Friday, November 29, 2013

Turkey's Dilemma

HST = Half Square Triangle Unit
FG = Flying Geese Unit
HQST = Half Quarter Square Triangle Unit

Fabric requirements for a 12” block:

Please note that the dimensions below are for precise piecing.  

I almost always oversize my squares by 1/8” –1/4 “ and trim down to size after sewing.
All seams are 1/4".

Background Fabric
(8) 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” squares
(4) 2-7/8” x 2-7/8” squares  (for HSTs)
(8) 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” squares (for FGs)
(4) 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” rectangles (for FGs)

Color A (corners and center)
(6) 2-7/8” x 2-7/8” squares for HST and HQSTs

Colors B and C
(2) 2-7/8” x 2-7/8” squares each for HSTs
(1) 3-1/4” x 3-1/4” squares each for HQSTs
(4) 2-1/2” x 2-1/2” squares each for FGs
(2) 2-1/2” x 4-1/2” rectangles each for FGs

Make the HSTs!

Using 4 squares of each, pair a color A square with a background square.
Draw a diagonal between two corners and stitch a 1/4" to each side of the line.
Cut apart on the line.  Press seams towards Color A.
Assemble the 4-square corner unit as follows:
Sew an HST to a background square.  Repeat for all 8 HSTs.   The orientation of each HST set must be the same.  Press seams towards Color A.

Sew two pairs together to form the four-square block.  Press half of the seams in one direction, and the others in the opposite direction.  The goal is to have the seams pointing towards the outer edge of the finished block when the corner squares are placed.

Make the Flying Geese!

Draw a diagonal Line on 8 of the 2 -1/2” x 2 -1/2” background squares and (2) each of the Color B and C squares.
Lay a white square over a colored rectangle. Aligned at three sides top.  Stitch ON the diagonal.  Trim off corner, 1/4" from the seam.  Press the seams toward the background.
Repeat on the opposite corner.  Make two of each color.
Make the background geese in the same manner, except sew colored squares onto the background rectangle.  Press the seams toward the background.

Create pairs of geese by sewing coordinating color and background geese together along the “bottom” edge.  Press the seam toward the background.
Make the HQSTs!

Pair up the 3-1/4" color squares, B with C to make an HST.
Draw a diagonal through between two corners and stitch 1/4” to each side.
Cut apart on the line.  Press these seams apart.   

Next, pair up the two-color HST with a color A square .  Aligning a ruler marking with the seam on the HST, cut in half on the opposite diagonal.  [edited to add:] The idea here is to cut exactly perpendicular to the seam line of the original HST by taking advantage of the ruler markings perpendicular to the ruler edge.  The diagram below on the left shows the cut line. 

Stitch the cut edge in a 1/4” seam.  Press these seams open.
Note: making HQSTs from two squares results in alternating orientations – this is want we need for this block!
(It is possible to make these by drawing a diagonal, but I find I have better luck aligning the angles by cutting into triangles first.)

Assemble the center square:
Assemble the block!

Arrange blocks per diagram. 
Sew blocks together as indicated.  Press seams towards the geese blocks.
Sew each row together.  The new seam line should intersect the points.
(This is when I break out the pins, aligning seams and points, and pinning each side of the seam.)

And that’s it!  The Turkey’s Dilemma!


  1. I like this block, but I am a little confused about the following in making the HSTs.

    "Aligning a ruler marking with the seam on the HST, cut in half on the opposite diagonal.

    Stitch the cut edge in a 1/4” seam. Press these seams open."

    Can you show a diagram or picture or even a sketch showing what you mean by aligning the seam with a ruler and cutting?

    1. Hi Susan - For this step, first make a standard HST, stack it RST with a solid square, and cut the two stacked squares in half on the diagonal PERPENDICULAR to the seam line of the original HST.

      I like to align a line on my ruler with the seam line and a perpendicular ruler edge with the opposing corners to make sure I'm cutting at exactly 90 degrees to the seam.

      Since the squares were already stacked RST before cutting, the resulting triangles are ready to sew.

      The small diagram below this step in the post shows the original HST with a solid line from the top to bottom corner - this is the cut line.

      It's basically the same as making a regular HST - but cutting the squares in half BEFORE stitching rather than after. I find I can be more precise this way.

      I hope this helps! If you'd like more clarification, please let me know!