No-Hassle Triangles Quilt Sampler

How to make 1/2-square triangles the easy way by Nancy Zieman

No-Hassle Triangles Quilt Sampler

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How to make 1/2-square triangles the easy way by Nancy Zieman

Looking for quilt block inspirations? Half-square (1/2-square) and quarter-square (1/4-square) triangles are the foundation for many quilt designs. Today, I’ll show you how to make super-easy 1/2-square and 1/4-square triangle blocks the no-hassle way in my Sewing With Nancy series, which features my popular No-Hassle Triangles Gauge.

January 2017 Block of the Month by Nancy Zieman/Sewing WIth Nancy

During the first episode on Sewing With Nancy, learn to create six different blocks, all made with 1/2-square triangles. During the second episode—next week’s feature—learn about 1/4-square triangles. Here’s a sneak peek into this week’s Sewing With Nancy episode!

The Box Quilt (1898)

One of the more streamlined quilt blocks to create from 1/2-square triangles is the Box Quilt. First illustrated in print in 1898, it’s created with eight 1/2-square triangle blocks and a square. The design has great movement, reminding me of a pinwheel.

How to Make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

Shadow Play

Instead of making all the 1/2-square triangles from the same fabrics, stitch together three different color combos. I call this block, Shadow Play, where the fabric choices create the impact.

How to Make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

Godey Design

Godey’s Lady’s Book was a monthly magazine published in Philadelphia between 1830 and 1876. Before the Civil War, it was the most widely circulated magazine in the United States. Sarah Josepha Hall was the editor of the magazine from 1837 to 1877; she also wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” One of the designs featured in the magazine in 1858 was simply called, Godey Design.

How to Make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

Square in a Square

When researching quilt block names, I found literally dozens of quilt blocks named Square in a Square. With seemingly limitless geometric options with squares, no wonder it’s a common name. Regardless, it’s an attractive block designed with all 1/2-square triangles.

How to make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

May Basket

May Basket is another frequently used name for a quilt block. I also found this block named, Cactus Flower. Your fabric choice will dictate the name. This version combines two sizes of finished triangles: 3-1/2″ and 6-1/2″, giving the block a center focal point.

How to make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

Nancy’s Spool

This block may or may not be an original arrangement of 1/2-square triangles. My guess is that it has been created before, but since I couldn’t find it in print, I boldly named it Nancy’s Spool.

How to make 1/2-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

How to Make 1/2-Square Triangles

During the TV episode, I share how to easily make the above blocks as well as basic  2-1/2″, 3-1/2″, 4-1/2″, 5-1/2″ and 6-1/2″ half-square triangles. (Next week, learn 1/4-square triangle tips!)  There’s no hassle and no need to cut a single triangle! The measurements are printed on the No-Hassle Triangles Gauge that I designed for Clover.

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover Needlecraft

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover Left Side IMG_4158

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4203

  • Lay the gauge onto squares to double-check the block size. If the block set is larger or smaller than the confines of the gauge, recut the blocks.

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4137

  • Mark a center diagonal line through gauge die cut openings.


  • Stitch a scant 1/4″ from each side of the center marking.

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4144

  • Cut along the center diagonal line.

Nancy Zieman No-Hassle Triangle Gauge from Clover IMG_4988

  • Presto, there are now two accurate 1/2-square triangles!

Quarter-Square Triangles

In the second part of the No-Hassle Triangles Series on Sewing With Nancy, we’ll to take the hassle out of creating 1/4-square triangles.

how to sew 1/4-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

1/4-Square Dance 

Some quilt block names have a long history; others are simply made up on the fly! I’ll let you decide the authenticity of this block named the 1/4-Square Dance! Regardless of what it’s called, it’s the perfect block to begin our no-hassle quilt block journey.

how to sew 1/4-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

Boy’s Nonsense (1898)

This quilt block named, Boy’s Nonsense, was officially recorded and appears in print in 1898. The block appears to include rectangular strips. Not so, the design is a combination of 1/2- and 1/4-square triangles plus a plain center square.

how to sew 1/4-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

Silent Star

It might be difficult to comprehend, but the next block, Silent Star, is almost identical to the last block, Boy’s Nonsense. The main difference in construction is the center block—all the other blocks are the same. This is the case where fabric choices totally change the design!

how to sew 1/4-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

Ohio Star

Simple in design, yet elegant, the Ohio Star quilt block has been in use since the early 1800s, with a spike in popularity in the 1930s. See how this 9-patch block can be made the no-hassle way in the 21st century.

how to sew 1/4-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

Star of Hope (1980)

