Sewing Half Square Triangles on the Train!

Slow Sunday Stitching with Kathy

I’m so glad to be back to Slow Sunday Stitching!  I’ve missed the friendly community of hand sewers over at Kathy’s Quilts these last couple of weeks, but I did manage to do some some slow stitching while I was away. I kept myself busy hand piecing half square triangles for Kim’s bed quilt and I’ve been looking forward to showing them to you and sharing some tutorials.

Pressed half square triangles for patchwork. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Hand pieced half square triangles

I made a good batch of them on the long train journey to see my parents in Norfolk, while Kim slept the time away. Of course he did. That’s what teenagers are for isn’t it, sleeping!

Hand sewing half square triangle patchwork units on a train journey © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Slow Train Stitching

We made the same journey last year – back then I was sewing appliqué flowers onto the back of my August Rain lap quilt (no doubt while Kim was asleep)…maybe I should start a series of annual train stitching photos!

Stitching some appliqué on a train journey. © Stephanie Boon 2014 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Passing the time on last year’s train journey

I was pleased with this year’s efforts and by the time I got back home to Cornwall had enough half square triangles to finish four more ‘ocean waves’ blocks.

Hand pieced half square triangles make up these Ocean Waves quilt blocks. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Ocean waves blocks made with half square triangles

Bonus Pinwheel Blocks!

There’s a bonus to be had when you make up the half square triangles individually: you have little triangles left that you can sew together to make pinwheel blocks for the border. Result!

Patchwork pinwheel blocks from half square triangles. © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Pinwheel blocks from half square triangle scraps!

I get a ridiculous amount of pleasure from using up every last bit of fabric, waste not want not and all that, and these little pinwheel blocks tick all the right boxes: they use up the waste fabric, they look cute and the border is going to be finished about the same time as the main quilt top – and that is the icing on the cake! What’s your favourite thing about making little blocks by hand?

Links to tutorials

If you want to have a go at making half square triangles for your next journey, or want to use up some old shirts for patchwork like I have here, these easy to follow tutorials will set you on your way:

Let me know how you get on!

Until next time, happy piecing

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

21 replies
  1. Gail
    Gail says:

    I have done some slow stitching on the train as well. I made several counted cross stitch pictures on the train when my husband and I were dating and living in separate cities. It’s a perfect way to pass the time as you travel.

  2. Karen Goad
    Karen Goad says:

    such a lovely hand crank machine! that is so nice and I like that wooden platform it is in. I always keep my eye out for a find like that and never find one! Where I live train travel is not common, but when I lived on the east coast years in Connecticut I would ride one once in a while and enjoyed it – seems it would be a good place to stitch.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Karen I never see machines like it either – I just happened to be really lucky that when a friend was moving home she wanted to sell it (it was her grandmother’s). I don’t travel by train that regularly, but we live in a relatively long narrow county surrounded by sea on three sides and it’s definitely the most relaxing way to get out of the county! It takes a while to travel anywhere so I always have some hand stitching ready when I do 🙂

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      That’s what amazes me about people when they say “oh I haven’t got the patience to do that” – if you do a little bit here and there you hardly notice and soon enough you have a finished project! Have a lovely Labour Day weekend Deb 🙂

  3. Carla
    Carla says:

    I love using what is available from my stash. I find the end results are so much better! What a great use of time and I love that you combine hand piecing with machine piecing!

  4. Ann
    Ann says:

    I always love your Ocean Wave blocks. How fun to see some more coming together. And you’re using your vintage clothing, too. I have a featherweight but not hand cranked. My mother had/has some treadle bases but no machines in them. It would be fun to have a treadle. I’ll have to start looking.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      I’d love a treadle too Ann, although I’ve never used one so it would be a lot of fun trying! I think my dad actually took one to the tip a few years ago – someone had given it to him and it was in a bit of a state so he thought no more of it. My mum was a bit upset!!! I would’ve cried!

  5. deb
    deb says:

    I just had a great opportunity on the plane trips to stitch but I knew I would not enjoy it as I had two littles in tow. Maybe on the trip back… we’ll see. Lots of pretty stitches you are acquiring.

  6. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    Quilting on a train – good name for a blog or a novel…stitching is an ideal way to pass a long train journey and, as always, your Ocean Waves is looking lovely.

    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Kaja 🙂 It seems to be taking an age and then I put the blocks in a pile and they’re coming together quite nicely really. No rush. I love stitching when I’m travelling, especially long journey’s. I can’t always read (especially in cars and buses) because of travel sickness, so it’s good to have found something relaxing to occupy myself.


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