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Thread: to square or not to square

  1. #1
    Joe
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    Junior Member Joe's Avatar
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    Another question do you square all your smaller pieces before putting them together? For instance so far all the blocks I've made have been made of 9 different squares. Then i sew the top row together middle row bottom row then sew them all together. Should I be squaring every step of the way? Look at the block below its clearly not square but if I square it it's too small so i put it in the block as is then the end block was way out of square and I had to trim it down to 12x12 1/4. Here is the finished block after squaring.

    definately not square
    Name:  Attachment-26824.jpe
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Size:  45.1 KB

    square but a little small
    Name:  Attachment-27119.jpe
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Size:  61.8 KB

  2. #2
    Senior Member TammyD's Avatar
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    Hi! I make my blocks a little bit bigger, then square them up. If you have a lot of these blocks made up and they are a little smaller it might be a sashing opportunity :-D

  3. #3

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    No expert here, but I was taught to square as you go. Makes everything a lot simpler.

  4. #4
    Super Member dglvr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TammyD
    Hi! I make my blocks a little bit bigger, then square them up. If you have a lot of these blocks made up and they are a little smaller it might be a sashing opportunity :-D
    Yeap. Ditto. Thats what I do. :thumbup:

  5. #5
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    HST are tough for me to keep square, too. I make them by adding a full inch to the finished size I need. Put the two squares together, draw a diagonal line and sew 1/4" from each side of the line. After sewing, cut them apart on the line. They are then a touch oversize so I have room to square them up.

    It's a bit more time consuming, but it's the only way I end up with squares.

  6. #6
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    Square as you go saves a lot of problems and disappoints later.
    I make my HST like Lisa. Lots of room to work with.

  7. #7
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    I use THANGLES to make my HST and they come out close enough to perfect everytime---right size, little if any squaring up. For other things, yes, I square as I go. If your hsts are coming out too small, try sewing a "scant-er" 1/4" seam.

  8. #8
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    I have the same problem :oops: I was told to measure everything every step of the way . Turns out a LOT of the patterns I was using actually call for a "scant" 1/4" not a regular 1/4" and that was making all my squares too small :hunf:

    And the HST are VERY hard to get correct because of the bias

    Practice, Practice, Practice and trust me I know how frustrating it is

  9. #9
    Honey's Avatar
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    Squaring just makes your quilt go together so much smoother.

  10. #10
    Super Member shaverg's Avatar
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    Sometimes I do. But not always. If I look like I am sewing a little quirky that day. I do.

  11. #11
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    How do you square? Do you simply use the grid on your cutting mat to see if it is square and then hack it off right there ?

  12. #12
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    squaring to correct size is very important. just make sure you don't make them smaller than required though.
    and hst's should be squared/trimmed by placing the 45 degree line on your ruler on the seam line. also very important.

  13. #13
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Being an 1/4" off here and there, can come around and bite you later on. If 12 blocks are 1/4" bigger than they should be, the row will be 3" too long. So your measurements for the borders in the patterns would be inaccurate. If your borders are pieced, this will make a major problem for you, and that is a lot of extra fabric to try and ease in.
    The more pieces going into a block, the more opportunity for variances, and the more important it is to check for accuracy. A 12" block with 9 pieces won't vary as much as a 12" block with 36. If you find your piecing and cutting is fairly accurate, you may just want to spot check your work.

    Using different brands of rulers, or the grid on your mat can make for variances too. There is a difference in some brands of rulers :wink: You may want to compare yours, as sometimes that may be what is causing a variance in your piecing/cutting.

    I tossed out one ruler because when I cut out 4 in blocks, they were all just off far enough, that a scant 1/4" seam still made them too short when pieced into a 9 patch. I cut them with different ruler and they were spot on. I then double checked them with another ruler and got the same perfect measurement. Had I of used my mat for part of this process, I would have ended up with a slightly different measurement also.... I wondered if the machine in the factory was a bit off and in need of an adjustment that day :roll: and that is what caused that ruler to be off...

  14. #14
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    The more time you invest in prep work, the better your final product will be. If you square them now, the assembly will go much smoother. Trust me on this - it's a lesson I learned the hard way.

  15. #15
    Power Poster ann clare's Avatar
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    I square as I go. I use the ruler to square up. Some people use the mat lines and ruler.

  16. #16
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    All I can say is that every time I don't square as I go....I wish I had! lol

  17. #17
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    I square as I work. I makes blocks go together much easier. The end result is much better.

  18. #18
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    It's weird - when I sew pieces together on the straight of grain, the units end up really close to the size I am expecting them to be.

    When I sew triangles together on the bias side- using what I think is the same seam allowance, they squares end up skimpy.

    I've also resorted to making the HSTs slightly oversize and trimming down.

    It may waste an 1/8 inch of fabric on two sides of the square, but it sure saves a lot on aggravation.

  19. #19
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I try to square as I go.

  20. #20

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    I square up as I go. Every time I sew a section of the block together. Especially the 1/2 square triangles. ( And always make them slightly larger to allow for squaring.) And after the block is finished, I press and square up the block. All the blocks have to be the same size and allowing for the 1/4 inch seam allowance. A 12 inch finished block will be 12 1/2 inch before sewing the rows together.

  21. #21
    Super Member pollyjvan9's Avatar
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    I square as I go, and on my machine needle position 6.0 is 1/4" I set my needle at 6.1, a scant 1/4", seems to help me when it comes time to square up and trim.

  22. #22
    Junior Member QuiltingQueen's Avatar
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    My sisters say I am too picky but I always square up. I do it different ways - depending on how it is sewed.

    If the pattern calls for 3 7/8 squares - I make them 4in.

    Or I use triangle paper - Thangles or generic.

    If I am working on basic 4-patch... 9-patch - I sew a scant 1/4 inch seam and square it up. Always...

    I use a JuneTaylor - Shape Cut or her Perfect Half-square & Quarter-Square Triangles Ruler. One of my favorite/most important tool in my quilt room. I have worn out/cracked two two Shape Cuts - not because of poor quality but because I use them daily.

    One of the reasons I am so picky is that sister got chewed out by her long arm quilter cause her quilt was so off square... Not me! My sister was a bit miffed but I just took note!

  23. #23
    thismomquilts's Avatar
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    I have, of late, realized how very important it is to square as you go!

  24. #24
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    The difference in ruler marking makes it very important to use the same ruler whrn measuring a block or seam ,etc. Jolo

  25. #25
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I square as I go, and also, like some of you, make the HSTs a little bigger so they turn out the right size. That's how I made the quilt in my avatar and it went together pretty easily.

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