Now for your master’s degree in 1/4-square triangles! The Star of Hope combines a 1/2- and 1/4-square triangle; I call it a modified 1/4-square. Notice the three-color block of aqua, ivory and teal. Success comes by thinking this through and following the directions!

how to sew 1/4-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

Card Trick (1979)

The Card Trick Quilt Block, like most magic, seems impossible to reproduce. What appears as a sleight of hand, is a very logical block to create once you see the elements. The Card Trick—I know you will not be fooled by the design!

how to sew 1/4-square triangles by Nancy Zieman

How to Make 1/4-Square Triangles

There are several ways to make triangles; my preference is to use the No-Hassle Triangles Gauge. Reference the left side of the gauge for 1/2-square triangles and the right side for 1/4-square triangles.

  • Depress and slide the guide to the size triangle you’d like to make. The guide will lock in place.
  • Cut strips the size printed on the gauge. Then cut strips into squares. In this example, cut  6-1/4″ strips, then cut strips into 6-1/4″ squares.

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4162

  • Stack two blocks.
  • Mark the center diagonal line through the die-cut openings on the gauge.

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4164

  • Stitch a scant 1/4″ from each side of center.

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4168

  • Cut along the center; press.

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4174

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4175

  • Stack two 1/2-square triangles, meeting opposite colors.

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4183

  • Slide the gauge to the 1/2-square triangle marking on the left side. Double check that the block fits within the gauge perimeters.
  • Mark the center diagonal line through die cut openings.

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4187

  • Cut along the center marking; press.

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4215

  • This time, you’ll have two accurate 1/4-square triangles! Using the No-Hassle Triangles Gauge guarantees that the sizes of the 1/2-square and 1/4-square triangles are compatible in a quilt design!

Nancy Zieman No Hassle Triangles Gauge by Clover IMG_4217

Watch No-Hassle Triangles (Part One and Part Two) on Sewing With Nancy online.

NoHassle1 2Triangles SewingWithNancy

No-Hassle Triangle Quilt Blocks on Sewing With Nancy | PBS | Nancy Zieman

 For a chance to win a copy of No-Hassle Triangles Quilt Blocks DVD  from Nancy’s Notions, please leave a comment sharing which block (pictured above) is your favorite.

No Hassle DVD NancyZieman

Nancy Zieman's Giveaway WinnerThe randomly selected winner of a 6-in-1 Stick N Stitch Seam Guide from Clover is Peggy S.

Her comment was, “I’m teaching my friends’ two young girls (7 and 10) to sew, and I had them use these seam guides, which worked very well for them. I have been sewing a long time, but still learn so much from Nancy. Thank you Nancy, for sharing with us.”

6-in-1 Stick 'N Stitch Seam Guide Nancy Zieman


The randomly selected winner of a copy of The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew DVD from Nancy’s Notionis Karen.

Her comment was, “Just when I thought I knew everything, here you are with more tips! You are awesome. What a wonderful resource this is.”

The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew DVD by Nancy Zieman

Bye for now,
Nancy Zieman The Blog

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  • diane c
    April 1, 2017

    Silent Star is my favorite, but I think I would like to make a sampler quilt.

  • Debbie K
    April 1, 2017

    It’s hard to choose a favorite – they are all so lovely.
    I like Card Trick for it’s complex look.It is reminiscent of many happy family times with 3 generations playing cards.
    Also like Nancy’s Spool – think I’ll need to make this for my sewing room. Thank you for the excellent instructions.

  • Sheila
    April 1, 2017

    My favorite block is the Card Trick.

  • Rhonda
    April 1, 2017

    Love the card trick block. I’ve made it several times but it still amazes me when it all comes together. Your no hassle triangle guide looks like it would really help when making accurate triangle squares.

  • Mary Harris
    April 1, 2017

    I have always loved the “card trick” and wondered how that was done!

  • shirley grade
    April 1, 2017

    I love the card trick

  • BevM
    April 1, 2017

    I really like these sampler blocks! I have been wanting to make a spools block, so I pick the Nancy’s Spool, followed closely by Card Trick. I think the No-Hassel Triangles Gauge might be my next notions purchase. Thanks for simplifying these blocks, Nancy.

  • Julie Craven
    April 1, 2017

    Oh?????????????? I have two. The box quilt is nice. I am going to try it today. My second (first) is the card trick. I have always wanted to do a baby quilt with this pattern.
    Thanks Nancy

  • Candice
    April 1, 2017

    I think I’ll start with Card Trick, then Nancy’s Spool, followed by Godey Design, followed by ………

    Thanks for all of your wonderful tips and inspirations!

