Work in Progress Wednesday: Assembling a crazy quilt, tying the quilt sandwich

Last week, I was at the stage where I was still using herringbone to stitch flat the seams.  This task is now thankfully done.

Once I had the the quilt top assembled it was time to add the border.

Normally a contemporary quilt is made of quilting cottons. This is not the case with crazy quilts, as all sorts of materials can be used. Not only a huge range of luxurious and highly textured fabrics available to the modern crazy quilter but also buttons, charms and beads are often added. This makes for a heavy piece of work, so when assembling the quilt this aspect of crazy quilting has to be thought about.

Since I like to embellish my quilts and my blocks are often heavy I chose a  maroon cotton brocade for the fabric used in the border. It is a firm, solid curtain fabric.  I wanted a strong fabric to both support the quilt and balance the weight of the blocks aesthetically.

I mentioned last week I was going to have a inner border and binding is a burnt gold paisley. When piecing the diamond blocks I used paisley patterned fabrics throughout and I was delighted to find a quilting cotton of a burnt gold pattern paisley.

Balancing the weight of different fabrics

The only issue was that the quilting cotton and the maroon curtain fabric are two very different weights. To solve this I doubled the quilting cotton.

In the photograph I have opened it up so you can see how it is simply two layers of the fabric. This evens up the weight of the fabric in the border.

Obviously I treated the double layer as if it was the same as a single layer and  other that that I used standard quilting techniques to create and attach the border. This is a subtext for lots of pins and lots ironing!

I pushed the ironing board against the table so that the table takes the weight of the quilt as I iron the border.

Once I was working with the quilt top I did change my mind about a inner border. Instead I decided a line of the paisley fabric running down each side of the quilt looked better. I liked the way these lines visually lengthened the quilt.

Once the border was on, I created the quilt sandwich.

I laid out the backing, the bamboo batting (which I have not used before but so far it is performing wonderfully) and the quilt top.  I used quilters pins to hold the quilt sandwich together. Because many of the fabrics will leave a pin mark I make sure the pins are used on the seam line.

I simply pin at regular intervals

Tying the quilt sandwich no stitches visible from the front

I then start the very long process of tying the quilt top to quilt back.

Tying the quilt together will stabilise and strengthen the quilt so although it is a long process I take time to do it well.

Since originally crazy quilts were not quilted I like to  have no stitches visible from the front of the quilt. How do I do this? I hide the stitches behind buttons and larger beads.

This is a stitch that comes from the back of the quilt, the thread travels through the bead, and I take the thread to the back of the quilt. In the process this hides that fact that the quilt is tied. I take the thread along to the next largish bead or button and repeat. I do this all over the quilt top.

This process means that often threads are taken an inch or two across the back of the quilt. This is quite messy so I hide all this work with a false back.  This looks messy but I hide all the mess behind a false back. The false back also adds strength but I will talk more about this next week if I am at that stage.

Well, I have quite a bit of this still to do so I had better get on with it!

 

Diamond block crazy quilt

Here is the finished quilt click on the image and you will taken to larger photo. I hope you enjoy seeing it.

The back story

If you are interested in the back story of this quilt and seeing photos of each block as it was made browse the posts  in the Diamond block crazy quilt category

Posts on How to assemble a Crazy Quilt which include;

Online Crazy Quilting Classes:

Just a quick reminder for those who are interested in taking a class with me. You will find all my classes listed under the top tab imaginatively titled Classes online you will also find information on how online classes are run.

Work in Progress Wednesday: Assembling a crazy quilt in sections

As you can see I am still piecing this top together but I thought I would share my progress this week. My key point I want to demonstrate is that I work in sections. First I join a couple of blocks then those blocks form larger units and those units are joined and so on.

Last week I explained in how I trim and assemble a crazy quilt top and how on the back of the blocks I herringbone flat all the seams to make the quilt sit flat. This post indicates the process takes time!

I am nearly there as you can see with only some large seams to do now. Then the border goes on. I have purchased bamboo batting which is supposed to be better for the environment. Since I have not used it before it will be interesting to see how it handles. I will let you know what I think of it.

