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Thread: Beginner! Snowball quilt's corners problem. HELP!

  1. #1
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    Question Beginner! Snowball quilt's corners problem. HELP!

    Hi Ladies!

    I am trying my first "snowball" pattern quilt. I'm using the first photo/website link below for my design/inspiration. The problem is--when I cut all the corners off the squares, then re-sew mis-matched corners back on to the octagon to re-make the "square"...the corners are too small creating a mess of a square that's all not fit to quilt with.

    Am I supposed to now TRIM the "square" down, making it square again? What am I doing wrong? I'm thinking there's no real way to make this work without trimming it waaaaaaay down after re-sewing on the corners. Hummm.....

    Snowball quilt image
    Snowball Quilt instructions i'm TRYING to follow

    Image of my messed up attempt at this (feel free to laugh hysterically...)

    thanks for the help!!
    My background: This is only the 2nd quilt I've ever made. The first was just a very simple square pattern/BASIC quilt I made for my baby nephew. This snowball one is meant for my mom! I've never sewed before in my whole life before this so take it easy on me! My only experience is going to the local Beverly's on craft nights to learn how to thread my machine and learn very basic quilting skills.

    Here is a photo of the 1st quilt I completed for my nephew!
    Julian's Quilt Image
    Last edited by TaraW; 09-09-2012 at 05:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    A simple fix here ... DO NOT cut any corners til you sew!

    Take the 2-1/2" square and draw a diagonal line across the square.
    Set the square on top of the corner of your larger square that will become the snowball.
    Stitch on the line.
    Then after you cut the excess off, leaving 1/4" for the seam.

    If the small square has set squarely on the large square as you sewed, once you flip the piece over and press it, you should have a square corner.

    Continue on for all four corners!

    Good Luck!! ...
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  3. #3
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    Are you cutting the corners off before you sew? You should sew the 2 1/2" squares on the corners and then trim.

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    Senior Member YukonViv's Avatar
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    Listen to QuiltE! You do not cut your snowball corners off before sewing the new corners on. check out the images on this page, they may help. http://www.straw.com/quilting/articles/snowball1.html
    Vivian
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    OH NO I ALREADY CUT THE CORNERS ALL OFF! ahhhhhhhhhhh!!

  6. #6
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    If you only trim out the middle layer on the corners if your folded corners aren't perfect it won't be a big deal.

  7. #7
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    Here is a video from the Missouri Quilt Co on how to make the Snowball block

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfdD4...=youtube_gdata

  8. #8
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Check out this pictorial tute on making snowball blocks. I think it will help http://www.cluckclucksew.com/2009/08...all-block.html
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    Oh my gosh I feel like such a fool!! Thanks so much for the youtube video it all makes so much sense now......what am i going to do now!!! =( =( =(

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    I looked at your pattern and the instructions are to cut the 2 1/2 inch squares from the indicated fabrics, sew them to the corners and then do the trimming. You should not trim the corners of the large square before attaching the smaller ones to the corners. Hope this helps!

  11. #11
    Senior Member kristakz's Avatar
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    First, take a deep breath. This should be recoverable, one way or another.

    It sounds like you trimmed the corners off blocks, thinking you would then sew them onto different blocks. What measurements did you use, when cutting the corners off? Did you cut a full 2.5" in from the corner, or some other measurement? (I'm trying to figure out if the 2.5" squares are still useful to you).
    If you cut at 2.5", then I think the only way to rescue this is going to be to trim your blocks. Sew the corners on as you have been doing, then carefully trim it square again. You should end up with a 7" block I think. The pattern will still work, but your quilt will be smaller (you can fix that by adding 1 row/column, if you have enough fabric to make more blocks). You will need to be very careful that you center the blocks when you trim, so that the corner triangles will all line up in the end.

    Or, re-cut the 2.5" squares to a larger size, to match your trimmed block (this assumes you have more fabric). You would need to cut your squares 3 1/4", then cut them diagonally in half. The resulting triangle should fit the corner of your blocks correctly.

    Another option that occurred to me, but I don't know how well it would work without having the blocks in front of me. Turn the blocks 45 degrees, and sew the corners to the straight (untrimmed) edges of the blocks. That edge might fit the 2.5" square better, and you wouldn't have to trim. But as I said, I can't tell for sure if that will work, and you will end up with bias edges to deal with. This may not be a great option for a new quilter.

