What I am about to say sounds really, really ridiculous.
I never squared up my blocks in quilts. That is, not until fairly recently.
Yes, I have been told countless times that I needed to square up. And yes, I never did, partially out of laziness (it takes forever when you have 100 HSTs!), and partially out of flippance - I could just fudge it to fit, right? I typically did just that, and then sat there and (stupidly) wondered why some blocks plain didn't fit right.
It wasn't until I was *gasp* following the instructions on a pattern where I knew I would have to take care in the piecing or it plain wouldn't work. I broke down, and squared up.
Ho-ly crap. Having a visual really made it hit home how much of a difference squaring up makes (I took a picture with the intent to post it, but somewhere along the lines I apparently deleted it). But to give you an idea, I trimmed about an eighth of an inch off each side of the block, times many blocks. It struck me that the importance of squaring up isn't only about making each block fit together neatly, but it just image how all those little eighths add up over the course of the entire quilt. They add up, and fast! No wonder my quilts always seemed to come out to a different measurement than the one quoted in the pattern.
This seems like a pretty "Captain Obvious" thing to point out, and for seasoned quilters, it is a "no duh" thing...but not for all quilters.
So lesson learned....while squaring up is a pain in the butt, time consuming and I will still want some cheese with my whine, I definitely take more care to square up my blocks, even if ti isn't especially called for. It's all about accuracy to make a truly quality quilt, and while I still have some wobbles and fudges, by starting to more consistenly square up, I have noticed a my quilts are coming out more flat, more square and more on target with the given measurements.
I'm not telling you how to love your quilty life, but if you aren't squaring up your blocks, you might want to give it a try, even if it's just once and you never do it again. That's fine! But I think you'll find you're just as pleasantly surprised as I was.