Thursday, November 14, 2019

Another Quilt As You Go

Yes, it's another quilt. I actually do have a couple of garments teed up to sew, but I went to a quilt class with my friend Jessica the weekend before last so this project jumped the queue. The class covered a new-to-me quilt-as-you-go technique, and this quilt is the result.

The pattern is based on the Tic-Tak Wall Quilt from Cozy Modern Quilts, by Kim Schaefer. Each of the squares is 10 by 10 inches, so the finished quilt is 50 inches by 60 inches, or what I think of as a foot-of-the-bed quilt. Its mission is to sit folded at the foot of the bed so you can pull it up as a second cover on those especially chilly fall nights.

I used mainly Kaffe Fassett shot cottons for the big squares with a contrasting batik for the little inner squares. It's bright and cheerful, and it came together in about a week. I am a big fan of the quilt-as-you-go stye of quilting. It's quick and it feels less industrial than the more traditional quilting I've done. Instead of cutting out hundreds of little, fiddly pieces and then sewing them together with an accurate 1/4 inch seam, you work with one square at a time. You can change things on the fly; it feels a lot more improvisational. Plus, it's way easier to quilt a 10 inch square than it is to pull 6 feet of quilt through your machine.

We took the class at Back Porch Fabrics in Pacific Grove. This is a great fabric store, if you're ever in the area. They're focused on quilting cottons and they have a very nicely curated selection. They generally have an inspiring gallery of quilts hanging on the walls in the back of the store, which is where the classroom space is.

Here's the design wall with some of our first squares hung to view. Folks were working on just a few styles of blocks; it was fascinating to see how the same design could look so different depending on the fabrics and design choices each person made.

So, here's a down-and-dirty tutorial for those who may be interested in this technique.....

You start by cutting your batting to the size you want your finished blocks to be. For me, that was 10 inches square.

Then you whack your fabrics into roughly sized strips and start to sew your fabric pieces down to the the batting. Above is my central batik square quilted down to one of my batting squares.

Next I laid the first piece of the outer square atop the central square and seamed the pieces together to the batting. Then you flip the new piece to the outside and finger press.

You lay the next piece atop the prior two, sew the seam and flip to the outside again. You keep on going until your square is complete and your piece of batting is totally covered, with at least a one inch overlap of fabric on all sides. This is Greek to me, but one of my classmates said it was like doing English paper piecing, but you were piecing the fabric directly onto the batting.

Once the square is assembled, you press it and do any quilting you want to do, then trim the quilted square to size.

Here's the difference with the technique we learned in this class:

We trimmed the finished squares so that there was a 1/2 inch of fabric showing beyond the batting on all sides. When you sew the squares together, you use that 1/2 inch as seam allowance so you're sewing fabric to fabric and (ideally) the edges of the batting are butted up against each other without being caught in the seams. The idea is to avoid the additional bulk of two layers of batting in the seams.

With the method I've used before, your batting is cut to include a 1/4 inch seam allowance, so that your squares are sewn together with the batting sandwiched into the seam along with the fabric.

With either method, once your quilt top is completed you lay it out smoothly on the quilt backing and just stitch-in-the-ditch to tack the backing to the already-quilted top. Et fins!

So what's the verdict? I think I prefer the method that includes the batting in the seams. I used that method for my anvil quilt. I really don't notice the seams feeling bulky and I like the idea that the each batting piece is sewn down securely all around the edges. Just so things don't shift around when the quilt is washed and dried.

I have one more foot-of-the-bed quilt in mind, and then our house will be fully covered. I'm planning a dog themed quilt to amuse my grandson.

Next up, though, is a birthday dress for me.