Tuesday, 27 January 2009

And now some quilting

It just hit me that I haven't mentioned quilting here for quite a while. (Mostly because not much has been happening in that department lately!) But today I pinned one quarter section of the quilt for my son and daughter-in-law. I mentioned this project back here . This has been a project long in the making. I began planning it when Ben & Lee were engaged, but it was set aside because I was making another quilt for a friend's birthday, which was committed to before the engagement happened. I had decided to quilt that project in sections (Quilt As You Go), because I find handling really big bed quilts difficult these days, so it was a trial run for this quilt. (Why does everyone have such big beds nowadays? The mattress on our new bed is four inches thicker than the old one, because it has a layer of memory foam on it. I had to rethink the quilt I'm making for it.)

I made my friend's quilt in sections, and quilted them to about 2in away from the edges of the sections. Then I sewed the top layers together, trimmed the batting level with the seam so it butted together and then hand stitched one layer of the backing over the other. The problem was, I really hated that method. It was so hard to get everything lined up neatly on the back, because those sections weren't quilted and I still had to quilt over the areas where the sections joined. So each time I joined sections together, I had to quilt this little area, so it matched up with the existing quilting. Lots of stop starts. Who invented this dumb method?

All this put me off finishing this quilt for Ben and Lee. How was I going to quilt it? I love hand quilting with a passion, but not if it involves quilting through all those seams you get in a Log Cabin quilt. I am a happy machine quilter, especially with free motion quilting, but this is a very big quilt. Then last year, I discovered another method of quilting in sections. I'm sorry I can't credit it, because I don't remember now where I read about it. I suspect it isn't just one person's method anyway. But it's so much simpler than what I did before. You quilt each section right up to the seam line. Then you sew the sections together, right sides together, adding a sashing strip on the back. So you have section 1 face down, section 2 face up, then a narrow folded strip with the raw edges lined up with the other raw edges. After you have sewn them all together, you trim the batting on both sections back as close to the stitching as possible. (This is why you only quilt up to the seam line.) Then you lay the sections face down, and fold the folded strip over the raw edges on the back and slip stitch it down. This should be a lot easier than folding backing over itself, because everything is quilted and can't shift around. And I won't have to go back and quilt anywhere. I'm so hoping this is going work out! (Every large quilt I make from now on is going to be hand quilted. Period.)


KaiteM. said...

i'd have to see it being done, i got lost at the sashing strip. Lucky you've got a nice long dining room table. K.

Jenny said...

Nola, I did my son's quilt like this last year. The quilt is large, about the size of the top of a Q size bed, so I quilted it in 3 sections, then joined them together. All the books say to quilt to the seamline, but I found this very difficult to join the pannels back together. In the end I only quilted up to within 3" of the join, joined the pannels, then finished the quilting over the joins. Good luck on this one.

Nola said...

That's the method I used last time, Jenny, but I found, with two sections both not quilted for 2in, that I had four inches of unquilted area that wanted to move around on the back, once I had joined the fronts together. It was hard to make sure it was perfectly flat, before I sewed the backing together and finished the quilting. It tended to want to bubble on the back(too much background fabric) or on the front (taken too much backing in). It was a big quilt so the seams joining the sections were long. This way whould mean I don't have that problem.