Test this demo about squaring up quilts!
You just gotta love square quilts!
I’ve heard several of my quilter friends comment that they don’t like to make square quilts. I get that. Bed-size quilts can be more practical, usable, and gift-able. Even if I’m making a wall hanging or art quilt, mine usually aren’t square. But I DO love a quilt with right corners, no matter the length of its sides!
If your long-arm quilter ever mentions measured borders and “squared” backings, you might wonder, “What’s the big deal?”, especially in regards to your backing fabric. Here’s a little demo you can do yourself to understand why it benefits you–and your quilt–to start and stay square:
*Grab two pencils, tape, scissors, and a piece of paper from a little notepad. I’m assuming your paper is a rectangle, but a square works, too.
*First make a straight cut on one of the long sides of your paper at an angle. It doesn’t have to be a big angle, just make sure you aren’t cutting it parallel to the edge of the paper.
*Now tape the opposite end to a pencil, keeping the paper even across the pencil.
*Now tape the other, angled end to the other pencil.
*Roll your paper “quilt backing” onto the first pencil.
As you can see, the second pencil lies at an angle. Straighten that pencil until it is parallel to the first pencil. The extra paper you see would be the extra fabric in a real quilt backing. This can cause folds on the back of your quilts. Your quilter might try to avoid that by making sure your backings is trimmed square before loading it onto her poles, but it could cost you extra fees because, depending on the backing, it could take up to an hour to square an unruly backing.
I figure most quilters understand why they’d want their quilt top to be square (have right angles). Whether it’s a wall hanging or going on a bed, or even folded as a throw, it’s nice to have everything line up just right. Tops have a tendancy to take on an hourglass shape, especially if the borders are applied and then trimmed. Measured borders (based on measurements from the center of the quilt) which are pinned at the centers and corners and “eased” onto the top will actually help your quilt stay square.
Now, I am not telling you this so that you stress over your quilt tops and fret if they don’t (heehee) “measure up” (couldn’t resist). We don’t need more quilt police, especially in today’s world of quilting when so many of the old rules no longer apply. I do think as long as we take consistent steps in our quilting process that tend to lead toward a square quilt, that is effort enough. From time to time, I will get a quilt top in my long arm frame (including my own) which are less than square by (wait for it) a fair measure (sew many puns, see?). All puns aside, I have certain procedures I follow when loading and advancing a quilt so that I can be certain I’m doing everything possible to keep the quilt square. Sometimes, and it’s usually a mystery, a quilt just doesn’t play nicely, no matter how precisely it has been pieced or prepped. In those cases, there are tricks for easing in extra fabric and avoiding folds, some I’ve learned in classes and others I’ve learned through trial and error.
Sometimes, you can do everything possible to keep your quilt square and it still doesn’t cooperate. Sometimes it can truly be a mystery! Think, though, of all of the variables which go into the production of the fabrics and threads, the cutting, stitching, the differences in machines, etc. and construction of a quilt and you can understand why many quilters say, “If you can’t see it riding a horse at 40 mph, don’t worry about it!”. I say, if your quilt is made with love and passion, it is perfect just as it is.
For more information about prepping your quilt for a long-arm quilter, see my blog page. Also, visit me on Facebook at The Quilting Bee Long-arm Designs by Karla. Follow me on Bloglovin’ at: blog.creativebeestudios.com and at my website, www.creativebeestudios.com.
One of the lovely bonds between quilters is that we are crafting beautiful works with our hands to be enjoyed by others.
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Tropical Fun traveled with the AccuQuilt GO! AQS Tour.