Handy Andy Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.

The Handy Andy quilt block tutorial starts here

Skill Level: Confident Beginner

Grid: 5x5, uneven 9-patch

The Handy Andy quilt block uses a total of 16 half square triangles (HST) which makes it the perfect place to practice a wickedly speedy method to make these basic units.

In this lesson we'll use the 8 at a time technique—perfect for when all the triangles are made from the same two fabrics.

If you'd prefer a different approach, check out our Basic Quilt Blocks page for alternative techniques.

There are a bunch of blocks that go by the same name. They are shared after the tutorial.

Let's get started!

General Instructions

Abbreviations used in this tutorial:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together
  • HST - half square triangle
  • QST - quarter square triangle

SAs are 1/4" and pressed to the darker fabric unless otherwise noted.

When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. This helps to meld the thread into the fabric. Then open the patch, pressing from the front to minimize the occurrence of tucks.

Step 1: Cutting for a Handy Andy block

Handy Andy patchwork designHandy Andy design

Patches #1 and #2 are cut oversized. The HST are then trimmed to size after stitching to create perfect units which make piecing them together more accurate.

Choose fabrics with enough contrast so that the points of your HSTs show.

Select a block size from the chart below and cut the patches for your Handy Andy quilt block.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Handy Andy Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size
5” 7-1/2” 10”
1** D 2 4-1/4”x4-1/4” 5-1/4”x5-1/4” 6-1/4”x6-1/4”
2** L 2 4-1/4”x4-1/4” 5-1/4”x5-1/4” 6-1/4”x6-1/4”
3 D 1 1-1/2”x1-1/2” 2”x2” 2-1/2”x2-1/2”
4 L 4 1-1/2”x3-1/2” 2”x5” 2-1/2”x6-1/2”
Unfinished Block Size 5-1/2” 8” 10-1/2”
Grid Size 1” 1-1/2” 2”

**Cut oversized to be trimmed after stitching.

Step 2: Assembling the HST units

Individual HST

Make 16

On the back side of the two light #2 squares, draw an 'X' on the back that connects the diagonal corners. I use a mechanical pencil because the line always stays fine.

With right sides together (RST) layer a marked #2 with a #1 and sew a quarter inch from both sides of each line for a total of four stitching lines.

Sew a quarter inch away from both sides of both lines

Press the unit flat to set all the seams at once.

To create the HSTs we need to trim this sewn unit into 8 pieces. Refer back to the chart below and find the Center or Midpoint  Measurement.

HST Dimensions

Block Size
Center or Midpoint
Trim HST to…
5" 2-1/8" 1-1/2"
7-1/2" 2-5/8" 2"
10" 3-1/8" 2-1/2"

For our 7-1/2" finished sample block that number is 2-5/8".

Find this mid-point line on your ruler and match it to one of the edges of the sewn squares (red arrow). The center edge of the ruler (black arrow) should touch the intersection of the lines you drew (or be very, very close).


Use the 'Midpoint' measurement from the cutting chart to cut the unit in half, and then in half again.

Repeat for the adjacent side. The sewn square is now in four pieces (below, left). Cut each square in half along the drawn line (below, right).

Cut the sewn #1/#12 first into 4 squares and then into 8 triangle squaresAfter the first two cuts, you have 4 squares (left, above), after the second two cuts you have 8 (right, above).

Press each sewn pair of squares and trim to the 'Trim HSTs to...' size from the chart above.

For our 7-1/2" finished block, trim them to 2"x2".

Trim the half square triangles to size referring to the cutting chart for the correct size

Repeat for the second set of #1/#2 squares for a total of 16 HSTs.

Click here if you would like more detailed instructions to make Half Square Triangles 8 at a time.

HST Units

Make 4

Sew 8 pairs of HSTs together.

Sew the HSTs into 8 pairs

Press—4 pairs with the SA towards the dark and 4 pairs toward the light fabric.

Sew the pairs together, nesting the seam allowancesJoin pairs of HSTs to make 8 of these units

Sew one of each of the differently pressed units together. The SAs nest to make matching easier.

Repeat for the three remaining pairs.

To reduce bulk in the center, twirl the seams (below, right).

Give the patches on final press. Since these units can be rather lumpy, I like to use our Best Pressing Technique to tame them.

You can twirl the seam allowances to reduce bulkOur twirled seam allowance from the back (right, above)

Step 3: Assemble the Handy Andy quilt block

Lay out the pieced and cut patches into rows. You can see that even though the design is drawn on a 5x5 grid, the Handy Andy block is assembled as an uneven 9 patch.

Lay out the patches into rows

Stitch the units into rows. Press, with the SAs toward the #4 rectangles.

Sew the patches together into rows, pressing toward the #4 patch

And our Handy Andy quilt block is finished...

The finished Handy Andy quilt blockHandy Andy quilt block

Same name—different block

There are four other blocks I've found that also sometimes go by the name 'Handy Andy'. All have lots of pointy points in common...

Boxes quilt bloc design


This 7 fabric block looks nothing like its original Handy Andy quilt block.

Corn and Beans quilt bloc design

Corn and Beans

Full of half square triangles, but drawn on a 6x6 grid.

AKA: Crazy Ann, Ducks and Ducklings, Hen and Chickens, Hen and Chicks, Shoo Fly

Duck Ducklings quilt bloc design

Duck and Ducklings

AKA:  Corn and Beans, Ducklings, Ducklings for Friendship, Fox and Geese, Hen and Chickens, Shoo-fly, Wild Goose Chase

Click here for instructions for both traditional and paper piecing this block in 5", 7-1/2" and 10" finished sizes

Foot Stool quilt bloc design

Foot Stool

Closely based on this page's block, but includes a quartet of quarter square triangles (QST).

AKA: Mrs. Jones' Favorite

Foot Stool quilt bloc design, variation 1

Foot Stool Variation 1

The QSTs of the previous Foot Stool are rotated a quarter turn to create an Ohio Star in the center.

Handy 'Andy' right at your finger tips!

There's plenty more to keep you busy! Just check out our Free Quilt Block Pattern Library to find blocks for your next quilting project!

Link to Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

For even more blocks to make...

These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas. 

Can you see the library sticker on the spine of Jinny Beyer's book? Yep. I check this copy out of our local library every few months for research.

Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt Block Designs is my all-time favorite quilt block resource!

Can you tell?

It's in color.

It's got a ton of blocks.

What's not to love?

Next on my 'must-have' list is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

Unlike the Maggie Malone book, the blocks in this volume are hand-drawn and in black and white—no color—personally, I prefer colored drawings to work with.

This book is no longer in print.

If you can come by a copy expect it to be wickedly expensive. Once in awhile you can find it here on Amazon.com.

UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020. 

However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.

BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.

It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.

In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.

UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.

This is terrific news.

Finally there's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.

Lots of detail and in color, it is a beautiful volume. That said, I check it out of my local library on a regular basis instead of purchasing it—can you see the library sticker on it's spine. Yep, it's from the Plainfield Public Library.


Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.

And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!

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