Last week I started assembling a quilt where the blocks were made my many others and given to me. The blocks are to be 10 1/2″ now so that when the quilt top is assembled they are 10″ blocks. However, only a few of the blocks were EXACTLY 10 1/2″ including the blocks that I had made! 🙂
Even though most quilters have a myriad of “easing” tricks up their sleeves, I did not want to be playing that game with 40 blocks and having a not-so-flat quilt top to work with.
So my favorite place to ask quilt questions is The Quilt Show forum. So I did. One gave me links to these YouTube videos that just SAVED THE DAY!! One video shows how to stretch blocks to the intended size and that is what I did. Only a few of my blocks were too big and I used this same technique to shrink them down a tad.
I think that every block from now on will go through this sizing & starching treatment.
I started with drawing 3 blocks on muslin that are 10 1/2″… my intended finished size for each block. I used a fine sharpie marker and my 12 1/2″ square for this. I started with using my regular sewing/glass head pins but then bought these 3/4″ applique pins with not much head to them. (And I had the sore red fingertip to prove they don’t have much head!) The muslin is secured to my ironing surface with strips of freezer paper — a brilliant idea from the videos. Because I have a long ironing surface, I loved the idea K gave me of having 3 templates to work on at a time! 🙂
Here is one block centered on the drawn line. It is just a bit shy of the intended size.
This block is lined up at the opposite corner with the drawn line. The photo above shows how short it is of the intended size. Wahhh!!!
And then I guess I quit taking photos!! 😦 I wet the block w/ a mister of water to help the fibers stretch. Then I pinned one side along the intended line. LOTS of pins!!
A bit more mist of water and then I worked to get the block to reach the opposite side. I tended to work top and then bottom. If needed, a bit more mist of water to get the sides pinned down. I had to return to each side and repin to make sure the block stayed in place as I worked the other sides. Once it was all stretched, I sprayed it well with starch.
I dried the block with my iron, sometimes just having the iron hover over a very wet block until it was a bit more dry and I could touch the iron to the block. I dried it the best I could as the edges were hard to reach covered in pins. I let the block sit like that to cool as I moved to work on another block.
When I went back to the first block, I could dry it more with the iron and then I took out one side of pins at a time and ironed the free side to complete the drying. After all the pins were removed, I pressed it one more time. I let it cool in place while I tended to other blocks in the process. When the block was dry and cool, I removed it from the pressing table.
By this point the block was like cardstock. Stiff as a board!! 🙂
I’ve assembled most of the quilt top now and it was so much easier to add sashing to all the blocks that were perfectly sized. I love this!!
Here are the youtube links. I’m not a big fan of Sharon’s but this was great information!
Here is a photo of the blocks all laid out and some sashing sewn in. Currently, I just have 3 rows to finish joining together and then I can add the 2 borders. Excited!! Maybe today.
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