Using Off-Cuts to Make a Bonus HST Quilt 

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. 

A small star quilt, quilted with a meandering design lays on the floor.

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.

A stack of quilt blocks lay on a table with text overlay "Mark lines from corner to corner on the wrong side of your squares"

Then I placed the squares on top of my already-constructed quilt blocks and sewed on the diagonal line.

A stack of quilt blocks lay on a table with text overlay "Place squares on the corner of the blocks and sew on the diagonal line"

From there, I trimmed the excess fabric 1/4" away from the diagonal line.

A stack of quilt blocks lay on a table with text overlay  "Trim 1/4" away from diagonal line"

Then all I had to do was press the fabric over, and I had myself some snowballed corners!

A stack of quilt blocks lay on a table with text overlay "Press the fabric over and ta-da! A snowballed corner"

The only issue with this method is that it leaves you with a pile of cut-off triangles. 

A stack of quilt blocks lay on a table with text overlay "This will give you a pile of "off-cuts" that you can either toss or use in another project"

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). 

A stack of quilt blocks lay on a table with text overlay "I chose to turn mine into HSTs by sewing 1/4" away from the edge and pressing open"

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. 

A stack of star quilt blocks sit on a white cutting mat.

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.

A star quilt block hangs from a wooden hanger.

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. 

A star quilt top is folded on itself to reveal several blocks.

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!

A star quilt block with a cream background lays on the floor.

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?

A caramel-coloured quilt back shows a pieced section with colourful stripes.

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. 

A star quilt is folded onto itself to reveal both the front and the back of the quilt.
One multicoloured star quilt block.


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! 

A small quilt with a caramel-coloured backing with flipped corners to reveal small bits of the front.

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!

A star quilt with the corner flipped over to show hand binding detail.

Finished Quilt

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! 

A star quilt is folded to show different areas of the quilt.

Do you have any questions about my bonus HST quilt? If so, pop them in the comments below! 

Want to receive my WILDLY popular newsletter?

Sign up and you'll get:

  • My Three Things Thursday newsletter
  • Links to new blog posts - never miss an update
  • Early access to sales and exclusive discounts!
Black outline of envelope surrounded by black circle
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}