Half Square Spectrum Quilt

This quilt has been in the works for a L O N G time.  One of those quilts that I wanted to work on (because I was making it purely for me), but always got pushed to the bottom of the priority list. I cut out all the fabrics last fall and played with the layout for these half-square triangle blocks, but that’s as far as I got. The blocks resurfaced this summer and I started sewing them into rows, but it kept getting pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Then in a one-night sewing binge at the Sewing Summit, I cranked this baby out – well, the rows anyway. Then some time to add some borders, get it quilted and she’s finally done!

Why do I bore you with all those details? Well, mainly because I do not want anyone under the misconception that I sit and whip out a quit in a weekend or two. The majority of the quilts that I make are L O N G, drawn-out works in progress.  Just because they magically appear finished for a blog post doesn’t mean they are whipped up over night.

This quilt was all about playing with fabric and color.  It started out with a couple of Freebird charm packs. (One of my all time favorite fabric collections. I used it in the big circles quilt too.) I didn’t have enough for a whole quilt, but the colors and prints played together so nicely with the abundance of American Jane fabrics in my stash as well as a few random Denyse Schmidt, Amy Butler, etc. prints. Also I have a thing for color spectrums. (I think it comes from visiting Purl Soho – the whole store is so pretty with everything organized by colors.) I tried a layout mixing the colors but everything looked muddy – putting the colors together made them sing. (Not literally, but you know what I mean.) I love it.

In total I cut 125 print 5″ x 5″ squares and 125 white 5″ x 5″ squares. I used my Accuquilt Cutter to cut all the half-square triangles at once (alternating with the white so that they are matched up and ready to sew) but you could also use this method to quickly piece your Half Square Triangles. I then used extra solid white to create the borders to give the illusion of the “floating” triangles.

What I’m not sure about is the triangles ‘bleeding’ into the borders.  It was nice in theory, but the jury is still out about the final result.

The pieced back was born more of necessity – I didn’t have quite enough of this yardage for the back, but it’s always fun to come up with a solution right?  And applying my goal of pulling from the stash only this is what came from it.  The red floral is probably my favorite print from that good ol’ Freebird collection.

Binding again from the stash.  The fabric is a stripe from a Christmas collection that I got on clearance one year. Not sure how I feel about this one either. The colors are perfect, but the stripe feels wide.  I think it will grow on me. Maybe the floating triangles in the borders too. If not, then I can always cut off the borders and re-bind right?

It’s so satisfying to complete a quilt for myself that I love. Fun to look at every fabric and color and feel warm and fuzzy about each one. (I know, I’m a dork.) I cut all the HST (half-square triangles) with my Accuquilt Go cutter. Cut all those triangles SO fast.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Oh, how gorgeous! Amy, it&#39;s just perfect! I <i>love</i> the triangles bleeding into the border. And the colors are just so beautiful.<br /><br />I also appreciate your details on how long it took to make. I don&#39;t crank quilts out in a week either, that&#39;s for sure. : )

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I really like it! I think the binding works and so do the little tringles in the border. It makes the design a little different. Great stash buster!

  • Reply
    In Black and White
    January 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I think the triangles in the border were a great choice – punches the whole design up a notch.

  • Reply
    B Greene
    January 28, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Another &quot;yes&quot; to the triangles in the border. Love it!

  • Reply
    Melissa @ Happy Quilting
    January 28, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I love it Amy!!! And I also love the triangles in the border!! I bet it feels awesome to have this done. Nothing like finishing those old ones to put a smile on your face 🙂

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 10:10 am

    LOVE!! The color spectrum is so pretty to look at. I will be pinning this to my Quilt Love board and hopefullake something similar for myself one day 😉 Smiles~Beth<br />PS~It&#39;s so nice to hear that I am not the only one that doesn&#39;t make a week!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I love this! It&#39;s all so lovely! The triangles in the border and the binding make this unique, but that&#39;s why I like it! Great job!

