Wednesday, May 25, 2011

To Trim or Not to Trim??

*** NOTE - If you are looking for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway you can find it here :)

So do you remember when I showed this picture of HST's the other day??  I always like to cut my squares for HST's 1/2" larger than the finish size. (Instead of the exact 3/8 size)  I mostly do this because I just can't seem to sew those diagonals as straight as I would like :)  Because of this I "get" to trim.


I spent the other day (and honestly, it felt like the whole day) trimming up this "little" pile.  here is what I ended up with.  (Side note . . .  Maybe I am weird, but I just love scrappy piles like this, I think they are cute looking :)


While in the middle of trimming I often found myself thinking, "Wow, this is a ton of work to trim off less than 1/8" ish off each side of the square, I wonder if it really makes a difference."  As soon as I was done I looked over at my perfect HST squares and thought, "Oh, they are so pretty and I am glad I did that, even though I can't feel my hand anymore :)".   Now that I am sewing with them I am constantly thinking, "Oh, I am so glad I took the time to trim them, their points are so perfect."

So this week I made the realization that for me (and I only speak for myself here) it is worth my time to trim those teeny tiny edges.  So now I am wondering . . . .  what do you prefer???  

Do you spend hours trimming for perfect HST's?
Do you move right on to sewing and adjust seams as necessary??
Do you cut your blocks 3/8" difference instead and eliminate the need altogether?

  This inquiring mind wants to know ;)
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39 comments:

  1. Definitely worth the time! 100%!

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  2. Totally hate trimming. But if it's really bad, I will. Otherwise, I usually just line up the points where they should be then sew. So seams are a little different on each one. But I should get better at that. I'm sure trimming would make it easier.

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  3. That is a pretty pile of trimming scraps :o)

    So you really want to know... Nope! I don't trim HSTs/hour glass/flying geese or any other units (I cut off dog ears using scissors, but that's it). I find I just don't have the patience to do all that trimming, I just eye ball my "wonkiness" when I line up the units when I'm at the sewing machine.

    How have I come to the conclusion not to trim? One of my oldest UFOs became a UFO because I started trimming the hour glass units (it's all hour glass units!) and I just got bored. The top would probably have turned out a bit wonky, but it wouldn't still be in a bag in the cupboard four years later.

    However I do sliver trim blocks before sewing them into a quilt :-)

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  4. I spent hours and hours trimming over 350 HSTs this weekend and I totally agree with you - it was most definitely worth it! And those piles of trimmings? Just yummy!!!

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  5. Totally with the trimming - whether it's HST's, QST's, 4-patch, etc.... It so makes a difference in the matching up of seams, keeping points, and over-all squareness and lay of the quilt.

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  6. I like piles of trim too. If my pieces are obviously wonky, I will trim. I haven't had a problem matching seams otherwise.

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  7. So....do you have one of those handy-dandy rotating cutting mats? I don't but am contemplating buying one...what do you think?

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  8. It works best for me if I round them up to the next 1/8th and then trim. Then I put them on a pile and stare at them forever because I think they are so cute and perfect. It does make my finsihed project match up so much better.

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  9. I always make mine bigger & trim too. I have a lovely pile of QST's needing my TLC now. I never can seem to get them right if I do the "just the right size thing. I like the little piles of fluff too. Makes me smile for some reason. Also, my MIL who belongs to a guild saves all her fluff & stuff for a lady in her guild who uses it to stuff dog beds for an animal shelter. She told them no scrap was too small, so I've started stuffing all mine into a big ziploc bag and will give to MIL for her friend next visit. It doesn't take much room and it certainly is a colorful bag - LOL

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  10. I hate trimming them but it's so worth it!

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  11. I do it, too, make the HST larger and trim down. It is worth every minute to have the piece be perfectly square.
    Love the little piles of fluff, too. They always make me smile.

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  12. Yep I trim and yep my hand is killing me afterwards, I usually do it over a few days otherwise I just get bored and it isn't really my favourite pastime . I need that extra bit to allow for any errors.

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  13. Great post! I try not to have to trim but I do agree that it helps make everything perfect! :)

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  14. Yes I do think it is worth the time to trim.
    Blogger will not let me comment so have to go anonymous.

    http://maria-lifeontheblock.blogspot.com

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  15. I start bigger and trim down, but I trim before pressing with the Quilt-in-a-Day ruler. And then I don't trim off the dog ears most of the time, which is probably not a good solution.

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  16. Trimming is a pain, but TOTALLY worth the time. I always trim! I don't know how anybody manages to get matching points without trimming.

