Friday, December 3, 2010

Q is for Quilting, Part 3**

**Previously published on my personal blog, this series of posts is aimed at explaining to non-quilters just what goes into making a quilt.  Thought I'd move them over here to Type B**

Anatomy of a quilt

How do we get from this:

... a pile of fabric strips, to a quilt that will actually keep your toe-sies warm? Good question.

Which came first, the pattern or the fabric? Well, it might vary with every project. Sometimes I find a pattern I like and I put it aside until I have the fabric that I like. Other times, I have the fabric but have to wait for the right pattern to come along. For this quilt it was the pattern first (Cherri House is a genius!), jelly roll second (Sanae's Oz line for Moda). If you like the modern, asymmetry of this quilt (I love it!), it is a great quilt for a new quilter.

I started out by auditioning fabrics. I used a jelly roll, so all of my 2.5" strips were already cut and coordinated. I did not have a design wall when I started the project, so I just used masking tape and taped each strip to the wall in the order that I found pleasing. For this project, it is a good idea to number the strips.

I decided to make the quilt a little bit bigger, so I added four more strips. It is also helpful to slide your eyes out of focus while looking at your blocks/strips to see if anything stands out - for instance, are all your dark strips on one side? Do you have two strips that are too similar next to each other? Too much green on one area, too much red in another? A camera is a great resource here, too.

Once they were in an arrangement I liked, I started cutting, making sure to keep them in the proper order. Then I prepared the solid ivory fabric according to the pattern directions.

Then I sewed all of the strips together. One tip when sewing long seams like this - remember to alternate the direction that you are sewing. So, if you sewed two strips together, top to bottom, when adding the next strip or strip set, sew bottom to top. This will help to ensure that your quilt top will not be distorted as you sew.

And here's the finished top! You might notice that I forgot one 1.5" strip of ivory at the bottom but I've fixed that now.

Here's a shot of the backing:

Usually, you want the backing to be 2"-4" larger than your quilt top (4" for sure if you are sending it out to be quilted).

I really like this one. It's not very big, maybe 50x60? But it is just the right size for sitting on the couch with a book or watching a game. I'm having a tough time finding my 1/4" seam on my new machine, so that's why it turned out a bit smaller than it should have... but I'm a Type B crafter and I don't worry too much about those things. I leave perfection to other people.

Here's another one I'm working on, also from Moda Bake Shop. I also altered this one a little because I didn't have enough fabric for sashing (the solid strips in between) and I am trying, desperately trying (and miserably failing), to use fabric that I have, rather than buying more.

This is an easy pattern except for folding the stars. But once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy (there is a link in the comments to a video on how to do it that I found helpful). The only putzy part is tacking down the star points and centers, which has to be done by hand. Without the stars, you could just use 6.5" squares. Then it would be super fast and easy.

You'll notice that I was able to forgo the masking tape because I did get a design wall of sorts. You can buy one online or at JoAnn's for $25 or so. But I found an 6'x8' plastic tablecloth on clearance at Target for $3.50. The backing is just the right fabric for a design wall - the fabric sticks to it but is easily released. I also bought three small 3M hangers, cut some holes in the tablecloth and voila - design wall on a budget!

Next up - finishing up. The dreaded B word (no, not that b-word): Binding. Cue the dramatic music... dun, dun, duuuuuun.

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