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Squaring a quilt

Squaring a quilt

Old 01-10-2015, 05:49 AM
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Default Squaring a quilt

How do you square up your quilt?
Do you square it up using large rulers and measuring from the blocks to the outside edges?
Should this be done all around the edges?
Any pointers would be appreciated.
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Old 01-10-2015, 05:55 AM
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I lay my quilt out on a flat surface and try to have all the pins removed because if the ruler hits the pins, it can throw it off a little. If I have borders, I will square off so the border is all the same width. If there aren't any borders, I admit I pretty much eyeball it. And I square up all four sides. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-10-2015, 06:01 AM
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I try to square all the elements of each block as I go as well as each block as completed. I measure through the center of the quilt in both direction before adding my borders. I rarely have to square a quilt after this process. After quilting, I trim excess back and batting to within a couple of inches and then attach binding to the front. It's at that point that I trim to finished width from binding stitching.
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Old 01-10-2015, 06:28 AM
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My two cents on this subject.....I'm a member of the square everything as you go club. ie, every block, every border, every section. It does take a little longer, but I am fixing any problems as I go. After I take it off the long arm, I use my ruler to line up my last borders and try to keep the same border width for the last outside border while trimming. Then I sew on my binding. I'm never totally perfectly square but I'm not usually off more than a half inch on a lap size or maybe an inch on a King. One of the keys is keeping it square on the long arm frame, and I have a very good eye for that. Having said that, I don't like pieced tops that don't have borders. It makes it too stressful for me trying to keep the stitched blocks square and together as I am quilting it, so a lot of patterns that are without borders as designed, will have one or more, when I get through sewing it.

I know the technical ways to do it, but I don't quilt for shows and my family cannot tell if it's off by an inch or two and don't care. And, by the time you wash it the first time, unless you square it up again, it is going to pull where it wants to anyway.

Last edited by Barb in Louisiana; 01-10-2015 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 01-10-2015, 06:58 AM
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I squares up throughout my quilt top. No matter how square it is before quilting, I still get a little movement and I square up the sandwich before putting on my binding. I usually put a plain border on my quilt top so that squaring up doesn't cut any points off my blocks.

I lay my quilted sandwich flat on the floor. I put my large 15 inch square in the corner and line up all my long rotary rulers down one side of the quilt. At this point I can mark that edge or if I am feeling confident, I can slip my cutting mat under the sandwich and trim. I do the other 3 sides the same way. I am only trimming a smidge away to get a nice straight edge to attach my binding to. Before adding the binding, I fold my prepared sandwich end to end and side to side, matching the corners to make sure everything measures the same.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:29 AM
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I am in the square-as-you-go camp. However, at the very end, before adding the binding, I do some additional squaring. For this I use a large metal T-square purchased from one of the big box home stores (a carpenter's square). They come in different sizes, and the bigger the better. I would have purchased a larger one had I known the larger ones were stored in a different area of Menard's from where I got mine. These are inexpensive -- maybe $12 to $25 depending on size. You do need space to store it when not in use.

I should add that this last "squaring" I do is done with a Sharpie permanent marker, not a rotary cutter. I draw my cutting lines on the quilt using the T-square. Once I am satisfied that everything is square, I sew my binding on using the Sharpie line as my "virtual" edge. I find that this helps me not mess up the edge as I have had problems in the past with the edge stretching as I sew, finding tucks and puckers underneath afterwards, etc. After the binding is sewn on, I use my rotary cutter to trim off the excess quilt, being ***very***careful not to cut into the binding at the corners (did that exactly once, and found this creates a hole in the binding corner). Works for me.
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:57 AM
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I guess I am also a member of the camp too, square it up at I go. The only reason you want to make sure the quilt is squares is before you put the borders on. They won't lay flat if the quilt is not square. Nothing worse then having wavy borders.
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Old 01-10-2015, 02:37 PM
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I do it the same way Prism99 does, sometimes I do cut before attaching the binding, but I use a large t- square & mark the straight lines all the way around making sure all sides are equal and the corners are right angles.
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Old 01-11-2015, 08:27 AM
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I love Prism99's idea of the carpenter's square and have used my DH's "L" many times. Another good carpenter's tool that might work is a chalk line. I haven't tried it yet, but plan to on the next UFO. It should be great for marking those long distance lines. You just hook one end on the table, line it up square and snap the string.

~ C
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:55 AM
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I have occasionally thought of getting a couple of laser squares. Can't find my favorite tutorial on how to use these (work great for blocking a show quilt!), but here is a websites that shows how they are used:
http://cowtownquilts.com/tag/laser-square/ (scroll down)

Edit: Hmmm... Just found this one on Amazon and it's not too expensive. Might get one to try out. Reading the reviews, though, I will want to check it for accuracy against other squares in case it needs to be returned. At least returning items to Amazon for reason is easy. Here is the link:

Last edited by Prism99; 01-11-2015 at 11:58 AM.
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