Friday, May 03, 2013

Squaring up blocks

The most terrifying step in quilting is the final squaring up of applique blocks....

A long time ago I made 16 Baltimore Album blocks...the third one I squared up I cut it one inch too small...there was no way I could make the rest that size.  The whole project went into the UFO pile for at least a year...

So today when I had to face squaring up and trimming down the applique blocks for my guild's donation quilt I  did it very, very carefully.  First, I find this easier to do either on my own or with only one other quilter.  I need to focus and I don't focus well in groups!  Second I write everything...every little measurement down...and I keep that notebook with me for the duration.  I've though that I should get some notebook to hang around my neck...maybe next time!  The phone is to call a friend if and when panic sets in...

Next I prep my cutting board...this means moving all fabric off of it, a quick dusting, a check of the rotary cutter blade and making sure I have a ruler large enough for the blocks.  Since I am starting with the center medallion this mean a long ruler!  Also, my really large square ruler (20+ inches) broke during out last move...these blocks finish at 17 inches and I don't have a square large enough so I'll be using this ruler for everything.

Next...sit down for a cup of tea....

Then press the blocks using a bit of starch or sizing.  I want them to be really flat and stable since I will have to re-position them at least once on the cutting board.

More tea...and something with sugar....like a cranberry nut muffin!


So no photos of the actual cutting...remember what I wrote at the beginning...I need to focus!  But I got the center square and the four corner hst blocks all squared up and sewn together (34 inches square!.)  Phew.  It worked...must have been that great Yorkshire tea!

15 comments:

Patty ♣ said...

Love the finished piece!

Loris said...

Yeah! Nicely done!
and Wow! what a gorgeous piece!

Sewing Junkie said...

Concentration is the key. I have a tendency to over think the process. Glad you got it accomplished. Chris

Rosa said...

It just fabulous!!

Merilyn said...

I so know that when you make a small mistake it just takes the fun out of it, and yes to the dark corner it sits and sits.....
I also find that absolute concentration is the key, and I'm like you, can't concentrate in quilt group, just too many distractions, actually never get anything done, too busy helping others with their glitches LOL!!!!
But it's the getting together that is really important....
Great centre and here's hoping the rest of the squaring up goes to plan!!!!

Karen said...

Are you going to make another Baltimore block to replace the one you goofed on? I have done the same thing as you.

Tonya Ricucci said...

ooh yah, loving these blocks. woohoo, fun. time to get a new big ass square ruler - you deserve it!

Diane-crewe said...

well done x there is NOTHING worse than cutting too small! OF COURSE the tea helped as well I am sure xx

Teresa said...

You are so funny...I am the same way about trimming down. When I recently squared up my musical Baltimore block, I was so nervous! I talk to myself, which seem to help me. And I can't be sleep-deprived. I need to add the tea breaks...that would be lovely!

I love your blocks!

In stitches,
Teresa :o)

Impera_Magna said...

Breaks for tea (Yorkshire tea is the best!) and a muffin definitely increases one's ability to focus.

I have to write down measurements as well... if I don't... mistakes WILL be made!

Your finished product is gorgeous and you done good!

*karendianne. said...

Another fun post! I relate. :)

Kimme said...

I'm with you. You definitely need focus when it comes to trimming up! And lots of thinking (procrastination) time. Your appliqué blocks, they are just gorgeous. Can I ask where you got the pattern?

Nifty Quilts said...

Wonderful, fanciful appliqué!

Mary Ellen said...

Bonnie Hunter says you can't square "up" blocks, only square down. Any which way you call it, the process is time consuming, somewhat tedious, and nerve wracking. Your blocks look great, though!

sewkalico said...

I could barely read this post. Accuracy is not my strong suit!!. Glad it's fuelled by tea - always helps ;)