beautiful!

    1. Oh my! I can't tell you how many times I've said that's it, they are going in the trash. Only to pull them out of the trash later. I'm a functional fabri-holic. However on the plus side, I don't have a problem giving away fabric I don't like to a needy quilter.

  5. I do up my 'bonus' HSTs as I work a project. They are stored by size as well and I go to those bins when I need xx number of them for a project. Nice to have a step ahead where you can.

    1. Your plan was my plan without the actual follow through. Pat Sloan has started using the scraps from the quilt to make the back of the quilt. I used to do this too but it became to time consuming. Maybe I need to get back my quilting roots. Back then there was little to no scraps. Thanks for the reminder!

    2. Using a pile of HST's make Ocean Waves blocks. When you get a quilt top done with those, go on to the next... till you have a few or more quilt tops done from these.

    3. Ocean Waves is so pretty and It's on my list of might make with the HST's.


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