Have I mentioned my HST nemesis?

It happened again. Every single time I go to make a block with Half Square Triangles (HST), I inevitably screw up the pattern. I make those darn things perfectly because I always over size them and trim down…so my blocks look beautiful but they are not “right”. This is what happened to me on every Swoon block I did and again so often in my bee, the Stash Trad Bee.

Because we are doing traditional designs, we are often using HSTs in the blocks. And my brain can apparently only handle so many steps before it goes caput and stops accurately seeing the pattern.

Here’s the block I made for Tiffany. Interesting? Perhaps. Well made? Yes. Correct Pattern? NO.

Every freaking time!!!

My title of the picture when I took it was “Every Freaking Time!!!”. I was slightly frustrated but humble enough to grab my phone quickly to take a picture for you all…because really…it has just gotten a little ridiculous how I manage to mess up every HST block I do.

And here it is as it was supposed to be. I had to take apart every row and resew them together in reverse order.

That's better

Ah well… I will never get cocky because things like this always happen to me. If you can do it wrong, then I will.

I really need to invest in a better seam ripper. I used to tell people that half of sewing is ironing. Well I’ve decided to change it up. 1/3 of sewing is actual sewing, 1/3 is ironing, and 1/3 is using your seam ripper to take out your mistakes.

Who’s with me!?

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40 thoughts on “Have I mentioned my HST nemesis?

  1. The first one looks like an interesting block to me. You could have just left it alone and called it a design decision. 🙂

    I just tried a new seam ripper today. It's battery operated and looks like a small hair trimmer. That sucker rips through a seam lickety split. And, it doesn't cut the fabric. We tried to make it cut the fabric and it wouldn't. I believe it costs around $20. I'm hoping JoAnn's picks it up so I can get it with a coupon or on sale. I could have used one tonight as I was sewing strip sets and plucked a strip off the wrong pile.

  2. i used to do it often, now only occasionally. I watched one of Eleanor Burns video's. She shows how to lay out the blocks next to the machine. starting at the top left corner pick the pieces up to chain stich the first vertical row. At the end of the row take the chained pieces off the machine and start again from the top. She does not cut the threads between each row until they are all joined up so you have a loose grid of horizontal rows loosely connected by the chain stitch. You press the rows in alternate directions and do the horizontal seams. Practically impossible to get it wrong. Hope this helps. Your finished blocks are amazing and fabric choices to die for.

  3. I would have to say that this is one of the most inspirational and encouraging posts I've ever read. Knowing that you, my quilting idol (every block that I've marked to make in Modern Blocks and 100 Blocks is one of yours), can mess up something that is supposedly simple, makes me believe that there really is hope for the rest of us 😉 Thanks for sharing.

  4. So glad that I'm not the only one using my seam ripper regularly. I agree with Barbara – the first block looked pretty interesting. I was trying to figure out what was wrong with it 🙂

  5. I'm directionally challenged as well 🙁 I have finally made friends with hst. I wasn't sure we'd ever come to that 😉
    ps- I buy cheap walmart seam rippers…when they don't "rip" with enough zest, I just pull out another cheap-o 😉 voila!
    Pps – yourfirst block was pretty 🙂

  6. I agree! why can't sewing just be about sewing? I spent a couple hours today cutting out fabric for a new bag and then ironing on the fusible interfacing – which i HATE doing because it takes FOREVER lol. And yea, my seam ripper is my best friend because we spend so much time together, like it or not 🙂

    By the way, I like the block you accidentally created!

  7. Love your block! I must admit I made a pillowcase today and spent more time ripping out the seams that I messed up! Would have thrown it in the trash but the fabric was mail order. That's the way it goes.

  8. Lately I've been somehow not getting the right sides together. One will be turned wrong. Since it is a recent phenomena, I don't know what to make of it. Guess we have the frogging technique down pat. Ripit, ripit, ripit!

  9. Well at least the wrong one is pretty too? 😉 Ya I have 4 seam rippers so one is always at hand, I hate to think how much time I'd spend going to GET a seam ripper if I just kept one in a central location!

  10. I really like the block, but I know how frustrating it gets. I'm working on a HST quilt and it shouldn't be that hard. How it can change from the design wall to my machine is a mystery! My favorite seam ripper is from Bernina. It's thin so it slips under that seam easily and it's super sharp! By the way I really hope you had enough interest for the quilt along! I have been thinking about it daily haha

  11. I use my seam ripper on every project….I think measuring, cutting take up alot of time. There is very little sewing going on when we say we are "sewing."

  12. My seam ripper is always on my table 😉 I actually like your "not correct" block very much, it would make a very interesting quilt.

  13. Both blocks are great. Clover makes a great seam ripper with a nice handle. Seam rippers do get dull so it's a good idea to get a new one every few years. Mine certainly gets a good workout too.

  14. I am so with you that is why when I decided to keep track of my sewing/crafting projects (when I have time to do that) I called my blog: SewRipRepeat. At least once I'm ripping something out. Glad to see someone who has alot more experience than me has the same problems. To be honest I liked that block both ways!

  15. I am supposed to have 3 seam rippers. Don't ask where all of them are. They always seem to disappear when I need them. And they've got a lot of work to do with the latest trial of paper piecing. The best thing really is to keep the picture of the finished block close by and to check frequently (especially for night sewing).

  16. Love this post! It's so true, isn't it?! HST's are tricky and I've been putting off Swoon because of it. Although I am totally cutting bigger and trimming down. Thanks for keeping it real, I think we can all relate to that!

  17. Oh my goodness, yes! I often think I should come up with a post titled "Ode to a Seam Ripper". But then the seam has been fixed and the block corrected and I continue on as if the seam ripper will finally rest in peace. Which it never will… Ah well. Your block is beautiful.

  18. LOL. Well, you did come up with an interesting pattern there. Maybe you could sell it? : )

    I got a good tip at a guild meeting about stitch ripping. Use an eyebrow trimmer (you can get them at Walgreens, etc.) You can run the eyebrow trimmer right down the seam in a flash – it cuts the threads but not the fabric. it's amazing!

  19. This may sound heartless but I love hearing about your HST nemesis! You crack me up! I've seen your work and you're amazing many times over so it's just amazing to me. Have you tried laying it out and only picking up one piece at a time to sew them on? Maybe a design wall or something would help? I hear you about the thirds breakdown. My seam ripper and I are good friends.

  20. I recently upgraded my seam ripper to one that looks like a surgical scalpel. It works great, and fast. Unfortunately, it also feels like a scalpel when I accidentally jab it into my finger . . .

  21. I need a new seam ripper too. Those things are underrated.

    Oh, and don't forget the part of sewing that is staring at your work trying to get up the gumption or finally decide what to do next!

  22. OMG… you all are cracking me up LOL Probably because I can identify with what you've shared. My seam ripper and I are BFF's. I like all of the suggestions that were made. Love the idea for a new block too 😉

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