Sunday, August 20, 2006

To Square or Not to Square

I suspect long time readers of this blog can figure out what this lump is under the quilt.

Yes, that would be my darling Lily the Pest. The same little critter who kept me awake last night by scratching and scratching at the closet door. No, she wasn't trapped inside, she wanted to get in there. She never does this during the daytime, only when we're trying to sleep. As I said, the Pest.

Yesterday I got the binding and sleeve machine sewn onto Terms. The top of the sleeve gets sewn right in there at the same time as the binding - that's one less bit of hand sewing I have to do. Anyway, got halfway through finishing off the binding while watching "The Fifth Element" with my sweetie. Goofy movie that both of us disliked in the theater but grew to love just watching bits of it on HBO. Now we thoroughly enjoy it. As Ruby Rhod would say "super green."

While I was trimming the extra batting and backing off of Terms, I thought I'd mention about how I don't square up quilts anymore. I know the Quilt Police are all into that "squared up" thing and once upon a time I tried to follow those rules. This was the last quilt I squared up:

I wrote about this quilt in my very first post. Sorry I don't have a better picture of it - I know this one is tiny. I hand-pieced the top and then quilted very closely - every quarter inch. Love how it came out. But when it came to squaring up the edges before putting on the binding, I finally realized that I was going around and around and around the top and it was never getting any squarer - just smaller. I easily lost an inch of the border, if not more, which saddens me because I adore this Hoffman floral.

So that was it. I don't square any more. I don't care if the quilt has an odd shape. It'll wobble if it's gonna wobble - trimming it down to nothing just isn't going to help. Much less stress my way. I just trim straight, about three inches at a go. Move the ruler, trim a bit, move the ruler, trim, and on and on. That's what I was doing up there in that top picture when Lily jumped in.

Susan asked about Lebanese food. Go here for a description of my favorite dishes, as well as to see Xs and Os in progress on Fruit Punch.

Cotton Pickin' Andi of Phoenix AZ has made some bold Xs and Os for her Take the Leap Challenge quilt.

New blogger Caroline at Quilty Nurse is working on great wonky houses, an alphabet sampler and Judy's Hour a Day Challenge. She's got her hands full - how about giving her some encouragement.


quiltpixie said...

I figure if I square pieces when I assemble, the finished quilt is mighty close to square.... Like you I "straighten the edges" (I tend to cut about 20" at a time as I have a nice long ruler and space to do it) but I"m not entering a competition so as long as it looks square if that's what I was going for, that's "good enough".

Glad you missed Pest's tail junder that quilt -- though after a night of being kept up I can imagine the temptation :-)

Hanne said...

I never square a quilt. I never learned it in the first place and when I learned it I could not see the use of it, other than to make me break a sweat. If I do my best during construction it is as good as it gets. I do not accept quilt police either ;-)
Never try to square a cat,
it will stretch in all directions anyway :-P

Nancy said...

I never square quilts. My quilts are made to be used and I'm thinking the recipients could care less if it's 100% square as long as it keeps them warm. Even my walls don't seem to care if the wall-hangings list a bit to the side. :-)

Eileen said...

I don't square quilts either. I trim and bind. One of my friends does the whole blocking thing. Sorry, not in this lifetime.
I've heard of some of the dishes you had at your favorite restaurant, but this area is not big on what they might consider "foreign". Chinese and Indian is as exotic as it gets unless we head down to NYC.

Tazzie said...

Hey hon,
Even with my status as senior constable of the quilt police, I still don't square up quilts. If they're not square after doing your best to piece them right, they're not gunna be. Anyways, when they're lived with and washed, they're going to do whatever they want.
I love your 'terms' quilt, it's looking just wonderful. Your quilting is really great. I love the other quilt too, it's so bright and lovely. Your work is amazing!
Have a great day

Ann said...

Wow, I thought I was the only one who did not square up quilts! Seems like maybe the ones that DO are the minority! least among this group, anyway! I am amazed at how fast you are, Tonya! You're always doing something new. I finally got into the sewing room this weekend! And am heading back in there when I get thru reading blogs!

