Thursday, July 12, 2012


I have once again been an irresponsible blogger. I am working on a quilt that is a gift, and am therefore unable to post any photos or too much information about it without risking the giftee seeing it. That means I haven't been able to blog about what's been taking up my time over the past few weeks.

So, I've decided to try a new tactic and talk about what I have to accomplish in the broadest possible terms, so that I can post my progress and hopefully feel some accountability to those of you who may be following.

The quilt I'm making is quilt-as-you-go, because I like seeing the quick progress on QAYG projects, and I have a history of actually finishing them, as opposed to the finished quilt tops languishing in my sewing room waiting to be paired with back and batting.

It's going to be a fairly large quilt, so I have to make a total 90 blocks--ten rows of nine blocks across. Each block is constructed of a random number of fabric strips sewed directly onto the back and batting. It's basically foundation piecing, not unlike what's described here, except that instead of just the square of fabric, you also have the square of batting. On this quilt, I've been starting from the middle (the longest strip from corner to corner), but it works starting from the corners as well. When I start from the corners, I sometimes forget to take into account that the next piece will need to be long enough not just to attach to the previous piece, but also long enough to span the width of the foundation.  Starting with the long strip in the middle, everything is shorter and I find I don't have as many errors in length.

I'm using strips varying in width from 1-1/4" to 2" to give the block some variety, and I'm using a number of different fabrics, all in the same color family.  When I'm done, a block looks something like this:
Of course, it also has colors and pattern from the fabrics, which I can't show here (sigh).

After the block is finished, I make a cut and flip part of the block so that the back of that part is now on the front, and the front of that part is now on the back. I can't show the cut I'm really making, of course, so let's pretend it's from corner to corner.
To reattach the two parts of the block, I cut sashing for both the front and back, and use my machine to attach it to both front and back of one of the block parts. Then, I sew the two parts of the block back together using a zigzag stitch. On previous quilts, I've hand stitched the other half of the sashing, but because this quilt will have so many blocks and so much sashing, a friend recommended that I use a decorative stitch on my fancy new Bernina to attach the other half of the sashing. After a bit of trauma with the bobbin thread breaking on me mid-sashing, I found a thread tension that works for the decorative stitch I like and it's saved me a lot of time. With the sashing, it looks something like this.

The block is now complete and ready to be attached to other blocks to make rows.  I use the same technique to assemble the blocks into rows. I cut sashing and assemble it to both sides of one block, then attach the two blocks using a zigzag. I'll use this technique to sew the rows to each other as well. I've decided to hand stitch the sashing between the blocks and the rows, so that's my hand stitching project for the summer! (Isn't it great to have a quilt draped across your lap in the hot, hot weather of July and August?)

So, I'm hoping that I haven't given too much away, should the giftee happen across this post, and I also hope that what I've shared isn't so vague that it's incomprehensible to someone who isn't familiar with this technique. In any case, here's the list of everything I need to complete on this quilt and my progress so far:

Back squares cut (of 90) - 96 (I'll find a use for the extras)
Batting squares cut (of 90) - 62
Blocks pieced (of 90) - 33
Blocks assembled (of 90) - 31
Blocks finished with sashing (of 90) - 29
Rows of blocks assembled (of 10) - 1
Rows of blocks finished (of 10) - 0
Rows attached together (of 10) - 0
Rows attached & finished (of 10) - 0
Binding attached - 0
Binding finished - 0

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