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Thread: Squaring off

  1. #1
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    What is meant by squaring off and how is it done?

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    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    Squaring off is making the block completely square - there are special rulers for it- or you can try to use a regular ruler ( i have tried that way can be done but is hard ) what size are you making the blocks ?

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    Super Member Raggiemom's Avatar
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    MTS
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    More importantly, is to figure out why it isn't square to begin with....was it the cutting, sewing, pressing? Cause it's one or more of those things.

    A great reference book, even though I think she's a tad anal retentive (and I mean that in a nice way), is "The Art of Machine Piecing," by Sally Collins. Even if you don't subscribe to all her methods (and I don't), it at least really explains why you're not creating perfectly square blocks

    But if you've got a pieced block with many parts, and don't want to risk chopping off any points or important parts of the design, I'd suggest Sharon Schamber's helpful videos on blocking -

    shrinking
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6aplw_tVZc

    stretching
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQkF02vpVuw

  5. #5
    jajudd24's Avatar
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    You got all the great info here....hope it helps you like it has me...

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    Thanks folks, my squares are a windmill, all meet in the middle just great, but some of the sides are off as much as 1/2" - could I just square them all off to 9"?

  7. #7
    MTS
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    Quote Originally Posted by janb
    Thanks folks, my squares are a windmill, all meet in the middle just great, but some of the sides are off as much as 1/2" - could I just square them all off to 9"?
    As long as you center the ruler. You might still have a little "easing" when sewing the blocks together to make the design match up. That's what pins are for. :wink:

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    Thanks MTS. you have confirmed what I have palanned to do....thinking all night about this and I am sure it will work quite well.

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    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Hmmmm, if you are off by 1/2 an inch and try to square everything up to the smaller size you may be loosing points. Don't know what your blocks look like though. Might be ok. I would square up the worst one, then attach it with a quarter inch seam to scrap pieces of fabric on all 4 sides to make sure you are not loosing some of your design. Use a long stitch length and just unpick the stitches after the trial joining. This will let you see if it will be OK to proceed with the rest of the blocks!

  10. #10
    Senior Member quilter711's Avatar
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    This helps a lot for each square. How do you square a big quilt?

    Quilter711
    Nancy

  11. #11
    MTS
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilter711
    This helps a lot for each square. How do you square a big quilt?

    Quilter711
    Nancy
    That goes back to what I wrote upthread - finding out why things are ending up wonky in the first place.

    But in theory, if you've got perfectly square blocks, and you're really focused and diligent when sewing them together (no going off the highway at the end of a seam, always having a consistent seam allowance), the top should end up square.

    But this process is where you learn that all the different, seemingly inconsequential things really do matter.

    Is your thread too thick? Are you setting the seams first? Are throwing around a lot bias edges? Are you pressing correctly, whether open or to one side?

    But it can all go back to the cutting. When I was teaching I was surprised at how many long time quilters were not cutting correctly by not lining up the rulers at the right place. So the 2" strips was really a 1 15/16 strip - might not sound like a big deal, but put a lot of strips together or sub-units, sew a tiny bit off on the seam allowance, have a little tuck in your pressing - and you end with what I affectionately call a cluster****. You get the idea. ;-)

    I'm helping a friend right now on her quilt. It's a freaking monster 90x96. And based on the design of the blocks, the quilt top could not be trimmed before putting on the borders because it would really screw with the visual image.

    But you can easily see on the back where she sent off on the sewing when putting the blocks together - and when you have over 140 7" blocks, even a 1/32" of an inch is going to add up to big problems.

    And I'm not talking about what show judges would think. Just the hassle of putting it together and quilting it - getting it to lay flat and squaring it up.

    Again, I'm going to send you back to Sharon Schamber - how she squares quilts up....and it's brilliant. I was to lazy to use it for my friend's quilt, but I'm going to try it next time. She calls this magical basting. Here's Part 1-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pi1RgiLI9GI

  12. #12
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilter711
    This helps a lot for each square. How do you square a big quilt?

    Quilter711
    Nancy
    When you add your borders, you should also measure the quilt in 3 places, average the measurements, cut your borders to the measurment then ease either the quilt or the border. This helps to square up a large quilt. If the center of the quilt is off and you just sew borders on you can skew it even more.

  13. #13
    Senior Member quilter711's Avatar
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    MTS & PaperPrincess, Thank you for your help. I have the link saved in my favorites. The largest size that I think I would ever try is a lap quilt. MTS, I wish you were not in hiding and lived in MA. I could use a few lessons from you! Good luck with your student.

    Quilter711
    Nancy

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