Bit by bit

I had a bit of a brainwave – at least, I think that’s what it was – with the scraps quilt blocks. I’ve now finished piecing all ninety-nine 8″ blocks, which I aim to stitch together in a 9 x 11 formation, which will make a quilt top something like 72″ x 88″, which is roughly single-bed-sized-ish. Ever since I pieced the first block in early January I’ve been fretting about how I’m going to quilt it. And then I found some scraps of quilt batting in a drawer, already conveniently (and coincidentally) cut into 8″ squares.

So now I’m thinking of it as a quilt-as-you-go adventure. Much easier to quilt each square before joining together – no grappling on the floor with huge swathes of backing and batting, no marathon three-day basting session, no need for a massive piece of quilt backing fabric. I could make the back of each block a different colour too, making the quilt almost reversible. I don’t know yet how I’m going to deal with the seams on the back but am leaning towards narrow strips that will act as sashing to separate the different coloured backings. If you don’t know quilt-as-you-go, none of this will make any sense. Google it!

I tried it on one block, keeping the quilting design really simple:

And the back of this block:


My quilting isn’t perfect, and that’s OK.

Because the blocks were pieced over paper, the finished block is slightly bigger than 8″ (because each seam adds a fraction of an inch to the total width with this method) I can see that I need to cut the backing squares slightly larger than 8.5″. I think it will work.

I hope it works…

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14 Responses to Bit by bit

  1. Karen Ruane says:

    it will work and it looks glorious….

  2. Jan Marriott says:

    could you make the squares like a biscuit block , then whip stitch them together….its going to look great.

    • Karen Turner says:

      I think that’s how it will happen, Jan. The blocks (tops) will have to be oversewn anyway because they were paper-pieced, so it makes no difference really having batting already in place. It will be much easier.

  3. bluecloth says:

    karen, this is exactly how i learned to quilt back in the early 1980s. my book was called lap quilting be georgia bonsteil (? On spelling her last name). Anyway, it is a great technique and very portable as well. your quilt to be is looking great!

    • Karen Turner says:

      Looks like I’m doing it all backwards, starting off on a full size quilt and then going on to QAYG šŸ™‚
      Thanks for the book recommendation.

  4. I really look forward to seeing this put together, I’ve never quite understood how to bring all those quilted blocks into one whole and I have my very first – in fact my only piece if quilting so far, which I did as a “let’s see” and now wonder how to integrate it into something bigger. So inspiring to be able to learn from other’s expertise and artistry

  5. It sounds like a great way of tackling the project, and I’m sure it will work!

  6. I really like the idea of it all being in manageable bits. I think that’s one of the things that puts me right off a full size quilt – the thought of having such a huge area to cover – but this makes it far more accessible. šŸ˜®

    • Karen Turner says:

      I have made a full size quilt before, and found it very unwieldy managing the size and bulk of all the layers. I think this will be much easier, though more fiddly perhaps to assemble. But then I’d rather have fiddly than unwieldy. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.

  7. Janice says:

    99 blocks since January! That’s going some! This sounds like an excellent project for quilt as you go. I’ve never tried it but like the idea in principle. Although you wouldn’t be able to have ‘continuity’ between the various squares unless you do some additional quilting over the whole thing at the end. Or unless you are a mathematical wizard who can work out the exact point of leaving one square so it will match up with another!

    • Karen Turner says:

      Definitely not a mathematical wizard! The quilting won’t line up as a whole because I’m quilting around each square separately, which I think will be OK. If it turns out to look terrible then I’ll have to have a rethink!

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