I thought I would show you fabric I will use on the border and an inner border and binding.  The border is a maroon and the inner border and binding is a burnt gold paisley.

As I have mentioned before when I chose the fabric for these blocks if it was a patterned piece I chose a paisley design of some sort. So I was delighted to discover this quilters cotton with its paisley pattern. Since it is a quilters cotton and the Maroon fabric is a cotton brocade (curtain fabric) I will have to interface the quilters cotton so both fabrics are the same weight. That is not to big a job to have a paisley in the border!

Anyway all I can show you this week is on the dining room table.  See you again next week with more progress and I will discuss how I include the batting and the back.

Diamond block crazy quilt

Here is the finished quilt click on the image and you will taken to larger photo. I hope you enjoy seeing it.

The back story

If you are interested in the back story of this quilt and seeing photos of each block as it was made browse the posts  in the Diamond block crazy quilt category

Posts on How to assemble a Crazy Quilt which include;

Online Crazy Quilting Classes:

Just a quick reminder for those who are interested in taking a class with me. You will find all my classes listed under the top tab imaginatively titled Classes online you will also find information on how online classes are run.

Work in Progress Wednesday Assembling a crazy quilt part 1

I promised last week to show reader how I assemble a crazy quilt. This is my progress so far. I hope to share with you a construction technique that means the seams will sit flat.

The first thing I do is to lay the quilt blocks out so I can see how they are going to read. I spend quite a bit of time faffing about with blocks, rejigging where they will sit and finding the best place for each block.

The first task is the trim all the blocks to the right shape.

To do this I make a template from cardboard.This template includes seam allowances. Each block has to be exactly this shape.

 

If you are wondering why I have some stitching on the edge of the card board I tested my normal sewing machine foot and my zipper foot. I decided I would use my zipper foot because there is a lot of bead work on the blocks. Much of this bead work goes right to the seam allowance, so a zipper foot helps to stitch right up next to the beads without busting too many needles!

I had to decide between normal foot or zipper foot before calculating the seam allowances. My seam allowance is the width of the zipper foot.

I mark the edge of each block using a quilters pencil.

When I trim the edges of the block I place the ruler on the outside of the block and make the cut. If you place the ruler over the block because of beads buttons etc the ruler will not sit flat and you will make an uneven cut.

Here is the block trimmed

I then pin the pieces together and stitch together. I use the side of my zipper foot a guide for the seam. Some people put masking tape on the plate area of the machine to act as a guide but I eyeball it.

Once the block is together I press the seams open.

When I press I use extra padding with a towel on the ironing table. I do not press too firmly as that will flatten any silk ribbon embroidery on the block.

To make sure the seams stay flat I use herringbone stitch to keep them open. This stitching does not go through the whole block. The foundation fabric that backs the block is caught by the stitching.

Since there are 21 of these units in this quilt it has taken me all week to get to this stage.

It is a time consuming part of the assembly as it is of course done by hand but since the blocks sit flat at the end of the process it is worth it.

Next I start to assemble the blocks in larger modules. I herringbone the seams flat. Then I assemble into larger modules again and once again make sure the seams sit flat by pressing them open and stitching them down with herringbone stitch. I do this until the quilt top is assembled.

 

This module is still to be done. So this weeks work in progress report is a case of so far so good but still lots of work to go

Next week I hope to be at that stage I will show you how I attach the border, batting, false back, rod pocket and back of the quilt. So stay tuned…

Meanwhile it is back to the incredibly boring task of making sure those seams sit flat!

Diamond block crazy quilt

Here is the finished quilt click on the image and you will taken to larger photo. I hope you enjoy seeing it.

The back story

If you are interested in the back story of this quilt and seeing photos of each block as it was made browse the posts  in the Diamond block crazy quilt category

Posts on How to assemble a Crazy Quilt which include;

Online Crazy Quilting Classes:

Just a quick reminder for those who are interested in taking a class with me. You will find all my classes listed under the top tab imaginatively titled Classes online you will also find information on how online classes are run.