Saturday, May 15, 2010

quilt as you go--I begin the piecing

OK--I've bought as much fabric as I can justify. You know that feeling. And now I really must get to begin making desert hills. It's always a bit scary to start. I have to get the feeling and colors right since even the first block will determine the next block until--finally--the quilt is done.

I have cut lots of fabric and now I must begin sewing. The process I use is very simple--I call it "quilt-as-you-go"--indeed  I wrote about it for Threads magazine way back in 1999. It's based on a method used to make the old crazy quilts of the Victorian era--then Michael James worked on this technique for one of his early books. I tried his method--joining the blocks was too hard for me so I added a few twists. Others have also worked on this method--you may already know it. If not, let me show you.

I begin with a block for the back and a piece of batting--I like the traditional cotton batting for most projects.

Then I take two of the wedges of fabric and put them with their right sides together. I stitch the seam with the stitches going through onto the back.

And press the seam open. I do leave my iron on while I'm doing the piecing. I have it set up right by my machine. Don't you love the automatic shut-off irons?

Now I just continue doing this until I have made the block.

This is what the back should look like. I do suggest keeping your machine clean--you can't hide these backs.

Then I just cut it to the size I want and pin it up on my design board.

Doesn't it look lost up there? The trick will be to piece all the other blocks so that the quilt achieves the overall effect. I don't want the blocks to match too much--I like the discovery of new fabrics. But I don't want any fabric to stand out. This is the hard part.

So have you made a quilt using this method. Any luck. Will the quilt in the end work?

1 comment:

  1. So when you join the blocks how do you handle the seams?