The Journey of a Square – Part 1

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I stitched this cozy little cabin as a spare square for any quilt that needed it. With the simple lines and bright colours, I knew it would be great on any child’s quilt. Instead, it ended up being needed for a recently completed First Responder quilt. My edges are whipstitched so that they don’t fray. The fabric on this measures a generous 12″x12″, not including any selvage.

So, what happens to the squares once they are stitched? I wash mine and press them, then send them on to our Project Coordiantor. She gathers all the needed squares, washes them, presses them, and roughly trims them to match. Then, they get sent on to the quilter along with the fabrics Kim has chosen and any other supplies necessary. But what then?

I had Andrea, the quilter walk me through this process on just this one square, and I learned a LOT. There are SO many steps involved and each one is critical. This cabin square was a last minute replacement, so she had to wait for it to arrive. While she was waiting, she prepped all her border and sash pieces. Each stitched square or pieced blocked is trimmed then framed.

The first thing she did was decide where to trim it. Our finished squares are 9″x9″, with 1/4″ seam margins all around. She uses a clear template to allow her to get just the perfect placement. Notice all that lovely extra fabric poking out from under her template. I did my job well as a stitcher – plenty of fabric for the quilter to work with, nicely centered. (I did not sign my square, so she did not know who stitched it!!)

Andrea says, “It’s really important to make sure the selvage is outside the 9.5 inches. Quilts are made with only a quarter inch seam allowance, and if you leave that 1/2 inch selvage on, part of it is going to show!” Yes, we have had this happen! We try to have our blocks be a uniform size so that they look perfect on the finished quilts.

Andrea happens to have access to a construction-type serger that not only captures that cut edge but also sews a seam in one pass. The Aida cloth that the hand cross stitchers use frays a LOT, we whipstitch the outer edge, but not where she has trimmed. These quilts will be used, so we want them to last a lifetime or more.

She will put the black border on all four sides of this block to match the other blocks she has prepped. Here’s the back of the finished block (thankfully, I was neat in stitching this one, and my back actually looks pretty nice!) You can see that all the cut edges have been nicely captured in the serging. It’s really a nice touch, don’t you think?

And, here is the front of our square, all neatly bordered and ready to join the other blocks Andrea has already prepped.

I think this is going to be one fantastic quilt, In our next post, we will look at the steps Andrea took to assemble the top.  (The completed quilt has not been presented yet, so we can’t show you everything.. yet)

So, until the next time, Happy Stitching and Happy Easter (or Passover)!!