Santa Cruz Triangle Quilt // Tutorial


Welcome to Day 5 of the Festival of Half Square Triangles! Thanks, Megan, for inviting me to participate. I love half square triangles, and use them all of the time in quilt blocks. This time, I wanted to do something other than a traditional block with repeats.

The colors in this quilt remind me of the beach, although truth be told Santa Cruz is a little bit gray-er than this :) Santa Cruz, the quilt, is a combination of two quilts I have loved making—Cool by the Pool and  Streetscape in Triangles.   This simple but graphic design sews up quickly and the layout is a bit like a puzzle–you can arrange the 3 rows of half square triangles in any shape you wish: pinwheels, flying geese, diamonds, stars, a combination, or (mostly) randomly, as I have.
(27) 5” blocks (~2/3 yard fabric)
1/4 yard solid (color)
1/2 yard solid (neutral)
1 yard + scraps backing fabric
1/3 yard binding fabric
40” x 40” piece of batting


The feature section of Santa Cruz is made entirely of half square triangles; the directions allow for trimming the half square triangle pairs. In my first HST quilt, I didn’t realize I needed to trim them. Trust me. It helps! Press fabric before cutting the 5” squares; use starch or starch alternative if desired.Note: All seams are 1/4”.

Cutting Instructions
Cut 27  5’’ blocks from yardage or scraps
Cut 5 binding strips to preferred width
Trim the 1/4 of fabric to 8 1/2” x width of fabric
Trim the 1/2 of fabric to 16 1/2” x width of fabric
Half Square Triangle Assembly
1. Use the marking method of your choice (I prefer hera markers) to mark a diagonal line on the back of half of the 5” squares.  Pair marked squares with unmarked pairs.
2. Pin if desired, and sew a 1/4” seam to the left of your center dividing line.  Chain piece your squares. Note: Chain piecing is another word for assembly line piecing. Instead of sewing two blocks together, cutting the threads and putting them in a pile, sew multiple pairs of blocks together in a row, without cutting the threads between them. This speeds up your piecing, and if your machine tends to sputter or catch threads if the needle isn’t on the fabric when you start sewing, this helps that problem.
3. If you have particularly bold color combinations that you do not want to repeat, then cut those pairs in half diagonally along the marked line. Mix and match the unsewn triangles, place right sides together, and sew a 1/4” along the edge.  For the remaining pairs, sew a 1/4” line to the right of the center line.
4. Cut each pair in half diagonally along the marked line. Open triangle pairs and press towards the darker fabric.
5. To square half square triangles, line up the seam with the 45 degree angle mark on your quilting ruler, and trim blocks to 4 1/2” x 4 1/2”.

Quilt Top Assembly
1. Arrange triangles in 3 rows of 9 pairs. Rearrange until you have a pattern you like.

2. Sew triangles together in vertical rows. Note: Take a quick picture of the quilt layout for future reference, in case some of the blocks get mixed up on the way to your machine.

3. Press Row 1 towards the top, Row 2 towards the bottom, and Row 3 towards the top so that you can nest the seams as you pin and sew.

4. Pin Rows 1 and 2 on either side of each seam. Sew and press.  Pin Row 3 to Row 2. Sew and press.

5. Pin and sew the colored solid measuring 8 1/2” x width of fabric to the left of row 1 (I added a small strip to to top, just because). Pin and sew the neutral solid measuring 16 1/2” x width of fabric to the right of row 3. Press both sides. Quilt top complete!  Check back for a finished quilt soon!

Finishing the Quilt
1. The finished quilt top measures 36 1/2” x 36 1/2”. If you use a 1 yard piece for the back, piece a small strip (a row of half square triangles?) to add to the back, which will be just a few inches short. (Simple ideas for piecing backs shared as part of 100 Quilts for Kids)

2. Create a quilt sandwich using the quilt top, batting, and quilt back.

3. Baste and quilt using your favorite method  (Quilting ideas and tutorials gathered here as part of 100 Quilts for Kids)

4. Sew binding strips together and bind your quilt! (Check out Heather Bailey’s hand binding tutorial or my Machine Binding Tutorial if needed)

Please let me know if you have any questions, I’ll answer them in the comments. Don’t forget to link up any project you have made using half square triangles on Megan’s blog starting Monday, April 16. Further instructions are here!
And now, what to make with the scraps?
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  1. Posted April 6, 2012 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Great quilt! I really do need to work with solids more!! You are certainly inspiring me to!

  2. Posted April 6, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    I love this! And not just because I live in Santa Cruz. 😀 I am really loving what everyone is doing with solids these days!

  3. Posted April 6, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I would make HST mug rugs or pot holder with the scraps… your work inspire me to work with solids!!Thanks for sharing:)

  4. Posted April 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I really love this Katie! Great job!

  5. Posted April 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I really have so many scraps but when I look at the I can’t seem to figure out how they would make a quilt..yours looks great.

  6. Quilter Kathy
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Fun quilt! And the jar of scraps looks like more fun waiting to happen!

  7. notes of sincerity
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Those colors remind me of Santa Cruz.
    What a great quilt! :o)

  8. Posted April 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Lovely quilt. I love HST, they are so versatile. Very nice color scheme.

  9. Posted April 6, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    So bright and beachy – LOVE it!

  10. Posted April 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Your quilt is so beautiful! I love also your last photo with the scraps!

  11. Posted April 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink


  12. Posted April 7, 2012 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    That color combo is nice! Cute quilt! How are you thinking of quilting it?

  13. Posted April 7, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    i just adore the colours in your quilt! i am still to have a go a making a solids quilt – but seeing how beautiful yours looks I’m going to have to try it soon! thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    This is such an appealing project…back to basics with the HST’s but in an inspired new way!

  15. Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    I love this color palette, Katie! Gorgeous, great job!

  16. Posted April 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Your quilt is gorgeous and love the photo with the scraps.I will get some solid fabrics to play with them.
    I use scraps to sew strings blocks

  17. Posted April 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous color and wonderful quilt – Thanks for the Shout Out to Santa Cruz – our sunny blue skies this weekend is living up to the name!!

  18. Posted February 15, 2013 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Wonderful beachy quilt! Just gorgeous:)

  19. Posted June 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    This is just a beautiful quilt! The color choice is spot on.

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