  • Reply
    Goddess in Progress
    January 28, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Looks wonderful! I like the &quot;extra&quot; triangles in the borders, but I can see how you would be unsure about them. I often feel like that if I take a kooky little risk in a quilt that I&#39;m not 100% sure of.<br /><br />The other thing I sometimes struggle to remember is that not every quilt I make is going to be an absolute favorite. So if I&#39;ve made a few in a row that I REALLY love,

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Love the color spectrum! The overall effect is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Live a Colorful Life
    January 28, 2012 at 10:44 am

    This is a beautiful quilt. I really like that the triangles bleed into the borders. That is a very fun detail. It takes me forever to get a quilt done most of the time. It&#39;s nice to know that it&#39;s not just me…

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Your quilt is so pretty. I like the triangles in the border, it gives the quilt some movement. I am a very slow quilter. I might start something today and not finish it for a year or two unless I am making it as a present. If it is a present I make a quilt very fast because I wait until the last minute.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 10:48 am

    The color order is so pretty. I don&#39;t know why, but I always want to describe thing in order as yummy. And this quit is delicious.

  • Reply
    Sandra (Cherry Heart)
    January 28, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I love that each fabric makes you feel warm and fuzzy, not dorkish at all in my book!!<br /><br />The quilt is beautiful, I love that red backing fabric too – gorgeous!<br /><br />S x

  • Reply
    Token Asian Friend
    January 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Beautiful! I like the &quot;bleeding triangles.&quot; I think that helps separate it from other HST quilts. and the rainbow is awesome.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Really, really pretty Amy! Beautiful job!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Oh, so beautiful!!! I love everything about this quilt, fabric, layout, bleeding triangles, and the binding. It works together so well.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    I love everything about this quilt! Especially the bleeding triangles and the color spectrum!!!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Definitely swoon worthy!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    So fun Amy!!! It&#39;s beautiful! I pinned it! Cute back too!<br /><br />Amber

  • Reply
    Sew Create It - Jane
    January 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Fantastic! I love the colours and the triangles in the borders…gives it movement and a very modern feel!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I LOVE the triangles in the borders Amy, it is unexpected and fun! The whole package is just perfect. But I know what you mean, sometimes after looking at it so long you start to second guess every part!<br /><br />I just loved seeing this top come together at Sewing Summit, and your HUGE smile in the wee hours of the night as you held up the finished product for us all to admire 🙂 Long

  • Reply
    Julie in WA
    January 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I like the triangles popping out and the binding….sometimes quilts are too predictable, and this may fall into that category if you pull it apart.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I absolutely love, love, love this quilt. I wouldn&#39;t change a thing!

  • Reply
    Michelle @ the quilted tortoise
    January 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Ooooooh, it&#39;s beeeautiful!!

  • Reply
    Katy Cameron
    January 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Love the graduations through the spectrum and the errant triangles wandering off at the sides :oD It&#39;s always fab to make something just for you too :o)

  • Reply
    Pamela Nees
    January 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Amy, this quilt is absolutely beautiful! Love the layout! You have done a great job!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I love, love, love this quilt! It&#39;s spectacular. I know you will have many hours snuggled under it.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    That is just the most beautiful quilt – it is just perfect. Enjoy it with your family.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    such awesome quilt.I love everything in this quilt!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I love the triangles that are escaping out into the edges of the quilt too. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I love it!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I love the triangles in the border. I&#39;m glad you got to make something just for you.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    I love it!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I LOVE it! I may cut up some of my bigger scraps and do something similar . . .

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    The bleeding triangles are my FAVORITE!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    I LOVE this quilt. You did such an awesome job! I have quite a few charm packs &amp; yardage of this fabric in my stash. Just not enough hours in the day!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Amy, it&#39;s perfect!! Such a beautiful quilt and love, love,love the colors!! Has to bring a smile to your face!!:)

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Your quilt is so sweet. A KEEPER!

  • Reply
    Claire Jain
    January 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    This one&#39;s a winner! I fell in love with the binding in the first photo of the quilt. I also think the triangles in the border are a fun modern touch. Thanks for sharing this beautiful quilt!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Beautiful quilt! I love the triangles bleeding into the borders! Its one of my favorite parts! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    I very much like both the floating triangles and the binding. And the layout and fabrics!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Beautiful quilt! I love the triangles bleeding into the borders! Its one of my favorite parts! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Beautiful quilt, the color are great love the back. Enjoy it.

