Go away, wonkiness!

Scenario: The idea of piecing squares into larger square units oftentimes seem as a no-brainer.  Just how hard is it to just sew a bunch of squares together, say 16-1 1/2″ squares into a larger square unit?

4x4

Utter Frustration:  That was usually the state of my mind  quite quickly into the piecing process because the pieced square unit looks NOTHING square-ish!  I ended having to try to trim to square up the block, but then find that there’s really nothing to trim because the whole unit was wonky etc… and then, I have to spend hair-pulling moments trying to think of a way to fudge… and the list goes on.

However, I had a totally different experience this last time because….[assuming your piecing is generally pretty accurate at a scant 1/4″]

and all because, I did not immediately press open my 1 1/2″ strips after piecing them, I think that’s what fixed the wonkiness… read on to see what I mean.

1.  This is what my two 1 1/2″ strips looked like fresh off the sewing machine after being pieced together.  Can you say “wonky”?

IMG_1753

2.  I carefully pressed the strips on both sides without pulling on/stretching the strips.  Now you don’t see the waviness anymore.

IMG_1754

3.  In the past, I would go ahead and press open the strips.  I didn’t do it this time.  I went and cut out my pieced strips at 1 1/2″ interval as is (because I wanted my squares to finish at 1″), shown in the following picture.

IMG_1755

4.  Next I finger pressed the pieced square units open.  I feel the heat from the iron would distort the weave somewhat at this point.  Though that distortion might not be much when we are talking about squares that are 4″, it would make a difference where 1″ finished squares are concerned.

IMG_1757

5.  Then, I just pieced as usual.  With a 4 x 4 matrix, I went ahead and made four 2 x2 units, and then sewed the units together.  Below you see a 2 x 2 unit — and you can see that it is quite squared up.  I would go ahead and square the 2 x 2 units at this point, and found that there might just be a thread or so that I have to trim away.

You can also see that my 2×2 unit is centered right where it’s supposed to be, at the 1 1/4″ markings on my ruler.

IMG_1758

6.  Here you see I have sewn four 2 x 2 units together to make my 4 x 4 square unit.  I did go ahead and square up the 4 x 4 units after assembly, and found that there was very little to be trimmed off, and the unit centered right where it should.

This is no joke — the below unit, measuring right at 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ for a finished 4″ patch, is what went into a larger pieced block.

IMG_1752

I made 25 of these units to go into 25 blocks for my newly finished quilt, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.  No wonkiness, only happiness! :)

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***

NOW, I would like you to try it out to see if my little trick works for you to chase away the wonkiness.  I dearly would like to know.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have had a good week so far.  Hugs to you all.

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29 thoughts on “Go away, wonkiness!

  1. This is beautiful, as is all of your work!! I’m making many Baby quilts, hopefully to sell when I figure the asking price, and this block-quilt will be precious with baby colors and patterns.

  2. Now, why didn’t I ever think of cutting the sewn strips before pressing open? I guess that’s why you’re famous quilter & I’m not! Seems like your cutting would have to be more accurate that way. And I’m sure I do all kinds of damage with my out of control pressing. I’ll be trying this real soon. Thanks, Wendy!

  3. and see, I didn’t realize there was any other way, I’ve always pressed after cutting the strips. The problem also comes when your strip piecing say a log cabin block together, if you for instance lay your block down on top of the entire fabric strip, then cut and press, it should be ok, however, if you cut your stips to size and then stitch and press, they will for some reason go wonky. I do not know why that is. Perhaps it is because of the ability to have that extra fabric laying with the strip and then cutting and pressing versus precutting the strip and then stitching it and pressing. Anyway, that’s how it goes for me, it may be different for others.

  4. I really like your way of cutting and pressing. What great ideas. I have been working on a 16 patch quilt for awhile. I inherited all of the squares, so the were already cut for me. Not all cut right. I am going to try some of your ideas to help make some of the wonkiness go away. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Beautiful results! Ingenious in its simplicity, too! And here, I always thought the more pressing the better…haha, shows you how little I know!! Thanks for sharing your wisdom!!

  6. WOW! You are amazing figuring this out –perfect. I am going to print this out so when I do this in the future. I will have this to refresh my memory. Thanks so much for showing us how to do this. Just amazing how you got rid of the wonkiness.

  7. I am in my 12 patch phase using leftovers from my Plus Quilt. Definitely will give this a try. Very clear and well photographed tutorial.

    Thanks!!

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  9. Great idea! I want to try it. After you begin sewing the squares at what point did you press with the iron?

  10. Thank you so much for this! I have been working all this year on becoming a perfectionist piecer, and this was a really interesting post for me. I’ve always set my seams, but this was a new take on cutting. I linked to you, if you don’t mind.

  11. I was working with the 2 1/2″ charms and before I pressed, I finger pressed but didn’t cut until after. Working with more and I will cut and then finger press and iron press. Thanks and as usual, lovely!

  12. I often find that pressing with the iron makes things wonky. I also like that you can press your seems one way or another easier if they are not pressed. Some days those seams just NEED to go a different way for a good match! Thanks for the hint. The little squares look beautiful.

  13. Fantastic. Put your method to the test and it works beautifully. Have passed it on to two friends here in ‘the land down under’. Many thanks for your wonderful newsletters.

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