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Thread: Why is my block not square?

  1. #26
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    I may be all wet here, but isn't that the reason we square up blocks as we go. It looks to me that if you lay your ruler along one side, being very careful to leave a l/4 from the edge of your material and the points then trim, it would take care of the extra length in the middle square. That is the only place that looks like it needs trimming. Material is pliable, therefore, it could be that your machine handled it a little differently, the material is a different weave, any number of things. I don't think any two materials are alike, similar maybe, but not the same. If you have done everything everyone else suggested then you have a good block. I think you are doing great.
    I understand as a beginner quilter you want to learn and "get things right". But remember, this is supposed to be fun so don't be too critical of yourself. Enjoy.
    Marilyn

  2. #27
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    Conniemaried, I love that block and your points are perfect. Do you mind telling what the name of your block is? I just made a 25-patch 12.5" block yesterday that has the same hst pieces on the outside. The name of mine is Bright Jewel. My pattern called for cutting 2-7/8" for the plain squares. I always cut the hst and qst bigger so I have plenty of room to square them up. I have learned that when I make a hst or qst block piece, no matter what the size, I square up each piece to what it needs to be before laying out the block and I sew the pieces in rows. I quit using steam for my pressing, and now use finger pressing as much as possible so that when I do press, I just set the iron down on top and don't move it around. I also use Best Press starch. I find it is worth the money. I also use a SCANT 1/4" seam on all my blocks. If it was my block, I would take it totally apart and remeasure, and square up each piece before sewing it in rows and then sewing the rows together.

  3. #28
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    well, for a trial run, it sure is nice...I think once you compensate for all those intersections, you will do fine!

  4. #29
    Super Member grandme26's Avatar
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    Block is beautiful. No answers to what to correct. I say leave as is and it will probably all work out in the end.
    Grandmeto6 aka Judy

  5. #30
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    I find when my strips and blocks don't match up to size, it is usually because I did not line up the points. Start from the center blocks and move your eyes out. If you notice any points that do not match up, maybe there is a way to rip out a few seams and fix it. Your top yellow/blue block the yellow seamed corners don't meet the two on the sides. It does help to have a small ruler and constantly measure the blocks as you sew. Measurement is off, then you may need to adjust the seams.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grandma sews View Post
    I know pressing has a lot to do with it, as mentioned. My problem was that I stretched it as I ironed and the square was too big.
    Oh, that's different. When I have a square that is too big then I measure each subset to see where I'm off. You can easily resew that seam to come out correctly. Sometimes it just takes a thread witdth on each seam to get to the desired size. I actually go back and take out the wrong seam once the correct one has been sewn.

    I would NOT trim the outside to start because you do not want to lose your points.

  7. #32
    Junior Member conniemaried's Avatar
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    Once again, thanks for all the advice and insights. The name of the block is 'Providence." Believe me, I want this to be fun. That's why I asked for help before getting all upset about it. That's where you guys come in and keep me sane and on track. Thanks a million. Connie D

  8. #33
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    Your block looks perfect - your points are pointy, and the seam intersections are where they should be.

    Did you wash your fabrics before cutting them? Some fabrics shrink when they are pressed with steam.

    Sometimes I unintentionally stretch some of the pieces while pressing them and one direction will be a bit longer than the other direction.

  9. #34
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    Wow! I would be so happy with that block, all those points matching up so well. Did our grandmothers all use scant 1/4 in and all the things we fuss about now? I guess my expectations are going to be high on the Love and thought meter.and lower on the perfection meter. But I do strive for improvement. LOL
    Thank you Lord for Friends, Family, and Quilters

  10. #35
    Super Member callen's Avatar
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    Can't help you but just wanted to say how nice your block is. Things will work out, sometimes it takes a little "fudging" !!!
    Dance like no one is watching

  11. #36
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    Are you sure you are that far off? Just looking at your block I see that you have the requisite 1/4" seam allowance left on all 4 sides...good! And that the squares all seem to be lining up as they ought to at their seam intersections.

    Take your ruler and check that all the squares that are finished on all sides are really square. You may have cut one line a bit big, but until you check your finished units, you will not know which are "off". If none are off, then you probably just pressed the block out of shape by accident.

    Also check the back of your work...do all the seam allowances appear to be equal and 1/4"? Ones too thick or thin will jump out at you (particularly if you chose to press the seams open).

  12. #37
    Super Member quiltingfan's Avatar
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    I Agree with Stichripper. Never new a lot of this but it totally makes sense why the blocks would be off. Since I want to start making harder blocks I will keep this information in mind when I start. Thanks for posting this question, Beth

  13. #38
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    Your block looks wonderful! As already stated the points match, and you still have 1/4" on each side of the block for seams allowances. I think if you square your block up carefully, the top of the block will have a sliver to cut off in the center without cutting off points. It will probably be enough to make the block square enough. If you start taking out seams, it can stretch your fabric and you could have more problems! It seems like you have enough info. now to thoroughly confuse you! I hope not. Enjoy the process!

  14. #39
    Junior Member earlori7's Avatar
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    I have done some swaps with 12.5 inch finished blocks and it has been a struggle to make sure they are 12.5. I have adjusted my needle position for a scant 1/4th inch and still sometimes it still doesn't quite make it. I had not considered different weight fabrics. Interesting. Very few of the blocks I have receive in the swaps are 12.5 either.

  15. #40
    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
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    When you say you were careful with your seam allowance, did you butt your fabric right up to the bar on your 1/4" foot ( if you used one). I wish manufacturers would explain when they sell this particular foot that it is the full 1/4" and that the buyer would need to make adjustments for the scant 1/4". After all aren't these specialized feet for quilters? You are very smart to try the block on scrap fabric but I'd love to play in your scraps if the fabrics are as pretty as these. When we sew there is a little take up on the underside fabric, hence we put any longer piece on the under side to take up that bit extra. Applies to garment sewing as well as quilting. Sewing alternate rows in the opposite direction help too. Try measuring each strip before you sew it to the next. Easier to adjust on each strip than the whole quilt.
    Take your sample to LQS next visit and ask the people there for their advice. You also have quite a lot of biased edges and they can stretch so easily.
    Check all these things but promise me one thing, "that you won't give in" ever. I don't think you have too much to worry about as your block looks pretty good to me. Happy quilting.

    PS. Forgot to say that the word fudging is important too. I won't fudge over 1/8" though. This is where it pays to put longer piece on the underside.
    Last edited by katesnanna; 04-15-2012 at 08:12 PM. Reason: added info.

  16. #41
    Junior Member nantucketsue's Avatar
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    This happens to me all the time and I think it is quite simply fabric stretch, especially when you have bias cuts as in the triangles. Starching prior to cutting is supposed to help, but I don't like working with stiff fabric. My tutor told me only ever to PRESS with a dry iron. This helps, but it it is all down to the handling of the fabric and that takes a lot of patience and practice. I regard it as a bonus when I get a true square.

  17. #42
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    Nice block, and you do have about 1/4 inch around each point. If you stitch from point to point, the block should turn out beautifully.

  18. #43
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    Beautiful block, I don't have an answer but your points are fantastic.
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