  • Reply
    Judy Blinkenberg
    January 28, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    This blog was very nice. I love the quilt and I aspire to make one too. I like the white. I think HST&#39;s are my favorite. Thank you for letting me know that I don&#39;t have to feel bad taking time to make quilts. Many blogs I follow make quilts every week. I guess I&#39;m just slow. Thank you.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Love this Amy! I think the outer triangles are just perfect. Everything about the quilt and the color are great. So fun to see you today!!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Beautiful! Definitly inpsires me to make something like this, I love it. Pinned for the future! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 29, 2012 at 12:41 am

    I love the triangles in the borders! Lovely quilt, enjoy!

  • Reply
    Evelene S
    January 29, 2012 at 1:05 am

    I love it! Your first instincts were<br />right on the money with the bleeding triangles and the binding. It is beautiful!

  • Reply
    Karen M
    January 29, 2012 at 6:11 am

    I love your quilt. I always love a scrappy look. IMHO-keep the triangles in the border. They really make this quilt stand out.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Love it! First thing I noticed was how cool it looked with the triangles bleeding into the border!

  • Reply
    Heidi Staples
    January 29, 2012 at 10:35 am

    This is absolutely beautiful. I love the color spectrum of this quilt!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    this is such a great quilt! It was fun to see it in person 🙂

  • Reply
    January 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Beautiful quilt! I like the triangles &quot;bleeding&quot; into the borders. And you came up with a great solution for the back. Simply lovely! Enjoy!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Simply lovely!!!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    What a beautiful quilt! I love the binding – it really does bring the quilt together…and the pieced backing is one of my favorites I&#39;ve seen. Such a simple but beautiful design. Congrats on finishing it!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    I LOVE the floating triangles in the border! That, added with the fact that you grouped the colours, is my favourite.<br />It&#39;s a beautiful quilt!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    It&#39;s beautiful Amy! I love how you&#39;ve used the colors – very clever!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    It&#39;s absolutely beautiful and I wouldn&#39;t change a thing!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2012 at 12:40 am

    Gorgeous quilt.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2012 at 3:02 am

    I know EXACTLY how you feel about your fabrics, I feel the same about mine every time I open my cupboard doors. In fact, there are some fabrics I love sooo much, that I&#39;m waiting for that &#39;special&#39; project before I cut in to them!

  • Reply
    My Health Journey
    January 30, 2012 at 4:33 am

    It is so lovely and well done. I do understand how long it can take to complete a quilt. My first few took forever. One of them several years. I have only recently started sewing more because I am retired. So, good on you girl! I love these fabrics too!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Dackson
    January 30, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Oh, wow, Amy, this is so gorgeous!!! I really do love how you added the triangles in the border, I think that&#39;s a really cool, unique touch. And the binding is awesome too, I really do think it will grow on you 🙂

  • Reply
    January 30, 2012 at 9:33 am

    That quilt is gorgeous! Being the beginner that I am, triangles make me really nervous. 🙂 Someday I&#39;ll tackle it. And I absolutely LOVE what you did on the back.

  • Reply
    Carolyn J.
    January 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    You&#39;re quilt is lovely….color, triangles, border, binding, backing, I love it all!<br /><br />Congrats on a great finish!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    great work! Love it!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    i love spectrum quilts. i&#39;ve had the color wheel bundle from purl soho on my wishlist for a few years. actually, i have to say that the first thing that drew me to this quilt were the floating triangles. it makes it a little less perfectly organized, which is cool. i love freebird, too. i have a couple charm packs that i&#39;ve been hoarding. this might be a good place for them. beautiful

  • Reply
    January 31, 2012 at 2:39 am

    The quilt is gorgeous! <br />I am quilting my HST spectrum quilt at the moment, they turn out awsome! <br />Best wishes, Barbara

  • Reply
    January 31, 2012 at 8:15 am

    i love those triangles in the border….it looks so fun. the colors and the back of this are amazing

  • Reply
    Nanette Merrill
    January 31, 2012 at 10:10 am

    A finished quilt is a joy forever. Or very nearly. This one is lovely.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2012 at 11:30 am

