Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quilt-a-Long, Part 3

Well, I was an optimist wasn't I? Thinking it would only take me a week to put a whole quilt top together, even if it's only a lap quilt. What in the world was I thinking? Did you do better than that? I'm sorry I let you down if you did and you should have left me a "get a move on" comment! Actually, I have been moving on. With the quilt and lots of other things.  But first where are we on the quilt? Put the blocks together! This is getting to the part I really like. Piecing is fun, but the quilting is where my heart is. For me, that's where it all comes together. Hey, it's what makes a quilt a Quilt!

You'll need a space large enough to spread your quilt out on. A lot of times this means the floor, though it can be a bed, a table, or even the wall with some flannel or something to hold your blocks up on the wall. Lay the blocks out in a pattern that pleases YOU! That's right, it's all about you. Put them out in even rows alternating the wavy block. You can see part of my quilt, the blocks already sewn together below.  I just looked at the colors of the fabrics and moved them around until I like how they looked.

After you're happy with the arrangement sew the rows together using the usual 1/4 inch seam allowance. Your quilt top is done! Now it's ready to make into a quilt sandwich - do you understand why quilter's are a hungry bunch?

Make sure that your quilt top is square, measuring through the middle and the ends both ways. You'll probably need to trim a little, don't worry that's ok. Cut backing fabric same size as the quilt top. Sometimes I cut mine a little bit larger and trim it back later. It's okay to piece fabrics together to get enough for the back. I didn't take a picture of it yet, but mine has two different fabrics for the back - a lavendar print and a solid since I didn't have enough of either, but I loved them (and this little lap quilt will be going to a cute little 9 year old). Cut batting an inch or two wider and longer than the quilt top. I use a cotton batting that is thin. If you like a thick batting, you may need to adjust sizes. As you quilt, batting gets scrunched up.

SUPPLIES: Firm surface - large table or floor
                    blue painter's tape
                    safety pins or needle and thread  (For whatever reason machine quilter's tend to use pins and hand quilter's tend to baste)

 Making a quilt sandwich is tedious, but it is extremely important. When done right it will make quilting so much easier. I usually wind up crawling around on the floor and looking like some kind of sick crab in heat. My cat thinks this is great. He comes in and and helps hold down every quilt sandwich, making sure it will never blow away. I'm sure there is some terribly funny SNLive skit hiding there somewhere! Anyway, first lay your backing fabric right side DOWN on a firm surface and smooth it out. Tape it down on the corners and at least once on each side. You do not want it to move around. Carefully lay batting down on top of backing fabric and smooth out. Next lay down quilt top right side UP. Make sure edges line up! Now for the crawling around part - starting near the CENTER of your quilt pin all through all the layers. Check the batting package to see how close you'll need to quilt to determine how far apart the pins can go. Generally I put them about 5 - 6 inches apart. OR I thread a needle with contrasting thread and baste straight lines radiating out from the center of the quilt. When basting lines I do the cross hatch lines first and then radiate the lines out to the corners. REMEMBER: You need to remove pins as you get to them if you are machine quilting!

Now you're ready to quilt as desired! The way these blocks were constructed makes it super easy to follow the facing and quilt a wavy line down each block. You can do that by machine or by hand or both! Your choice. I tried it both ways. I settled on machine. Since I usually hand quilt this was a good project for me. You can mark the lines if you like, but remember no one will SEE the marks. So if you miss them it's ok. Keep going. Varying the width of the lines is good. It adds interest.

Hopefully next time we'll finish up this puppy. That should be putting on the binding! In the meantime I'll try not to get too distracted by things that SA(y) Quilts!

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