This week, I decided to make some big pillows for my living room. I decided that this would be a good opportunity to play around with an uber-limited palette of black and white solid fabric.
I started with this 24" zigzag pillow, the front of which is made from half-square triangles.
I cut 18 squares 5" x 5" from Kona Snow and Kona Black.
I usually cut my half squares triangles before I sew them like this. A lot of people like to use a different method that starts with marking a line down the center of the cut squares, as shown above. I usually avoid the latter method because I find that, for me, marking the lines on the squares takes more time than it's worth. However, in this case, the combination of the black fabric and my most-excellent Chaco Liner made the draw-first method quick and easy.
To piece 4" (finished) half-square triangles using this method, start by stacking 2 squares (one from each fabric) 5" x 5" on top of one another, placing right sides together.* Using a marking tool, draw a diagonal line connecting two opposite corners of the top square. Stitch down both sides of the marked line, maintaining a distance of 1/4" between your seam and the marked line.
*When using solid quilting cottons like this, I don't pay much attention to which is the right or wrong side. Conventional wisdom states that you should pick a side and go with it but, if I can't actually tell the difference, I don't waste my time.
In order to get 4" finished units, I started with 5" squares and trimmed the finished block units to 4 1/2". You can apply the same formula to any other size half-square triangles, as follows
Finished Size: x
Fabric Squares: x + 1"
Block Units: x + 1/2"
If you want to avoid trimming down the finished units, you can start with squares that are 7/8" larger, rather than 1" larger. I just find it easier to cut whole-number squares and find that trimming down the finished units promotes accuracy.
For this 24" pillow, I made 36 half-square triangle units, each measuring 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" (so, they'll each be 4" x 4" when finished).
I made a sandwich with batting and scrap muslin and free-motion quilted the pillow front using a random zigzag pattern. As I almost always do, I chose thread to match the lightest color in my quilt which, in this case, was white (Gutermann cotton).
For the 24" Square-in-Square pillow, I didn't do as much planning.
I started with a bunch of 2" strips cut from each of the two fabrics. From one of the black strips, I cut a 2" x 2" square. Then I just pieced rings in alternating fabrics around it until the finished block was big enough to be the pillow front.
Here's the almost-finished block. (I added one more slightly-wider white ring before I finished the pillow.)
I free-motion quilted this one in a blocky style.