    This is beautiful! Is this the one you took to piece at the Summit? I love the border. Don&#39;t change it!! I might make one of these for my own. Love the color spectrum and those fabrics!!! And…if you ever want to get rid of them you know where to donate. 😉

  • Reply
    January 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    That made me laugh – &quot;warm and fuzzy about each one&quot; – that&#39;s exactly how I feel about my fabrics!! Maybe that makes me a dork too?!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Well, I absolutely love the floaters. They freshen up an already-beautiful design. Thanks, too, for reminding us that quilts are usually a loooong time in the making. When you follow a lot of blogs like I do, you see a lot of finishes and it&#39;s easy to forget that they take time.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Super duper gorgeous! I love the rainbow, very happy quilt.

  • Reply
    Lisa Ann
    February 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Wow, this quilt is perfect! I love the pattern and colors! And the triangles in the border is so nice.

  • Reply
    Jessica PierreAuguste
    February 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    This quilt is great! I love the triangles, the colors, and the triangles extending in to the border. Great use of scraps!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Wow! And wow! 🙂

  • Reply
    Susie at ProsperityStuff
    February 3, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Beautiful! I LOVE the &quot;spectrum&quot; look – you&#39;re right: the colors sing! Delightful! And, so satisfying to finish up a project for yourself after a long time. (I blogged about one like that today, too.) Now I want to make a spectrum quilt, too. Thanks for the beautiful inspiration!

  • Reply
    February 4, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I really love this one, and I think the binding works really nicely.

  • Reply
    notes of sincerity
    February 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Beautifully done Amy!! :o)

  • Reply
    February 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I love this quilt, I think I might make one like it. I have a million scraps I could use up. Beautiful.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2012 at 9:07 am

    This quilt is absolutely beautiful. And here&#39;s to you for making something for yourself. I am new to sewing and quilting and my list of to-do keeps growing thanks to my 8yr old (with none for me on the list). Love the floating triangles and the binding. It is perfect just the way it is!

  • Reply
    daisy and jack
    February 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Love this quilt and the floating triangles – I also loved the zig zag layout you had them in a well – can you tell me the size of hst&#39;s you used ? thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa C in GA.
    February 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Oh, Amy, the triangles in the border are – hands down – my favorite part. It looks wonderful!

  • Reply
    October 31, 2013 at 2:26 am

    I think you&#39;ve been out voted on how much we all love the triangles in the borders, and the binding. I hope you don&#39;t take it down a notch at all, it&#39;s an inspiration to me the way it is.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    totally gorgeous! awesome colors and love the use of white as well-

  • Reply
    Pie Making Day Fabric Collection - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog
    June 16, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    […] die)  and made quick work of a stack of half-square triangle blocks (same size I used for my Spectrum quilt). I got the whole thing cut out last night while watching So You Think You Can Dance with my […]

  • Reply
    Trending Triangles: Half Square Triangle Roundup | WeAllSew
    June 22, 2015 at 4:20 am

    […] are paired with white and then all lined up in the same direction, you can read more about her Half Square Spectrum Quilt at her blog, Diary of a Quilter. Are you starting to get the idea of how easy it is to change the […]

  • Reply
    A Few Tips on Choosing Fabric - Virtual Quilting Bee part 2 - Diary of a Quilter - a quilt blog
    December 30, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    […] prints to help them pop. (I recently did it here .) Frequently I’ll use one solid color (like here) to show off the fabrics, but you could also use multiple shades of a solid for visual interest as […]

  • Reply
    Trending Triangles: Half Square Triangle Roundup • WeAllSew • BERNINA USA’s blog, WeAllSew, offers fun project ideas, patterns, video tutorials and sewing tips for sewers and crafters of all ages and skill levels.
    January 12, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    […] are paired with white and then all lined up in the same direction, you can read more about her Half Square Spectrum Quilt at her blog, Diary of a Quilter. Are you starting to get the idea of how easy it is to change the […]

  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    I love this quilt. Which white fabric are you using? Do you have yardage specifications to share? Thanks!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Kenden – I used Kona Snow for this quilt. It’s been so long since I made the quilt that I don’t have yardage specifications, but my rough guess is about 3 yards.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.