A great question came up this week from someone making my honeycomb stars quilt. She didn’t press the little blocks as she made them and wanted to know about pressing the quilt now that it was finished. It brings me to question of when to press and when NOT to press your blocks.
It all has to do with GRAINLINE and stretching out the blocks. When you stamp out your pieces, you ALWAYS align the fingerholds of the wood with the LENGTHWISE grain. (No stretch)
I’ve figured out where the grainline should be for all the quilt blocks we make with my stamps and have had the rubber placed accordingly. If you stamp on the crosswise grainline you can stretch out the pieces as you sew and you will struggle to piece them onto the ajoining piece(s).
Most of the time, your finished block will have either the lengthwise or crosswise grain along the edge. If so, go ahead and press the block face down on your ironing board, being careful not to stretch it. You should press the seams together, do not open. I did, BTW, press each little honeycomb star as I went along, even though one edge of the diamond was on the lengthwise grain and one was not. I was VERY careful not to stretch them. Is it wrong to wait until the quilt is entirely pieced? No, not at all, it just means spending more time at the ironing center when you are finished.
Don’t worry if you have a few “twisted seams” when you press. It is going to happen.
Turn the piece over and give it a good press, using steam.
Now you are on your way to successful pressing!
Next week I’ll be out of town, but when I get home, I’ll post my favorite tips for cutting the borders, mitering the corners and getting your piece to lie FLAT every time!