Last week we learned how to connect quilted pieces together using binding strips, which is my favorite Quilt As You Go method.
But as I said many times in that post, that was certainly on the ONLY way you can do this.
I've actually experimented with Quilt As You Go methods quite a bit from the very beginning of my quilting adventures. For a long time I was intimidated by the idea of quilting an entire quilt because I didn't understand basting and how to get all the layers together without pleats forming.
So for my very first quilt, I pieced 9 patch blocks, then quilt each in the ditch, then connected them together.
This also allowed me to make my first double sided quilt. The front is blue 9 patches, the back is a black and white checkerboard. I guess I was aiming for "overachiever" status with this first quilt...
Unfortunately I hadn't researched a good method for putting the quilted pieces together and got stuck at that point. The blocks were fully quilted to the edges and I knew absolutely NOTHING about binding so I carefully picked out the stitches on the edges, seamed together the blocks from the front, then zigzag stitched the back down. It ended up with a less than perfect finish:
Will this quilt hold together forever? Definitely not. I wouldn't suggest this as a good method for connecting a quilt that is going to be washed often and drug around. An art quilt / wall hanging might be able to get away with a solid satin stitch.
Now for the second Quilt As You Go technique I've played with, I bothered to do a bit more reading and had successfully bound at least one quilt, so I thought I had this whole quilting thing figured out like the back of my hand. LOL!
This giant pink quilt was also my first foray into free motion quilting. 6 panels were quilted separately, then pieced together so from the front, you really can't tell this is quilt was created in pieces.
All I did to connect these panels was to stack them right sides together and run a 1/4" seam down the full seam, leaving all the bulk of both seam allowances to the back.
I then bound the bulk with regular binding strips.
The strips that run horizontal I stitched down to the back of the quilt so they're really not very noticeable. The vertical middle seam, however, was so big and bulky I didn't bother securing it down and as you can see from the photo above, it's quite noticeable and lumpy.
It's certainly not the prettiest finish, and you can definitely feel this when you cuddle up with this quilt.
It took a few more years and a bit more understanding of quilting and binding before I finally found the method I taught last Wednesday by playing with binding strips and simple addition to get the right widths.
I put together this little sampler quilt for the Beginner Free Motion Quilting Fillers DVD. My goal is to create several quilt patterns that are all designed to use this technique to put 24 to 30 inch pieces together. It's on my to-do list at least!
And before you run off thinking this is a "beginner" or "cheater" way of creating a quilt, it's definitely not!
A quilt made in pieces can be just as finely quilted as a quilt made the traditional way in one big piece. I proved that last year when Winter Wonderland won Best Machine Quilting at AQS Knoxville. Did you know this quilt was quilted in pieces?
Each block was quilted separately, then the blocks were connected using 1 inch binding strips on the BACK of the blocks.
To cover the front, I cut wide BIAS binding strips, folded them in half, stitched a seam down the side, then pressed them so the seam allowance was on the flat, bottom side.
Then using a lot of starch, a hot iron, and a heavy hand, I forced those strips into a wavy shape, then secured them on top over the raw edges between the snowflake quilt blocks.
It's basically the same Quilt As You Go technique, just stitched up a notch!
You can learn more about this specific way to connect the blocks together in the Winter Wonderland Quilt Pattern.
Of course, now that I stop to think about it, technically I've also used a Quilt As You Go method to create my Sun and Feathers quilted jacket:
This jacket is fully reversible with red fabric on one side and blue on the other. This was created using a regular Simplicity pattern #5345.
To create this jacket, I copied each piece - back, front, arm - onto a piece of graph paper. On this graph paper I marked not only the outer CUT line for the fabric, but also 5/8" for the STITCH line, and a line 1/2 inside this for the QUILT line. Each of these lines needs to be transferred the top, right side of each piece of the jacket.
I layered and quilted each piece, making sure to stay within the QUILT line at all times.
When all the pieces were quilted, I trimmed each to the CUT line, then pieced them together, making sure all the stitching was falling on the STITCH lines. When putting the pieces together, I only connected the top red fabric and the flannel middle layer.
Once the jacket was together in 1 piece, I trimmed the seam allowances of the flannel and pressed the red fabric open. Here you can see the blue fabric pinned out of the way so it wasn't caught in any of these seams and the red fabric pressed open:
Then it was a simple process of folding the blue fabric over, smoothing it over the red seam allowances. Then the opposite blue side was folded UNDER and hand stitched to secure along the seam line:
The result is a jacked that is 100% reversible, even over the tricky arm areas!
So that's pretty much all the quilts I've created using this technique. If you have a Quilt As You Go quilt you've created and written about on your blog or website, link up that post below so we can all check it out!
Time to shut up and go quilt!