TIMES UP. WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED IN NEXT POST.
(If this is your first time here for the quilt along then you need to go back to May in the posts and find the beginning. And, for the love of Pete, you need to join the Flickr group too.)
Before we get going with the work for Week 4, I want to announce a slight change in schedule. Originally this was going to last for 6 weeks. I'm changing it to 7 weeks so as to give 2 weeks for the quilting phase. That just means an extra week of giveaways. Unless you have a problem with that.
At this point you should have all of your quilt blocks. As per prior discussion both here and in the Flickr group, the number of blocks that you ultimately have varies. I have a total of 39 12.5"x12.5" blocks and 13 7"x12.5" blocks.
Some of you may have 42 blocks. Others may have more or less. It doesn't really matter. What does matter is what you do with them.
Since I have 39 blocks I have decided to use 36 of them in my large quilt. Six blocks wide by six blocks long.
With the remaining 3 12.5"x12.5" blocks and the 13 7"x12.5" blocks I am going to make a smaller quilt. A smaller quilt to practice my quilting on before I tackle a larger project.
With my total number of blocks that I'm turning into a large quilt top, I want to randomly organize them. Just do whatever you have to do so that no two of the same blocks end up side by side in the final quilt.
As I stated, my quilt will be six blocks long by six blocks wide so I grab six blocks to start my first row.
Lay out your blocks as they will be sewn together into a row. You'll see that each block is turned 90 degrees from the previous block. In other words, the first block in the row has the strips going north and south while the second block they are going east and west.
Now begin sewing the blocks together.
Right sides of fabric together.
Line it up and pin it. Keep in mind that if your block that is underneath has seams wherein the pressed seams are facing counter to the way in which you are going to sew, that you will want to keep these flat as you are sewing. You don't want them to flip and be twisty once you are done sewing this seam. Hang with me and you'll see more explanation further along.
Sew your first two blocks together
Now you're ready to sew on the third block in your row.
Again, right sides of fabric together.
You'll notice that this time I pinned it more frequently than the last time.
This is because of the seam-folding-twisty-thing that I was just talking about.
At each arrow in the photo below there is a seam. If you were to see the back side of where those arrows are pointing, you would see that the pressed seam is pointed "north" in the direction in which it will feed through the sewing machine as you sew on the next block.
So, I pinned at all those points to make sure that they don't do that folding-twisting-make-my-final-quilt-top-not-lay-flat-thing that they could do if I'm not careful.
Ok. So keep repeating this process until your entire first row of blocks is sewn together
Then you are ready to press all of those seams created from sewing the blocks together.
Press them all in the same direction.
(Make a mental note here. On your next row of blocks, you will press these seams in the opposite direction. This will make joining your rows together easier . . . and flater in the end result. I'll talk more about this in a minute.)
Row 1 is complete!
Lay your first row out. Lay your blocks for your second row next to them to make sure that you have rotated your blocks correctly so that they too are opposite of the first row. Study the next two photos if my oh-so-clear explanation doesn't make sense.
Sew your entire second row together following the same procedure as your first row.
Once your second row is complete, pressed and ready to go, it is time to join row one and row two.
A moment ago I discussed how the block seams should be pressed the opposite way in row two as they were in row one. This become important now as we go to join the two rows.
Lay your rows on top of one another with right sides of fabric facing each other.
Obviously you want to line up the edges but the really important thing here is lining up the block junctions precisely.
So, as you begin pinning your two rows together in preparation to join them by sewing, start with your first block junction and make sure that they line up precisely. Pin it well. Then work back to your left pinning and lining up the fabric.
Then on to your next block junction. Pin it. And again, work back to your left pinning and lining up the fabric until you get to the point where you meet your other pins.
Keep at it until your whole row is pinned. Then sew it.
Then press it.
Step back and admire your work.
Even the back will look pretty. All those carefully sewn and pressed seams will yield a nice and flat quilt top. A nice and flat quilt top makes the actual quilting of it easier . . . the final result prettier too.
Ok. So keep repeating this process until your quilt top is complete.
And don't fret. Or dispair. Or freak out. I remember thinking that assembling a quilt top took forever. But then I did more. And got better. And got faster. And learned my own tricks for making things work.
It's just like anything. Practice makes perfect.
How about a giveaway?
I'll give two people the best batting in the world to make their completed quilt.
I only use Warm & Natural batting. It is 100% cotton. It doesn't bunch or separate. It gives the final quilt that nice wrinkly, crinkly antique look that I love. And it keeps it shape wash after wash. I love this stuff. And you will too!
Leave a comment here to this post before 7:00 pm US EDST on Wednesday, June 10, 2009. I'll pick a winner by random draw soon thereafter. Only one entry per person. International entries welcome.
Peace. Love. And quilting, baby!