Semester Exam

You know how, when you have exams hanging over your head, you won’t let yourself do anything else until you’ve studied?

I have been feeling that it was time for me to move from “Quilting 101” to “202,” and I just couldn’t let myself wander off into any other interests until I tried a more advanced technique.

I’ve made mostly crib-size quilts, and with each one I have tried to improve my precision and efficiency.  I thought I was ready to step up from these small quilts to a larger quilt.  A local teen run-away center needed twin-size quilts for boys.  That seemed ideal for a project, because what boy is going to worry about the quilt being perfect?

I decided to try a Disappearing Nine Patch out of shirting and other masculine prints.

diagram of 9 patch

There are lots of possible variations on the arrangement of the blocks.

I had fun making the blocks, and sewing them into strips –  but that’s where I stopped.

I like to quilt-as-I-go.  Usually I place one large piece in the center, and then surround it with strips on all four sides, stitching through fabric, batting, and backing all at once.  For this larger quilt, I thought I would place the first strip across the center, and then add one horizontal row at a time.  It sounded pretty easy, but once I had everything laid out, it looked huge, and I thought I’d never get it through my machine.  It took me a few days to work up the courage to try.

So that’s what I did all day yesterday, and it came out pretty well!  I’m not wild about the color palette, but it’s not for me. Most of the corners even match!  And that is not my strong point.

quilt top

The top so far.

stitching line

The bottom row flipped up to show the construction – each row is sewn to the row before, and the batting and backing at the same time.

I think what helped the most was that I had absolutely wonderful backing fabric.  It’s strong and smooth and never even tried to pucker.

backing fabric edge

Detail showing the beautiful backing fabric turned up as binding.  It is by Faye Burgos for Marcus Fabrics.

I also used a fabulous little folding table at right angles to my sewing table, to support all the fabric as I sewed.  It has adjustable legs, so it’s easy to match the height of my table.


Great folding table with adjustable legs.

The hard part is done!  I still need to add borders and do the actual quilting, but I have more familiarity with those parts.  I feel like I’ve finished the essay portion of the exam, and all I have to worry about now is some multiple choice!   Hand me that syllabus for Quilting 202!