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Thread: How can I keep my Squares Even when cutting

  1. #1
    Senior Member beginnerquilter's Avatar
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    Hi from Freezing Rain Northern Indiana

    Okay I need help...I cut out squares which are 3" inch size squares...my problem is...is that some of them are not even with the other squares...they are just a hair off a bit...how can I get my squares even with the rest of the squares or what should I do or not do...

    Any suggestions/tips would be appreciated it...thanks...

    I know I need more practice in cutting and my stupid 3" inch square ruler moves every time and I hate that.

    :cry:

  2. #2
    Senior Member beginnerquilter's Avatar
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    I have three of them sewed together..using the running stitch and sewed by hand...

    I forgot to mention that....

  3. #3
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Sounds like you could use something on the underside of the ruler to keep it from slipping. There are a few different things you can do/get. I have clear non-slip dots on mine. They sell a roll of stuff, i forget the name, that you can put underneath. I think it's like a cling or contact paper. I'm sure someone here can come up with the name. I've also heard you can put a few dots of clear nail polish, but haven't tried that one myself. Small pieces of adhesive backed sandpaper can help. I didn't like that though, mine peeled off.

  4. #4
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    Could be a couple of things. First of all, make sure you are always using the same line, ie: are you a hair over the line or a hair under the line....... 2nd, you might be cutting too many layers at once or not pushing down firmly enough on the ruler when you slice thru. (Be careful, 5 stitches tell my story!) 3rd, use a ruler than extends over the top and bottom of the fabric you're cutting.

    Anyone else have any suggestions, these are the things I would look at.

  5. #5
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beginnerquilter
    Hi from Freezing Rain Northern Indiana

    I know I need more practice in cutting and my stupid 3" inch square ruler moves every time and I hate that.

    :cry:
    Your problem is using a 3 inch square ruler. Cut a strip 3 inches wide with a long ruler and then turn the strip 90 degrees and cut 3 inch squares from that.

  6. #6
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    besides using the regular ruler, not the the 3" one,
    don't move the fabric,
    carefully pick up the ruler,
    after the first cut,
    then turn the cutting mat around,
    and cut the rest of the block.

    the square rulers,in my use, are used for "squaring" up the block..not for actually cutting the block/fabric.. of course, this is only my opinion..and how i do it.

  7. #7
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I agree that square rulers are for squaring up. It is tempting to use them to cut but if never worked for me.

  8. #8
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    The clingy stuff is called Amazing Tape. Love it. Use it to wrap around gift wrap, thread spools and under rulers and templates.

  9. #9
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I agree with the others for cutting 3" strips and then cutting the squares from that. When you cut, are you positioned above the ruler? I noticed that when I sit too low, I don't get enough pressure on the ruler and it tends to slip. It may also help to cut single layers of fabric rather than multiples.

    When you say the squares are off by "a hair" is it enough to distort the row, or can the next row pick up the slack? You have a little wiggle room.

  10. #10
    Senior Member beginnerquilter's Avatar
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    I have only been cutting in single layers...

    the problem with me is that my wrists are weak so I don't have very much strength in my wrist to hold down the ruler and it doesn't matter what size of ruler I use - it is still hard on my wrist to hold a ruler firm enough so it doesn't move. I forgot to mention this in my first post...sorry about that.

    I have fractured, smashed my hand, dislocated my right wrist just two years ago due to a fall and it's been broken prior to that lots of times. I am left handed so I always hold the ruler with my right hand and cut with my left. My left wrist is just a tad bit stronger than my right but not very much. I've broken my left wrist several times...I just got my cast off this past year in February off of my left wrist. Thank goodness it was a clean break. My bones break easy too so that is why I can't put too much pressure on my wrists or my fingers. I put as much pressure on my wrist/fingers when I am holding the ruler as much as I can without over doing that.

    It is easier for me to hold a 3 inch ruler than a real long one and having to move it twice and keep pressure on it at all times.

    I know that if I had stronger wrists than my cutting would be a breeze.

    I will try that tape that somebody mentioned on here and see if that will help.

    Most of my squares pretty well match up but there are a few that does not match up exactly and they are just a very tiny bit off and I mean tiny.

    The cutting is hard for me due to weak wrists and plus I don't have a good long table to work on either...so that is another problem too....I am living in a apartment and right now I don't have a good long table to work on but hopefully soon I will be getting one.

    My friend told me that I can go over to her house and use her table to cut on so when I do make my good Table Topper than I will do that and I'll have her help me cut my material for me or somebody from the Quilt Group that I go to.

    Thanks for all of your help...I love this board because I can come here and ask a question and you all take time out to reply back...that means so much to me.



    :)

  11. #11
    Senior Member beginnerquilter's Avatar
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    Sharon321

    Where can I buy the Amazing Tape at? That sounds so wonderful to use.

    Let me know...Thanks.... :)

  12. #12
    Super Member Darlene's Avatar
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    Use scissors instead of your rotary it works for me.

  13. #13
    Senior Member pam1966's Avatar
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    I use the rulers with a "lip" on them, that catches the bottom of the cutting mat. That helps me with my slippage.

  14. #14
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen
    Quote Originally Posted by beginnerquilter
    Hi from Freezing Rain Northern Indiana

    I know I need more practice in cutting and my stupid 3" inch square ruler moves every time and I hate that.