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    Krista,

    Thank you so much for offering some creative corrections for damage control. I started with 9.5" blocks, and cut 3" off to make a 3" x 3" x 4" triangle.

    THIS IS A PICTURE OF WHAT REMAINS (oops!)

    Let's do some damage control!!!!!!!! Ideas!!?? Maybe just try what Krista says??
    Last edited by TaraW; 09-09-2012 at 06:42 PM.

  13. #13
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    One of the problems with the cut triangles is that they are now too small for the size of your larger squares. You can do one of 2 things. First off, I see that you cut the corners off your larger squares. So, I think the best and most cost effective way to fix this is this: Do you have more of the fabric that you are using for the corner squares? If you do, recut the squares. You can lay them RST on the bigger squares and then use the cut line as a guide and sew a scant 1/4" to attach the corner squares. Iron them open and trim them up to square your block.

    The second way would involve cutting your larger squares down to fit the corner squares (which are now triangles). This is going to result in a much smaller snowball block.

    Beautiful fabric!



    Edited to add: Oops! Looks like a previous poster gave you the same information as I did!
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    Krista,

    How do I make sure I'm super careful to center the blocks when I trim if I continue to do this the (incorrect) way that I started? Is there a tool I can buy to help me with this?

  15. #15
    Junior Member iwillquilt's Avatar
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    Is there a local quilt shop near you? Or maybe a local church has a quilting group? It looks like you can save the blocks if you can get someone to show you how to lay a new corner block (of the right proportion)in place and sew, then trim only the corner block you have sewn to what is left of the larger part of the block. Your finished blocks may not be the finished size you were expecting and you may have to add another row to get the size quilt you want. Or add another border. I am pretty much a new quilter myself and I make plenty of mistakes. Sometimes I can't believe what I have done. But to make it work you just have to think about it and change it up a little. It may not look like the original plan but might be really cool. Good luck! And don't be afraid to ask around for a local quilter to help you. Someone from the board might even be close by. We come from everywhere to join in here.

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    "How do I make sure I'm super careful to center the blocks when I trim if I continue to do this the (incorrect) way that I started? Is there a tool I can buy to help me with this?"

    If you cut new squares for your corners, I would cut them bigger than you need, sew, press and trim to size...AFTER you've sewn them on. That way, if they're not completely squared up with your edges, you can trim to square after they're sewn and pressed. I use one of the slotted cutting guides from June Taylor, the Shape Cut with half inch increments. I like it for cutting just about anything and squaring it up.

    I read somewhere...it was an old pattern or article...to always make ONE BLOCK first before cutting all of your blocks...so you know how it will turn out...just in case you've read something wrong, or instructions are wrong. I hadn't thought of that, and I was always happily cutting all of my pieces...til I found a pattern that was off by a half inch for ONE of the pieces...
    Last edited by quiltingweb; 09-09-2012 at 07:25 PM. Reason: additional information

  17. #17
    Senior Member AudreyB's Avatar
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    What to do now? Since you cut them, you are working with a bias. The bias will stretch. I would spray starch them several times until they are kinda stiff, then sew them. That will help hold the bias when you sew them. It isn't a perfect solution, but it will help.
    AudreyB
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  18. #18
    Super Member Krisb's Avatar
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    The question is: how big a piece do I need to cut to have a 1/4" seam allowance and fill in the space in the corner from cutting off those 3" x 3" x 4.25" triangles? Trust me, if those spaces are not 3" x 3" x 4.25" geometry professors will beat down your door because you just disproved Pythagoras' famous theorem.

    Here is what you can do to do the least work. If you have any fabric left that matches your snowball bodies, cut it into 4" squares (the actual theoretical size is 3 7/8"' but I don't cut that accurately). Starch it before cutting. Cut each square along the diagonal, giving you two equal sized triangles.

    Carefully, because you have bias edges, match the long edge of this triangle with the long side of the space in the corners. Part of the triangle will be longer; that is the way it should be. They look little ears. The raw edges should meet 1/4" in from the cut edge, where your seam line will be. Sew the two pieces together using a 1/4 seam. Press the triangle piece into the corner. Press, don't iron. Trim off the little ears. You may need to trim off a little bit on the outside edges of the triangle, but it will only be about 1/16".