Cindra said...

Looks like I am in great company. I am not a persnickety person. I like the color and personality of my quilts to shine through. It helps to know others are accepting of this though.

ForestJane said...

I like the colors in that floral too. :) But then, I tend to like the cooler colors of the spectrum better than the hotter reds, oranges, yellows.

I don't see you using florals much anymore - how long ago was that quilt?

I've never used a big floral, not after a member of the quilt police told me I 'had' to pick a big floral for my border, then use the color dots in the selvege to pick my other fabrics. My mental voice right then was saying "Oh, NO I don't!"

Especially since the floral she was intent on steering me to was this horrible concoction of dark olive green bkg., pale pink and gold flowers, and puce green leaves.

Judy said...

Okay, I might have seen something about "squaring up" in a book once...but I never let it into my quilt process and I do NOT do it now! I lay out the quilt, put my 15 x 15 ruler on the corner and cut the first one, then I lay out my 24" long ruler and try to measure about the same size border and cut goin to the next corner. Then back to the 15X15 on the corner and I work my way around.

IF something doesn't line up perfectly, then I lay the ruler from one point to the next and whack off the extra wobble. "Whack" being a technicle term of course!

Square a quilt.....LOL!!HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Quilts And Pieces said...

Oh man, your terms looks so good even all balled up and lumpy! I can't wait to get a full front on shot all quilted bound and done!

Guess what I'm going to do this afternoon! Liberated stuff! I had just started cutting fabric when Emily pulled me away to go play a game, so I can't post a picture until later.

Finn said...

Hey Ton, so the lump is a pesky kitty??? And I was thinking that rotary cutter had mated with the cutting mat and was busy re-producing little Easy Angles...*VBG*

Terms looks wonderful..I continue to be amazed at how great they look...every time!!!

I actually had one student who used a carpenters square to make sure the basting frame was an exact 90 degree angle as we pinned her quilt into it..can you believe that??? Perfectionists make me tired..*S*

Unknown said...

Hi Tanya, Terms looks awsome you are one talented lady, I like the way you think about squaring up, I'm like that too...
Hugs Tina

Susan said...

I love that blue quilt. The blocks look like butterflies in the picture. Squaring up - I used a pink engineer's 90 degree triangle on the corners and made the ends meet. Usually not too much to trim off, though. Now I don't worry about it - no room to lay one out!

Anonymous said...

I had to catch up reading your blog....I LOVE your flag beady! Why do you frame it? Please show a pic after framing, OK?

Your terms quilt is also gorgeous and looks wonderful where it is. I love those bright cheerful colors!

Cute, cute camel saddle, very unusual.

You are an inspiration! Thanks so much and have an uneventful move.
I will be thinking of you.

Lily Mulholland said...

Looks like we're all mavericks when it comes to not squaring our quilts. I'm not even 'going there' with mine!!

I love, love, love the Fifth Element. Yes it's silly, but it's fabulous too.

Anonymous said...

I really needed to see this blog today. I have been quilting since the start of the year. I am completely self taught via the internet. My mom quilted and upon her death I was left 2 of her quilt tops and decided to learn to quilt and finish hers. ANyway I recently ran into a senior member of the Quilt Police who insulted all my work as not being real quilts because:

Not completely hand sewn and hand quilted

and also comments on not being perfectly squared.

It is good to know that squaring is overrated.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I too have tried in the past to really square up a quilt really well and like you my border would get smaller and smaller. I do not square up as much as I used to and I just want to chill out and enjoy my quilting, if mistakes are in they are there and I am not going to point them out and if anyone else wants to they can! Karen

Anonymous said...

Well, as I dry my tears over my squares I thought I was keeping square, but find they are not, I had to laugh about squaring up a cat. I'm a first time quilter. Probably a last time one based on how I feel today. Anyway, I have the tools just not the skill set to make nice, square-squares. I'm glad to read other people here are on the same boat and you don't worry about it! I hope I can find more information on how to put my crooked squares together for a crooked top!