Quilters Live In A Squared Universe!
If you look at quilters, in general, they are ones the word "squares" refers to, in the language of the 60's [you know, in the last century]. But being square goes beyond that. It effects everything!
I was an attendee at a quilting [patchwork] class in Ohio that Ruth taught. The class was on a great pattern, using a fabric collection that were my colors. It was great! All the quilters were beside themselves with joy over the beauty and ease that things were coming together.
This was my first quilt, but things were coming along swimmingly. The quilt had 17" [finished] blocks. All blocks had the "Flip & Sew" corner triangles that made a cool effect. Ruth required that we all use pins, even if we were so good that we didn't need to use them.
She had us square up all the way along: the pieces were the correct size [no excuses like "it's a little off, but I'll fix that when I sew it to another piece]. We squared up everything that we assembled. We squared up our blocks. We squared up the center. We squared up for each of the borders. We were squares!
Everybody was happy. Everybody was square.
I realize that this was a cute rendition of a real class and it may seen like it doesn't have anything to do with "Getting The Most For Your Longarm Dollar," which is the title of this series. But, having a quilt that is square means that you will have a quilt that will lie flat. This may not seem to be a problem since the quilt is for the bed and it will be laying over and surrounding the people sleeping and thus, it does not need to lay flat.
However, before it does on that bed, it goes on the longarm machine. A longarm machine's "bed" is very flat. Quilts that are not squared either bulge at the sides or in the middle. They also can have their corners stretch to a point . . . not very square. Either way there is a good chance that your top will be pinched, pleated, or stretched in direction that you were not anticipating.
So, lets endeavor to get our quilts and their parts square. One way to accomplish that is to use those tools and techniques that our instructors told us to use, but we have assumed that we are to advanced to use them. But, remember, we are subjecting beautiful fabric to the feed dog teeth and pressures of a sewing machine!
Some of those tools and techniques that can help us are:
- Measuring and cutting the fabric the correct size and not "just good enough";
- Having the proper squaring templates, as the one shown above;
- Using a rotary cutter, template, and mat [yes there still are those using scissors];
- Pinning so that the fabric will not move, stretch, or gather as it is sewn or handled;
- Using a 1/4" foot to maintain a real 1/4" seam allowance; and,
- Take your time. Your sewing machine may be great, but it is not a Ferrerri. . . so there is no need to "press the pedal to the metal."
These are just a few of the items that I have seen quilters overlook. I'm sure that I'll remember the most important item after I've sent this email!