    If you need to buy more fabric, you can cut about 10 squares or 20 triangles from each 4" of 40" wide fabric.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member kristakz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaraW View Post
    Krista,

    How do I make sure I'm super careful to center the blocks when I trim if I continue to do this the (incorrect) way that I started? Is there a tool I can buy to help me with this?
    I don't know about a tool that would do this. I think you just need to figure out the measurement and use a square to trim them all. The important thing is going to be to make sure you have exactly the same size corners on all the blocks after you trim. So taken one block, lay a square ruler on top of it and see what size block you think you can cut. Without having it in front of my, it's hard to say, but if you are adding 3x3x4 triangles to the blocks I think you'll get around 2 1/4" corners in the end, with about 3.5" along the edge of your snowball block. But don't take those measurements as true - you need to try it with a block. Just make sure when you trim that you have the same size triangle on each edge. Once you find the right measurements, you might want to mark your ruler with tape, so you can align all the blocks the same way.

    If you have enough fabric to recut the corner squares, the measurement you need is 4 1/4" to fit the 3x3x4" triangles you cut off the snowballs. A hint - try this on one block, before you cut a lot of squares. This is a good idea for any quilt you are making - sometimes the pattern is wrong and it's better to find out before you cut too much.

  20. #20
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    If you've already trimmed all of them, you can save them by cutting new squares for the corners. I'm thinking 2 3/4, but I'd do a sample with paper before I cut any more fabric. Your 2 1/2 squares can be saved for for another project - that's a common size. 2 1/2 was small for a 8 1/2 block anyhow. Okay, I just did a 2 3/4" one and you should be okay. You cut on the 2 1/2 line and you need the extra 1/4 for the seam. Do not trim off the underside until the block has all four corners done, and is pressed and squared. I find I have to sew a hair inside the line in order to have the corner be exact. You've got to allow for the seam and the little lost in pressing it back on itself.

    Draw the diagonal on the square, carefully line it the square up with where the missing corner would be, put in 2 pins and sew it from the square side so you can see the line. Do not try to use that bias edge to line up your 1/4" seam.
    It will be fine and your snowballs will be a little rounder, but I like that. The ones I'm working on are 2 1/2" on a 4 1/2" block. I used 3 1/3 on 7 1/2 inch blocks, so 2 1/2 is not written in stone.

    Relax, take a deep breath, have a chocolate and cut new corners. Come back if you need anything else. You can't believe the questions I asked a year and half ago.
    Last edited by irishrose; 09-09-2012 at 08:07 PM.

  21. #21
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaraW View Post
    Krista,

    Thank you so much for offering some creative corrections for damage control. I started with 9.5" blocks, and cut 3" off to make a 3" x 3" x 4" triangle.
    If you trimmed off 3", then you need the new squares to be 3 1/4". They'll be a lot more stable if you leave them as squares and follow the directions in my first post. You added this while I was typing. Still try it with paper first. Starching that bias seam is a good idea - press by lifting your iron - don't push it at all.

  22. #22
    Super Member owlvamp's Avatar
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    Cool I want to try the snowball quilt too. Thanks for sharing!
    Sandra
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  23. #23
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    For the smaller squares ... do not cut them into triangles til after you have sewn them on.
    Plus oversize them, so when they flip out and are pressed, you will have excess to trim off and can be sure the snowballed block is nice and square.

    The challenge you will have ... the corners cut off the large block, were they cut to precision or not? If not, when you assemble all the snowball blocks the points will not line up.

    You have some lovely fabrics ... I hope you can get it all to come together!
    Good Luck!
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  24. #24
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    If you only trim out the middle layer on the corners if your folded corners aren't perfect it won't be a big deal.
    I've found this way is best for me. Sometimes the smaller square I sew on is a little off but by not cutting the big squares corner off my blocks sew together without any problems.
    Last edited by May in Jersey; 09-10-2012 at 05:17 AM.

  25. #25
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I would start over and use the ones you have now for a different quilt when you get a little more experience.
    Welcome from Missouri. These nice knowledgeable people will help you.
    Another Phyllis
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