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  17. Trimming to clean edges & size is essential to Happy Quilting...;). the time invested makes the sewing a breeze. Have only done it w/0 one time and I have learned the lesson, my last 6 HST quilts were divine, the 1st almost did not get finished because of the wrestle uncleaned up seam factor. Just did an Orange You Glad HST quilt for my aunt, check out my blog http://fabricfulfillingitsdestiny.blogspot.com

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  18. I trim squares because it makes matching/sewing blocks together all the easier.

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  19. My quilts would be completely messed up if I didn't trim...though I'll agree with a previous post...it's a PITA!! ;P

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  20. I didn't use to trim, but I did on my most recent quilt and it made such a difference in the piecing that I am now determined that I will always do it. so worth it.

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  21. I never used to trim, unpick or redo. Now I do all, religiously. For HSTs I have to give myself the best chance to get the piecing nice and pointy!

    I love the trimming scraps too ... I save them in a jar :)

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  22. I Think at some point we all learn this lesson..... Everything goes together nicer if we trim. It takes time and always seems worth it in the end. I also wonder if those professionals like say Bonnie Hunter trim or are they just perfect? Love your blog thanks Cindy

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  23. As much as I hat trimming all those little HST's, I find that it's much easier to do that than just sew everything together, and then pick it all apart because it looks wonkier than I can live with.

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  24. I am definitely a trimmer. I get a whole stack ready to go, put a small cutting mat in front of my computer, pull up my Hulu que and trim away while watching my shows. It takes time to make the pieces align properly no matter what method you use - by either trimming them, or pinning and fudging the fabric together to make things fit. I prefer the relaxed trimming sessions over the stressful, pull my hair out, keep my seam ripper handy fabric fudging sessions.

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  25. I'm with you Melissa. I have to cut my HST's larger. Because I just can't seem to cut and sew them nice enough unless I do. I HATE to trim though...and I usually B*&^% and groan while doing it. LOL BUT, I do like the results :)

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  26. Trimming is good, but admittedly it is probably my least favorite part of quilting. I really need to take a precision quilting class as I'm thinking "why 3/8?" vs "1/2"? But I do realize that a 1/8" cut can make a difference.

    Maybe you can write some tutorials for precision quilting. You are my new role model for this.

    SewCalGal
    www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

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  27. Don't like squaring up but I do it. Always pays off in the end.

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  28. I trim! my skills aren't so good that I can get away without trimming....and like you I hate spending the time to do it - until i'm sewing and they're coming together soooo nicely. I also love the pile of trimmins - sometimes I like it so much i'll stuff it in to a baby food jar to admire awhile :) laurie

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  29. You know, those trimmings would be good fire starters,if any of you have girl or boy scouts. One year I saved lint because I was teaching fires and different starting techniques. The fuzzy would be so much for fun for girls to use. I agree, no matter how carefully I cut the pieces, once I start sewing, they are all different sizes so it's nice to start even again every so often.

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  30. I love to quilt, and trimming is part of it.

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  31. I definately trim. Although its usually not very much, but I like to be precise.

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  32. I trim. So much easier than unpicking at a later stage.
    Those trimmings; we live out in the country, so I scatter some of mine outside (at this time of year), the birds pick them up and use them for nesting. (only the very tiniest of threads though) I drop them in my flower bed (where i know the birds are "flocking" to)
    I imagine the birds with their quilted nests!!

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  33. I do the same thing....cut a bit larger, then trim as needed. I totally agree, even if my hand doesn't seem to be there at the end of my arm anymore, it is SO worth it!
    Jacque in SC
    quiltnsrep(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  34. Yup. I cut larger and then trim. I have never been able to actually make a HST from the real measurement.I don't know why. It just doesn't seem to be in my DNA coding. So, I finally decided it was worth it to just make the darn things a wee bit bigger and then trim them all the exact same size!

    Deb from clutteredquilter.blogspot.com

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  35. Thought I was the only one who loves the little scraps left from trimming, especially bunny ears :-) Yes, I trim, but sometimes, I just hold four or five in my hand, lined up, and trim the corners. However, when I take the time to do it right (!) I'm happier when piecing.

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  36. I much prefer to trim them perfect! It's a lot of extra work, but when I haven't trimmed, I have been disappointed with the piecing afterwards :(

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  37. Wow - checked all the responses and they all trim. I must be weird - I cut my triangles from templates from EQ6 which have the bunnyears already trimmed off - and make nice, neat little HST units, that don't need to be trimmed!

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Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from each and every one of you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)

Melissa