In early 2023, I made a Happy Stripes quilt. It was beautiful, it kept me warm and cozy at my quilting retreat, but it also created a bit of waste. Luckily for me, the quilt designer included instructions in the pattern to make a bonus HST quilt from the off-cuts of the snowballed corners.
What are snowballed corners?
When I mentioned my HST bonus quilt on Instagram, I received more than a few questions like “what is a snowballed corner?”
Snowballing a corner involves sewing a square to the corner of a block, trimming off the excess fabric, and then pressing the corner square over to create a triangle in the corner.
If you did this to all four corners of a block, you’d end up with a block that would appear to have rounded corners (kind of like a snowball). Although I have absolutely no idea if that’s why this technique is so-named, I’d like to believe it’s true.
But y’know what? It’s a lot easier to explain things with photos. So here are the steps I took with my Happy Stripes quilts, which lead to me making my bonus HST quilt.
I started with some background fabric that I cut into squares. From there, I drew a line from corner to corner on the wrong side of the fabric.
Then I placed the squares on top of my already-constructed quilt blocks and sewed on the diagonal line.
From there, I trimmed the excess fabric 1/4" away from the diagonal line.
Then all I had to do was press the fabric over, and I had myself some snowballed corners!
The only issue with this method is that it leaves you with a pile of cut-off triangles.
As I confessed on Instagram, I almost always throw out these leftover bits of fabric. Why? Because I *know* myself, and I know that I will NOT use them. If I keep them stored away in some bin somewhere, I know that a) I will be annoyed that they’re taking up valuable space, and b) feel guilty whenever I see them (because I’ll feel like I *should* be using them for something). The scrap dilemma is real!
Thankfully, Emily included great instruction on how to turn these leftover bits into a bonus HST quilt. Actually, her pattern included instructions for TWO different bonus HST quilts.
With her step-by-step instructions, I felt confident that I would actually use these adorable off-cuts and turn them into something cute and practical.
Turning off-cuts into HSTs.
After I had trimmed and pressed all of my snowballed corners, I sewed the off-cuts into HSTs and trimmed them down to size (according to the pattern directions).
Then I cut my background fabric (the pattern included instructions on how much extra background fabric to purchase, as well as cutting info), and then started assembling them into Sawtooth Star blocks.
I used no planning whatsoever when creating the blocks. I started by sewing any two random HSTs into pairs, and then started making the rows. Again, I used no strategy when combining the rows. I knew that no matter how I assembled them, they’d make an adorable bonus HST quilt.
Creating a quilt top
Because I made a twin-sized Happy Stripes quilt, I had enough off-cuts to create 12 Sawtooth Star blocks. I followed Emily’s suggestion of putting them together in a 3 x 4 layout, and I once again used the “close your eyes and pick” method for determining where each block should be placed. I doubt there would have been a “wrong” way to put them together.
The bonus HST quilt pattern includes instructions for sashing and borders, but I chose to only use the sashing. I scrounged through my scrap bins to find some small squares of the fabric used in my Happy Stripes quilt and used them as cornerstones in the sashing. I think they add a fun pop of colour in between the blocks!
Choosing backing fabric
The reason I chose to nix the border fabric is because the quilt top worked perfectly with a 1 ¼ yd cut of fabric for the backing. If I had added the borders, the quilt top would have been too wide for my intended backing fabric.
I was really happy to find some random yardage in my stash that was similar in colour to the caramels in the quilt top. It’s an Art Gallery print, but I’ve since cut off and tossed the selvedge, so I have no idea what collection it was from!
Wanting to add a bit of spice, I pieced the backing with some of the leftover quilt blocks from my Happy Stripes project. It’s cute, right?
Quilting my bonus HST quilt
You know that I had to use one of Mum’s designs for this project, right?? I wanted something simple and meandering, so I chose her recently-released Random pattern. I think it adds lots of delicious texture without distracting from the quilt top.
For the binding on my bonus HST quilt, I chose the gorgeous Add it Up in Plum print from the Moonglow line by Alexia Abegg Marcelle for Ruby Star Society. I love love LOVE Add it Up as a basic, and this might be my all-time favourite colourway. When I saw it released as part of the Moonglow line, I knew I needed some yardage.
Thank you so much, Past Shelly, for having the foresight to purchase this fabric and stash it away for future use!
Wanting to play off the hand stitching look of the backing fabric, I decided to bind this sweet baby quilt using the Big Stitch Binding method. I’ve used it lots of times in the past with great success, and I love that it adds a little homemade touch!
I love the way this little quilt turned out, and I’m so happy that I was able to re-use the off-cuts from my Happy Stripes quilt! Does that mean that I’ll be keeping all my cut-off corners from now on? Definitely not!
Do you have any questions about my bonus HST quilt? If so, pop them in the comments below!