Making a quanket
I have finally completed piecing and joining all my blocks. Now it is time to move on to finishing.
- I chose to do a 5/8″ edge binding because I did not want to distract too much from the overall design of the quilt. In the picture here, I have already sewn the edge binding to the top, and am ironing the seam that will be turned to the back. I pin the binding about every six inches, just to temporarily hold my turned seam in place.
- Once I have the binding ironed and pinned, I then use the floor in the guest room to lay out the quilt, and block it – somewhat similar to blocking a sweater. I lay it right side down, and working from the center out, start to square-up the blocks and rows, all the way to the outer edges. I find that working on the carpet provides a bit of tension, and helps to hold the quilt nicely as I make the minor adjustments to bring everything into square.
- For the fleece backing, I begin by cutting 1″ off one of the salvage edges, and then squaring the edge that is to one side or the other, like this: |_
- With the right side of the fleece facing up, I lay the fleece on top of the quilt, aligning the two squared edges to two edges of the quilt, again like this: |_
- I then pin these first two edges, pinning the fleece to the top about every 2-3 inches. *Sharp pins are essential! I pin from the quilt (top) side, as I will ultimately stitch in the ditch to finish the binding. Here is a great tutorial for this technique > stitch in ditch binding <
- Once I have the first two squared fleece edges pinned to the top, I then move to my third side. In the picture shown below, I am in the process of trimming the fleece to meet the edge of the top’s third side. While I could measure my top and cut my fleece beforehand, I find that since fleece has a fair amount of stretch to it, I get better results if I cut the final two sides of the fleece at this stage. I find that having it laid out flat on the floor lets the fabric lay more naturally, and not be accidentally stretched, as it tends to do if I do this on my cutting table – which is not big enough for the piece to be opened to its full size. I then pin the third edge, and then move on to trimming and pinning the fourth edge of the fleece.
- Once all four edges are pinned to the top, I then turn the quilt over, and block it again so that it is laying nice and square on the floor. I will ultimately tie the quilt top to the fleece backing after sewing the binding, so to prepare for this, I pin the top to the back while I have it laid out flat, as shown in the picture below. I like to place ties no more than 12″ apart, and I place the ties to compliment the overall quilt design. For this star surround pattern, I will tie in the center of the light pink stars, and in the center of the hourglass blocks, giving me a total of 13 ties.
Making a quanket
I have now moved the blocks for this quanket from my design wall to the guest bed. Before completing the estimated needed blocks, I like to see how the design is coming together, and where I may want to make adjustments.
- As you can see in the picture, if I do the planned six full blocks down, I end with my center light pink stars not getting the hot pink star surround around them. So instead of doing six full blocks for the length, I will have five full blocks and add a half block at the top and bottom.
- The same will happen with the width. As reference, the top three rows have five blocks across. I will add a single row^ (1/4 of a block) on each side, to continue the pattern to the full width of the fleece backing.
*The blocks are technically built off a standard 16-patch block pattern. I chose to have them finish at 9″. So, adding a row^ will add 2.25″ to each side.
I had calculated this quanket finishing at 4’x5′, but as it started to take shape on my design wall, I could see that I wanted the light pink stars to get the hot pink all the way around them. This adjustment will make the quilt finish more square than rectangle, but that’s okay. Luckily the fleece backing can accommodate the extra width.
Sometimes my quilts do not finish quite as I originally pictured in my head or sketched out. Between using scrap fabrics and sometimes getting lost in the calculations, I like to consider my process as being organic!
Making a quanket
While I usually just post my finished quilts, I thought it might be fun to capture a bit of the process for making a quanket.
- This one began with the choice of the fleece backing, shown in the top of the picture: light and hot pink flowers, complimented with rust colored flowers. Sometimes I will begin a quilt by choosing the fabrics I want to use, sometimes a quilt block pattern I like, but in this case, fleece came first.
- Then off I went to my leftover stash and scraps drawers to see what I had in the pink and orange color values, and chose, so far, what you see in the picture.
- Next came finding a pattern that would work not only with the fabrics I had on hand, but also a design that would work nicely with the design on the fleece. This was a little more challenging than most of my other quilts that use solid color fleece for the backing. I liked Melissa Corry’s Star Surround quilt pattern, as it almost mirrors the flower design on the fleece.
- And now it is block building time. 9 down and 21 to go! If I did my calculations correctly, this will finish at 4’x5′.
I sew in a closet in my office. Yes, a closet. It is just a normal closet, about 2′ deep x 6′ wide. Years ago, when space here at home was at a premium, I converted the closet in my office to house my table sewing machine, supplies, etc., and put bi-fold doors on the closet to make the opening bigger when the doors are open. I have recently added felt to the bi-fold door (shown in the picture), which works exceptionally well for my design wall. Since it is on the closet door that is literally about 2 feet from my left hand, it is easy to sew a block and then stick it on the door!
My husband teases me that since we are now empty nesters, that we have plenty of room for me to ‘spread out’ and not sew in a closet. But, I’ve gotten so used to it over the years, I’m not sure what I would do with all that extra space around me! 🙂