  • Joyce
    April 1, 2017

    If I have to choose, I’d say the card trick. But, I really like them all!

  • Dana Hatmaker
    April 1, 2017

    I would love to try them all, but definitely the card trick is my favorite.

  • Jackie Swanson
    April 1, 2017

    I love using half square triangles and this method will make it much easier for all of them to be the same size.

  • Clovis
    April 1, 2017

    Wow. All of the blocks are great. I like Square in a Square, Silent Star and Card Trick. Thanks for all you do.

  • Brenda Ackerman
    April 1, 2017

    My favorite block is the Shadow play! A variety of fabrics and layouts started “dancing” around in my head as soon as I saw this block. Thank you for sharing this great Sampler Quilt!

  • Eileen Girens, WI
    April 1, 2017

    My favorite block is the Ohio Star. Plan to sew one in near future.

  • Diane
    April 1, 2017

    I think you are a Terrific Teacher ! I like the Ohio Star and Godey
    Design ! But All of them are unique designs, and all of them have

  • Linda
    April 1, 2017

    I am a dyed-in-the-wool romantic traditionalist–wearing retro and vintage whenever possible and practical. I guess that must be why I LOVE the Godey Design, with Ohio Star coming in second. I have the tool shown already. How great it would be to have the book and DVD to go with it! Thanks for your great visual instructions on this tutorial, by the way. You may things easier than they first “seam.”

  • Nancy
    April 1, 2017

    My favorite block is the Ohio Star. My grandmother made me a quilt using this pattern, 49 years ago, and I still have it.

  • Shirley C
    April 1, 2017

    Like all of the blocks, like card trick a lot Would like to make all of the sampler blocks.

  • Shirley C
    April 1, 2017

    Boys Nonsense is my favorite.

    April 1, 2017

    My favorite block is Stat of Hope.

    April 1, 2017

    My favorite block is Star of Hope.

  • Susan Spiers
    April 1, 2017

    Nancy’s Spool block- I love anything sewing! Thank you, Susan

  • Marilyn gean
    April 1, 2017

    The card trick is my favorite, will attempt someday, when I am more experienced at sewing thanks for a chance. Watch all your shows to learn. M g

  • Carol in Arkansas
    April 1, 2017

    I love the Star of Hope and Card trick squares. Would love a chance to win this. I’m just learning to sew and quilt. Thank you.

  • Pandora
    April 1, 2017

    I love the card trick block and still haven’t made one. I will yet!

  • Dee
    April 1, 2017

    I like the Godey Design block. Love the bit of history for each block, and this block goes back to the 1850’s.

  • Cathy Ferguson
    April 1, 2017

    I have always loved the card trick. After reading this, I think the next gizzmo on my list is the No hassles triangle guide.

  • Knella
    April 1, 2017

    My favorite is Godey Design.

  • Linda
    April 1, 2017

    Card trick! I WILL make this (sooner or later – but sooner, I hope!).

  • Bonnye
    April 1, 2017

    I like the star block. Star blocks are my favorite block.

  • Trish in Iowa
    April 1, 2017

    The two best are Godey’s Design and Card Trick because they look really complicated but, with good directions and a helpful tool, they are easy.

  • Dottie Bishaw
    April 1, 2017

    I love Nancys Spool block!

  • Donna Belisle
    April 1, 2017

    I like all of the blocks, but had never seen Nancy’s Spool block before and that really caught my eye, so, for today, that is my favorite block.

  • Carol Rechtoris
    April 1, 2017

    I just ordered the book on sale. I especially like the “Card Trick”. I was thinking of presenting this block as a talent at our church annual talent show. A spokesperson promoting the talent show once said “Maybe you know a card trick…” . Now I do. Ha! Ha!

  • beth d.
    April 1, 2017

    I would love to try out your methods of making triangles and half square triangles. I would love this cd.

  • Janet
    April 1, 2017

    I love the “Silent Star” block! It looks “happy” and complete and the color combination is gorgeous.

  • Gina M
    April 1, 2017

    Card Trick would be my favorite, although I have never met a half-square triangle pattern that I did not like! I also save up all my triangle scraps in a plastic shoe box (sorted in plastic sandwich bags by color) for future scrappy projects.

  • Jennifer Williams
    April 1, 2017

    I get so excited when I check my email and see your name pop up!! I’m new to sewing and I’ve been searching through all of your stuff online and have seen a cpl episodes on tv. You told me about a month ago to go to a second hand shop to try and find a sewing machine for the price that I could spend. I since then found the perfect machine and I’m trying my luck at my first quilt! Yayyy lol just want to say thanks for all youri knowledge and inspiration. I love the card trick. I’m buying that gauge you have its awesome

  • Lillian Klaeger
    April 1, 2017

    I like ALL of the blocks– but if I must choose I will pick Card Trick.
    I will try the sampler.

