Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Work in Progress: Quilt as you go

This is my Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014 quilt.

It's now in two pieces, so the end is in sight. Last time I quilted a full size bed quilt on my domestic machine I had the devil of a job steering the fabric under the needle. The result was curves, meanders and circles with hooks and spikes! Every now and again the quilt would slip over the edge of the table and pull the whole thing sideways, or bump into the wall behind the machine and push everything back towards me.

Since then I've quilted a few smaller pieces and the result was much better. The weight was more manageable.

Result: quilt the RSC14 quilt in four quarters and join them afterwards. Quilt As You Go. Brilliant!

I have a magazine article on the subject where you are advised not to quilt right up to the edge of the pieces to be joined, peel the wadding and the backing aside and join the two edges of the top with the standard quarter inch seam. That done, cut off the excess wadding so that the wadding butts together, hand slip-stitch that together, and then slip-stitch the pieces of backing together. Hmm! That's what I planned to do, but towards the end of the quilting I was having serious doubts.

The idea of CUTTING into an almost finished quilt filled me with horror! What if...? Don't go there! I remembered that in a quilting workshop a few years ago, I had made a sample of a QAYG join. Fished out the sample and the instructions and hey presto!

So this is what I have been doing since the middle of last week:

1.  With 0.25" seam allowance sew a seam through both quilt sandwiches, right sides together, ie through four layers of fabric and two layers of wadding. Iron the seam open.

First attach the walking foot and put the needle as far to the right as possible.

At this stage I discovered it's difficult to hold four layers of cotton and two layers of cotton wadding in position, even when clipped together, with this as the result:
Only one thing for it:

(this happened in several places)

2.   Hand stitch the seam allowance to the backing: be careful not to stitch through into the top. 

This is where I discovered that a quarter inch seam is not enough when you have to fold two layers of fabric and a layer of wadding back over itself. There is not much seam allowance left to stitch down. It doesn't matter too much because this is only tacking to hold the layers in place.

3.   Cut a strip of fabric 1.5" wide, fold it lengthwise edge-to-centre and press.

4.   Slip stitch to the backing on each side of the seam. I think perhaps the flaps on the strip are meant to fold under the seam allowance, but that's too fiddly for my arthritic fingers.

5.   Repeat stages 1 to 4 until everything is joined. 

Conclusion: The hand stitching went perfectly, if slowly. The problem was keeping a consistent 1/4" (or 3/8") seam on the machine. On the whole quilting in parts of 42" square and joining afterwards is a more comfortable option than joining first and quilting in one go.

Since starting this I've read a tutorial on a much quicker method at Little Island Quilting, but I was too far into this method to make a switch.

I'm linking this up to
Wednesday link up Sew Fresh Quilts Needle and Thread Thursday

So pop over there and see what else has been going on this week.

Happy sewing



Christine Barnsley said...

Hello Marly! The finished quilt is going to look fabulous! It will be well worth all that work!! Thank you for the link....very useful! Happy Easter! :) x

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Quite an effort but you have made it through. I've tried QAYG but do like the look of Maureen's technique here
However it may not work as well for a quilt like yours. Where there's a will you can usually find a way.

Valerie Reynolds said...

Very informative and helpful Marly. I've never tried quilt as you go....yours will be a great finish for sure!!

Sally Hurley said...

I've done QAYG on a really small quilt and I remember that the 1/4" seams were really tough. I can't wait to see your final quilt - it's looking terrific so far!

Lorna McMahon said...

I have never tried quilt as you go, Marly... But yours looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing your experiences for us to know some of the options and do's and don'ts!

Vera said...

That is looking lovely! Rainbow projects are the best! :)

Chantal said...

Uhh! A little too much for me. I'll pass thank you. I'll keep quilting my quilts after it is all pieced lol. I have to say you're doing a great job and your quilt is wonderful!

Lisa J. said...

The quilt is going to be gorgeous. I've never done quilt as you go either but I have experienced the problems you mentioned with quilting a large quilt on a domestic machine. Good luck with your finish.

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

Wow are you working hard on this one. I know the 1/4" is tough when you have all those layers. Good luck. It is already beautiful and will be more so when all together.

Dasha said...

Its looking good Marly. I don't like the finish on the quilt as you go quilts, and although I have seen several methods, I'm still not keen. I just send the big ones to the long arm quilter. LOL

Ruth said...

This is looking great and worth the effort!

Vireya said...

Your rainbow blocks make a beautiful quilt. QAYG is a great technique. Smaller pieces are much easier to handle when quilting. I haven't used your technique for putting the blocks together, so thanks for the pictures and warnings!