    :cry:
    Your problem is using a 3 inch square ruler. Cut a strip 3 inches wide with a long ruler and then turn the strip 90 degrees and cut 3 inch squares from that.
    yes, you need a bigger ruler.

  15. #15
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    There are so many methods of cutting out there. Sounds like you need to invest in one of those shape cutting machines. Expensive but you need it.
    Short cut methods are many and I like Quilt in a Day and Billie Lauders methods.
    Here is a free website for videos.
    http://quilterstv.com

  16. #16
    Super Member deranged_damsel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dakotamaid
    Could be a couple of things. First of all, make sure you are always using the same line, ie: are you a hair over the line or a hair under the line....... 2nd, you might be cutting too many layers at once or not pushing down firmly enough on the ruler when you slice thru. (Be careful, 5 stitches tell my story!) 3rd, use a ruler than extends over the top and bottom of the fabric you're cutting.

    Anyone else have any suggestions, these are the things I would look at.
    using the line is usually my problem with being a little off, I have to make sure its EXACTLY on the line and not a bit over or under

  17. #17
    Super Member deranged_damsel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beginnerquilter
    I have only been cutting in single layers...

    the problem with me is that my wrists are weak so I don't have very much strength in my wrist to hold down the ruler and it doesn't matter what size of ruler I use - it is still hard on my wrist to hold a ruler firm enough so it doesn't move. I forgot to mention this in my first post...sorry about that.

    I have fractured, smashed my hand, dislocated my right wrist just two years ago due to a fall and it's been broken prior to that lots of times. I am left handed so I always hold the ruler with my right hand and cut with my left. My left wrist is just a tad bit stronger than my right but not very much. I've broken my left wrist several times...I just got my cast off this past year in February off of my left wrist. Thank goodness it was a clean break. My bones break easy too so that is why I can't put too much pressure on my wrists or my fingers. I put as much pressure on my wrist/fingers when I am holding the ruler as much as I can without over doing that.

    It is easier for me to hold a 3 inch ruler than a real long one and having to move it twice and keep pressure on it at all times.

    I know that if I had stronger wrists than my cutting would be a breeze.

    I will try that tape that somebody mentioned on here and see if that will help.

    Most of my squares pretty well match up but there are a few that does not match up exactly and they are just a very tiny bit off and I mean tiny.

    The cutting is hard for me due to weak wrists and plus I don't have a good long table to work on either...so that is another problem too....I am living in a apartment and right now I don't have a good long table to work on but hopefully soon I will be getting one.

    My friend told me that I can go over to her house and use her table to cut on so when I do make my good Table Topper than I will do that and I'll have her help me cut my material for me or somebody from the Quilt Group that I go to.

    Thanks for all of your help...I love this board because I can come here and ask a question and you all take time out to reply back...that means so much to me.



    :)

    try not to push with your cutter. if you are cutting single layer it should slice fairly easy. the harder you push with your cutter the stronger you have to hold your ruler.

  18. #18
    Senior Member LoriJ's Avatar
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    If your squares are just a tiny bit off, you can always compensate when you sew them together. The differences get hidden in the 1/4 inch seam.

  19. #19

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    Just a wierd thought - could you get C clamps at the hardware and clamp the long ruler and fabric to the table and then use the rotary. I don't know much, just got here. I use C clamps for rebuilding furniture. If nothing else, when you price the C clamps it might help you justify the cost of a strip cutter!

  20. #20
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Start saving for an Accquilt Go machine. I can't praise this machine enough for the way it has improved my quilting and my attitude.

  21. #21
    Senior Member beginnerquilter's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for all of your help on this.

    :)

  22. #22
    Senior Member beginnerquilter's Avatar
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    I am going to try some of these Tips and let you know which one I will use. I'm going to practice my cutting again this weekend.

    Thanks once again...

    :)

  23. #23
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    Make sure the cutter, is straight up and down,aligned with the ruler. some people tend to turn the cutter,and it tends to cut a little under the ruler..which would make the piece a hair short.
    don't be reaching very far either. if your holding the cutter properly and it has a sharp blade in it..you should not have to use so much pressure.
    my favorite all time ruler is a 4 1/2 x 18,
    "Creative Grids" non slip ruler.
    they are a good investment. I wish i had known about them when i first started. My ruler collection would of been alot less.
    You can get them at Local quilt shops and on line. They are worth the price.
    that size is not only easy to use..it is easy to take with you to classes and such.
    I have a smaller mat, so i can move the mat, instead of the fabric. 18x24. wait for it to go on sale or use a coupon at Michaels or Joanns or Hobby Lobby.
    Good luck, and keep us posted! i know you will get better as you practice more. next to your seam allowance, the cutting is most important!

  24. #24
    Senior Member cindyg's Avatar
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    I use Invisi-Grip on the under side of my rulers. It's a clear, clingy, film. Love it.

  25. #25
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Maybe some of the suction cup handles would help you with the ruler. I have weak hands/wrists too and these along with the no slip film on the bottom of the ruler are awesome :D:D:D

    Also make sure your blades are very sharp, dull blades cause you to push harder and your ruler will tend to slip more and it's harder on your wrists :wink:

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