…and yes, that is way-OK! Because I’m going to show you something that will help a lot. I should have combined this technique with the last section of part 3, but that’s ok. It’s not too late. And then I PROMISE we’ll move onto the fun stuff of combining blocks.
I’m going to show you how to “square up” your blocks. Despite our best intentions to make each half-square triangle the exact same size as another, there will always be times when the fabric either stretches a bit more than another block, the seam isn’t “exactly” 1/4 inch, our pressing didn’t make things exact, etc. etc. Rather than dwell on that, let’s think about the good news here.
You can “square up” a block and make each one look like the other. It may seem tedious at first, but it goes by fast and it is well worth the time in doing that so that everything lines up like it should.
OK, so here’s a quick run-down on what can happen. Exhibit A: Kim (yes, I’m talking now in 3rd person) stays up late and is sooooo tired. She decides that rather than go to bed like a normal person, she gets the sewing bug and wants to work on some of her half-square triangles. She knows where to sew, she keeps her eye on the 1/4 inch seam, and somehow she strays…from that 1/4 inch seam. Before she knows it, blocks look a tad funny. They don’t match up with one another. But no worries Kim! You’ve got a solution — you “square up” that beauty of a square and MAKE it match.
OK, back to reality here and forget the silliness — This WILL happen to you, too. (And even when you are well-rested! :)) So here’s what you do. Place your square underneath a square ruler. I want my squares to be 3 1/2 inches at this point. Notice it is NOT 3 1/2 inches. Oops.
Step 1: Place your square underneath a square ruler. The dashed lines show where that 3 1/2 inch square should be. The nice big red arrows show some problem spots. (eek.) But remember….it’s all good! No-stress project here.
Step 2: Make sure your diagonal on the ruler (45 degree line) is on the diagonal of the half-square triangle. Before you trim, make sure the fabric on the left and bottom sides extends just a tad over the 3 1/2 inch line. This is ok because you’ll cut it off later.
Step 3: Trim the right and top edge of the half-square triangle.
Step 4: Lift the square ruler off the fabric and rotate your fabric arounds so that you can now trim off those 2 other sides. This time make certain that your bottom and left side of the square lines, lines up right along the 3 1/2 inch markings.
Step 5: Trim any fabric that extends beyond the ruler.
Now you’ve got a perfect square! Isn’t she a beauty? 🙂 And if you’ve never done this before, you learned something new! You can use this technique with ANY size you are making. I know some of you are making 5 inch squares while another is making 2 inch. No problem at all.
Are you ready to go to the next step? I’ll go ahead and post it for those who are speedy and anxious to see it all come together. We are making one of my very favorite quilt blocks – a pinwheel! Keep reading…