Do you block your quilts when they’re complete? I do, most of the time. Blocking helps the quilt lay flat and hang straight, and can help counteract slight ruffling or waviness in the borders. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Am old, clean sheet or piece of fabric bigger than the quilt (helpful to keep lint or pet hair off the quilt, and a bit of the moisture off the carpet)
- One wet quilt (I wash most of my quilts in the washer, either with a clear water pre-wash and then soap, or just clear water; you can also start with a dry quilt, and sprinkle or spray water on it to thoroughly wet while it’s on the floor)
- A tape measure
- A Stanley S2 Laser Level Square (more on this tool here), or a 15″-24″ square acrylic ruler
- An oscillating fan
- One cat (optional)
Spread out the sheet on the floor, ideally in a room or area that you can close off for 24 hours to keep curious pets or kids away from the quilt while it dries flat. Carefully spread out the quilt on the sheet, patting it into shape, but not stretching it. Smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles, and try to make the borders look square and even.
Once the quilt is looking as flat as possible, measure across the top, middle and bottom of the quilt. If these measurements are not the same on the top middle and bottom, pat, smoosh, and mash the quilt lightly until they are. Yes, these are very technical methods here, smooshing and mashing.
Keep working with it until the the measurements are even, and then measure the left, right and center of the quilt top to bottom and repeat the smooshing and mashing process until these three measurements are equal as well.
Once the measurements in each direction are equal, use the Laser Level Square (or the large square ruler) to square up the quilt. The Laser Level Square shines a red laser line all the way down each side of the quilt from the corner to help you straighten the quilt. Using a large square ruler isn’t as easy, but you can at least square up each corner, and eyeball the sides between them to make them straighter. More smooshing and mashing may be required to make the quilt look like a square or rectangle rather than a parallelogram. Examine each corner and side and smoosh and mash until everything is straight and each corner is a 90 degree angle.
Use the measuring tape to check the measurements one more time, in case anything changed while you were squaring it up. Leave the quilt to dry on the floor for 24 hours, or until completely dry. Picking the quilt up while it’s still damp undoes all your hard work! Use an oscillating fan to help speed the drying process.
I block my quilts before I sew on a hanging sleeve or a label. If a quilt is ever washed after it’s been hanging a while, it should be blocked again while drying. I do block most of my quilts that are meant to hang, even king size show quilts, but I don’t block lap or bed quilts if they won’t ever be hung on a wall.
That’s my blocking method; if you have anything to add or a link to your method, share it!