Entropy Scrap Along: Week 4 & 5 (Sept. 12-25)
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Trimming blocks, specifically half square triangles (HSTs) is a basic quilting skill, that will level up your piecing game. By trimming the HSTs to a uniform size, in our case 4.5", we reduce the likely hood of having blocks that are slightly too big or small, causing inaccurate piecing. We will discuss a few methods for trimming HSTs below. Let's talk tips first though.
Let's talk posture first. Why? Well poor posture can cause you to hate trimming. I recommend standing with your rotating cutting mat placed on a sturdy surface at your hips height. This will help reduce strain from the constant cutting motion with your rotary and help your back survive long spouts of trimming. I trim on our kitchen island.
Use a fresh rotary blade. Dull blades can cause inaccurate trimming and forearm strain that can lead to damage such as carpel tunnel! Yikes!
Stand comfortably with your knees unlocked.
Take frequent breaks to once again reduce wrist strain and fatigue. I often leave my blocks on the kitchen island and put my rotary cutter in an area unreachable by my preschooler and come back to it when I have breaks in the day. You'd be surprised how quickly trimming goes when you do it in batches like this.
Since the supplies vary each method, we will have a supply list included per method.
Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmers
These are the supplies I use/prefer.
Clearly Slotted Perfect Ruler
Self Healing Cutting Mat
Line up the trim size with your sewn seam. Trim each side. Trim in the dog ears slot to remove the dog ears. Press to preference. Set aside for block construction.
6.5"x6.5" Square Quilting Ruler
Rotary Cutter with a fresh blade
I prefer to use a 28 mm rotary cutter for trimming small blocks like this. I feel like it provides more accuracy and comfort when trimming.
Press your half square triangles (HSTs) to preference. Use an appropriate sized ruler. I recommend using a 6.5" x 6.5" square ruler for our 4.5" HSTs. Center your ruler diagonal on the HST diagonal, so you have excess HST on the outside of your trim size. For example, I have excess HST on the outside of the 4.5” markings on all sides. Trim the side and top. Rotate your HST 180 degrees. Now you will line up your trimmed HST on your 4.5” mark, so the untrimmed excess is on the outside of the ruler to trim. Trim both the side and top. Set aside for block construction.
Rotating Cutting Mat + Trim Sized Ruler
Rotating Cutting Mat
I prefer the larger 14" mat because I work with large HSTs too. If you only work with small HSTs (8" or less) there is a smaller mat linked second that is perfect for the 4.5" HSTs we are trimming.
14" Rotating Mat
8" Rotating Mat
Rotary Cutter with a fresh blade
I prefer to use a 28 mm rotary cutter for trimming small blocks like this. I feel like it provides more accuracy and comfort when trimming. Press your half square triangles (HSTs) to preference. Use a ruler that is the exact size you need to trim to. For example I am using a 4.5” ruler to trim to 4.5”. Center your ruler diagonal on the HST diagonal, so you have excess HST on the outside of all sides of your ruler. Trim the side and top. Rotate your mat 180 degrees. Trim both the side and top again.