  • Barbara
    April 1, 2017

    I couldn’t pick just one, so I have two favorites: Godeye and Star of Hope.

  • Marsha Dimond
    April 1, 2017

    I love the star blocks — Gody design & Ohio star.

  • Janice King
    April 1, 2017

    I love them all, but the Card Trick block has always mesmerized me! No matter how many times I try to figure it out, I always end up confused…lol.

  • Cynthia Schlais
    April 1, 2017

    I am having a hard time deciding my favorite block. I love them all. I think I would have to pick Star of Hope as my absolute favorite block.
    I hope to purchase the No-Hassle Triangles Gauge at the Warehouse sale during the Sewing Weekend in May!

    April 1, 2017

    i LOVE making the star of hope!!! i just made a “round” of these blocks for a round robin!
    the card trick looks like hearts!!! from an open heart surgery nurse!!
    of course the spool is always a favorite!

  • Bev M
    April 1, 2017

    I like the Square in a Square and the Ohio Star

  • Michele Shaffer
    April 2, 2017

    Godey design is my fav.

  • Deborah Herold
    April 2, 2017

    Lovely quilt. Card trick has to be my all time favorite. Great instructions. Thanks.

  • Gail Beam
    April 2, 2017

    I really like the Nancy spool block, the square dance and silent star blocks. You always make things look so easy with your step by step instructions. Thanks for the chance to win another one of your great books!

  • Jennifer Reinke
    April 2, 2017

    I love the Star of Hope and of course Nancy’s spool–Thank you again for teaching us with your great visual tools. So many ideas .. . . I could make a beautiful sampler quilt.

  • Anita P.
    April 2, 2017

    I like both the Box Quilt and Nancy’s Spool. It would be fun to play around with and see what kind of secondary designs could be made by using one block.

  • Mary chevalier
    April 2, 2017

    The Card Trick is my favorite ,Always wanted to make a quilt with this block. Maybe someday.

  • Susan DeVore
    April 2, 2017

    I want to learn how to do the card trick block It has been haunting me ever since I first saw it in a quilt.

  • mary ann johnson
    April 2, 2017

    I like the card trick and silent star but do like all the rest. Would love to win this cd

  • sylvia from New Zealand
    April 2, 2017

    I simply love the Godley Star! Oh the possabilities with colours for this one. Close 2nd actually is your Nancy Spool . Again i could really go to town playing with my favourite fabrics. Bring on the new tool. Love love it! Thank you Nancy. ALWAYS the inspiration Sylvia

  • Deanna Duvall
    April 2, 2017

    Design+fabric+thread+ Nancy’s Spools. How can you go wrong?

  • Ellen
    April 2, 2017

    I’m impressed by the Godey Design. What a great way to piece the star without risk of stretching bias seams. Thank you!

  • Beverly
    April 2, 2017

    Love this gauge! I look for challenging quilt patterns to practice making “perfect” points and can see how this tool and the book would be a great asset toward this goal. Genius!

    April 2, 2017

    The card trick is my favorite. I am fascinated by all the different designs one can come up with using such simple shapes!

  • Mary
    April 2, 2017

    I watch your show on TV and I have yet to see one of your blocks that I didn’t like. Your instructions are excellent and easy to follow.

  • Julie Kill
    April 3, 2017

    My favorites are the “Star of Hope” and the “Silent Star”!
    I love designs that appear different because of color choice!

  • Donna Fecteau
    April 3, 2017

    I love your show, you give us all such confidence in our ability to do what you do. Thank you!

  • Deb R.
    April 3, 2017

    I like Boy’s Nonsense, with the Star of Hope 2nd. They all look Fresh for spring!

  • Heather W.
    April 3, 2017

    My favorite is the silent star. I just purchased the no hassle Triangles gauge today so it would be great to have the DVD to go along with it.

  • Jill A
    April 7, 2017

    My favorite is the cactus block. It can look so different depending on fabric choices. Planning to start this sampler in the near future, after finishing a few UFOs of course!

  • Carol Neil
    April 8, 2017

    My favourite block is card trick .I love them all as they are very good the way they all come together

  • Marie
    April 14, 2017

    Extremely hard decision. They are all great. If I was to choose it would probably be “the silent star” excellent . I will make a sample of them your site

  • b foster
    June 23, 2020

    watched tv station of no nonsense triangles plus bookforsale @ 9.95 6/22/20 would like to buy the book cna you help me find it?

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