Tuesday, July 30, 2013

All about trimming

Today I had a quilter's aha moment regarding trimming that has really got me thinking.

First let me share the completion of my HSTs in the Star Surround Quilt Along.

You can see the pile of trimmings on the cutting board and that is only from about 1/2 of the squares. That is what started my thinking. You see I have been quilting for many years and have tried to embrace and keep up with new ideas as they come along but I have never been a fan of trimming blocks. When I learned to quilt, dimensions were given for cutting and if you sewed with an accurate seam allowance then your block came out to the correct size. I usually made a test block and if things weren't fitting together it was usually do to inaccurate cutting or a poor seam allowance. And trimming a block just meant cutting off those little triangles at the corners or perhaps an occasional squaring up of a block.

A few months ago I was given a pattern by a new modern designer,of a quilt I loved, and began piecing it together. But nothing seemed to fit and no matter what I did to adjust my seam allowance things just weren't coming together properly. Today I discovered why. Somehow, in the last few years, a new expectation emerged that I missed. In some patterns the dimensions given are such that you MUST trim in order to get the necessary results. Now this is not a bad thing at all, clearly it results in more accurate results and that is great and I really thank the hosts of the 2 QAL's I am participating in for providing such clear instructions so that I was forced to trim and understand why.
Here is a block before trimming. It is intentionally large.

And after. Now it is the correct size and is very precise.

Now I will know to really look closely at a pattern when it says to trim blocks as it can make all the difference in the results. I bet I could even put that pattern together that I was having trouble with a few months ago!


Melissa Corry said...

Your blocks look fantastic. I totally agree with you on the whole trimming thing. Isn't it interesting how it is just the "norm" now. A while back I tried doing a tutorial with the 7/8" HST's and no trimming and I got all of this feedback of why do we have to cut 7/8", I like trimming, ect. It is really interesting to see how trends change :) But I do love having those perfect little HST's after I am done, well about 3 hours after I am done and my hand stops hurting :)

audrey said...

I understand why they have you make them over large, but I do get tired of the trimming, very tedious.:)

quiltswithpersonality said...

Good point ........I have had a few issues also with this. Thanks for sharing.

Rachaeldaisy said...

That is such an interesting point that trimming has become the regular way of making HSTs. Trimming drives me bonkers but my HST are never accurate so I've been avoiding them in my quilts. I recently bought a BlocLoc ruler that makes trimming easier. I haven't really had a chance to play with it yet but I'm hoping it will make me want to make HSTs seeing as they are the basis for so many blocks.