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Thread: Squaring Up Log Cabin Block

  1. #1
    Super Member Nolee's Avatar
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    Squaring Up Log Cabin Block

    I am making a log cabin quilt and am being meticulously careful (honest) and yet they are coming out a bit more here and a bit more there. I was wondering, can I square them up once the block is finished or will it mess up the whole quilt. I've got 6 rows on each one so far.

    Thanks!
    "Worry is about doing something you can do nothing about."

  2. #2
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    Having just recently completed sewing the top (and now working on the quilting) for a LC - I squared up as I went. Tedious and time consuming as it was I will say the top went together without a hitch. The constant squaring up is one reason why I don't think I'll ever do another LC again!

  3. #3
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    I usually square them as I construct them and square each block. A little bit out does make a difference in putting the blocks together. Can you still put odd size blocks together? Sure, it's just a lot harder. Put the bigger blocks next to the feed dogs and the smaller block on top if it's only out a smidge.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    You can square up blocks (and probably even rows, if you have gotten that far) using Sharon Schamber's method of spray starch and ironing. She has some video demo's on Youtube about this. Here is a link to one of them, although she has several others there too:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-3RIWhBvcA

  5. #5
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    I PP log cabins, saves having to square up each block when done.

  6. #6
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    While it is a bit tedious to square up the blocks, it makes the final step of putting together the rows so much easier. I would recommend that you square the blocks evenly so you shave off a (relatively) even amount from all sides. Nobody will know that some of the strips will be slightly thinner than the others.
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  7. #7
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i ALWAYS square up my blocks as i construct them- makes putting the quilt together later much easier if you have squared up blocks- and saves time having to do them all when you are trying to put them together.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  8. #8
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Accuracy at every step of the way ... or should I say, with every strip added?
    That means cutting accurately. Sewing accurately. And checking accurately!
    And sometimes reverse sewing!!!

    If you wait til the end ... chances are you will be very disappointed.
    If you do it as you go ... you'll be thrilled!
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Kat Sews's Avatar
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    though it is better to square after each step, there is another way to correct the out of square/size problem even at the end of the block. Mark on a piece of freezer paper the correct size and shape of the block. place that on the ironing board. lay your block on top of this and carefully pin the block with straight pins matching the correct size lines on the paper. use plenty of pins. When pinned down, Spritz it with water. this will relax the fiber and either stretch or shrink it a little to fit the pinned size. if it needs to shrink a little more hold a hot iron above it to heat the fabric. Leave the block pinned in place until completely dry.

  10. #10
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    They will go together fine without squareing up each block. Cotton has give and that is one reason it's used for quilting.

  11. #11
    Super Member Deb watkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    i ALWAYS square up my blocks as i construct them- makes putting the quilt together later much easier if you have squared up blocks- and saves time having to do them all when you are trying to put them together.
    I am right here with this! I didn't do this the first time, and boy, were my blocks wonky.....and really unusuable. Little extra time here sure makes a HUGE difference!
    Deb Watkins - I woke up today on the right side of dirt. It is a good day.

  12. #12
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    I put on three rows, square them up, finish and square them up again. Its too much to do it every row. If there are any really out of kilter, they get fixed at three rows.
    Life is made up of bits and pieces. You won't know how it'll turn out till its done.

  13. #13
    Super Member JUNEC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandy l View Post
    I PP log cabins, saves having to square up each block when done.
    I make them the same way - it is so much easier to paper piece them - to keep them squared

  14. #14
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mucky View Post
    They will go together fine without squareing up each block. Cotton has give and that is one reason it's used for quilting.
    And not squaring up as you go is probably the number one reason a quilt top does not lie flat and square when done.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  15. #15
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandy l View Post
    I PP log cabins, saves having to square up each block when done.
    I do this too. It is the only way I can get my LC blocks not to be wonky!!!
    No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
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  16. #16
    Super Member BluegrassGurl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    Having just recently completed sewing the top (and now working on the quilting) for a LC - I squared up as I went. Tedious and time consuming as it was I will say the top went together without a hitch. The constant squaring up is one reason why I don't think I'll ever do another LC again!
    Me too!!!! It was INDEED tedious.... but went together beautifully and is ready to be quilted. whew. I had to take a break from it for a few days before I begin quilting it. ;-)

  17. #17
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    i construct the entire block and then square up... it works fine and the trimmings are so tiny that you never notice...

  18. #18
    Super Member SueSew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    And not squaring up as you go is probably the number one reason a quilt top does not lie flat and square when done.
    Amen! What was wonky and gets sprayed, stretched, or shrunk into shape will pop out again unless you machine quilt it into oblivion, in my limited experience.
    Know your piece is cut right size before you start. Measure the seam for 1/4", measure width of top, middle and bottom of block under construction with one of those narrow Ominigrid rulers, and either compensate on the next set of strips in the block the way you would if making a garment, or just trim it up and keep going. I don't think of it as tedium - I think of it as craftsmanship. And I don't say this because I have mastered any of this - quite the opposite!
    SueSew
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  19. #19
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    And not squaring up as you go is probably the number one reason a quilt top does not lie flat and square when done.
    Well Said!!!!

    ..... and sometimes part of the squaring up process, is re-stitching a seam to get it back to being 1/4" precisely!
    A little extra work as you go ... creates those better looking quilts at the end!
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  20. #20
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    I square and trim after each strip is added. If you chain stitch each segment you need to run to your cutting board less often.

    And lots of folks suggest log cabin for a first quilt!! Go figure

  21. #21
    Senior Member scrapykate's Avatar
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    I always square up my blocks before putting a quilt top together. I haven't done a LC in ages as I always find it hard to get all the blocks close enough-haven't tried the square as you go. That sounds a bit tedious for me. I like to move along, maybe when I retire, I won't mind slowing down to square as I go......maybe
    Kate

  22. #22
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapykate View Post
    I always square up my blocks before putting a quilt top together. I haven't done a LC in ages as I always find it hard to get all the blocks close enough-haven't tried the square as you go. That sounds a bit tedious for me. I like to move along, maybe when I retire, I won't mind slowing down to square as I go......maybe
    It's not really tedious, when you see the rewards that the blocks end up being the same size and shape ..... and go together easily at the end.
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  23. #23
    Junior Member krisgray's Avatar
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    You can do it anyway you like. When I took my beginner strip piecing class we used Mary Ellen Hopkins' book, You Can Sit on My Quilt. She says just strip around the center square and square them all up when you are done - precision within the blocks be "darned." Or you can do it the Marti Michel way and carefully add the exact size rectangle and square up the block after you add each log. It is completely up to you and what level of detail and precision works for your project.

  24. #24
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I have made two so far. The first one was when I took my lessons to quilt and she told us the exact size of each round. I never have torn out seams so much. I learned to square it up then and that is what I did on my second log cabin. I love them, but that 1/4 seam better be correct or else. Good Luck.

  25. #25
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    I've started to paper piece log cabin blocks, as I have the same problem. Not matter how careful I am, they get wonky. With paper pieced blocks, the are dead-on, every time, and I'm much happier.

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