It's the BIG day!!! Today is the day (or week) we put the Nothing but Love quilt together!
This is like putting a giant puzzle together, and it is SO satisfying. Thankfully it doesn't have 1000 pieces!
The process looks like this:
Cut your sashing
Join blocks (front & back)
Join Rows and Horizontal Borders (front & back)
Join Cornerstones and Vertical Borders (front & back)
Bind the quilt (next blog post)
The joining process is fairly easy because it is repetitive. As your quilt grows in size it definitely gets heavier and harder to manage, so I have tips to share in this post. You can also see that it is easy to break this final step into several days if needed.
So first you need to cut your sashing strips which will join your quilt pieces together. There are 2 sets - one for the front of your quilt and one for the back. They should coordinate with the fabrics you used on each side (which don't have to match).
Here is the final "pattern" which includes cutting instructions for the sashing and steps to put it all together. Click on the link below to download and/or print:
First Things First - Sashing Strips
Sashing strips are the pieces that join the blocks together. Many quilt patterns have sashing because the quilt blocks look nice with space in between them, and other quilts use the sashing strips to create additional block patterns. However, in this pattern the sashing strips actually join together our already quilted blocks!
For this Quilt-as-You-Go method we are using sashing strips on both sides of the quilt. You need 2 sets of strips that coordinate with fabrics on both sides - they can blend and be almost invisible or they can contrast and really make your blocks POP. The front strips are 1" wide and the back strips are 1.25" wide, but they are in sets of matching lengths. Refer to your cutting chart for this.
You will sew 10 (out of 14) strips together make one super long strip that needs to be cut into lengths that are at least 51" and 61" long. I do it this way in order to use less fabric and also to alter where the seam is in each strip. (My machine makes a clunk sound when it runs over too many layers of fabric & I don't like it.)
The way that I do this is:
Roll/Fold the strip into a more compact size,
Put one end of the strip at the zero on my cutting mat (tape or pin it there),
Then roll it out to the 26" mark,
Lay a ruler on the 26" line and fold the strip back over it,
Unroll all the way back to the zero line, and
This will give a strip that is 52" long (26 x 2). Make 5 strips of that length.
Then repeat with remaining long strip to make 2 strips that are 62" long - which means fold over at the 31" mark on your mat.
Unite the Quilt Blocks
Once you have cut all of your sashing strips for the front and the back of your quilt, it is time to attach those strips and join the blocks together.
Step 1 - Attach both strips to right edge of first 3 blocks in each row.
Step 2 - Join 2 blocks together by attaching FRONT sashing strip only.
TIP: When attaching the strips, both strips "right" sides should be kissing the quilt fabrics "right" sides.
I like to attach all of the 12.5" strips to my blocks first (and it is ok to trim off the little bit of extra strip). I also recommend sewing the blocks together two at a time, and then finishing the back strip. Then joining the row together at the center block so that you are not managing the whole long strip in order to finish all of the back strips.
TIP: When you lay out your blocks make sure you sew the strips to the correct edge and the fourth block has NO strips attached at first.
Make sure you use a 1/4" or scant 1/4" seam so that your block edges lay flat when they fold over and snuggle together behind your sashing strip. If you go more there will be a slight overlap and this edge will be slightly bumpy and it is hard to trim.
Also when you are attaching the front sashing onto the 2nd block, your foot (if it's wide like mine) is going over materials at different heights. It is one thickness on the right side, but two thicknesses on the left side. This can be difficult to keep your quilt moving and also to maintain your 1/4" seam allowance. To manage this I stop and lift my foot and readjust often. I also help move the fabric through with a light pushing motion from in front of my foot or a light pulling motion from behind my foot.
Step 3 - Fold edge and attach BACK sashing strip to joined pair of blocks.
TIP: When you are finishing the back strip make sure to sew 1/8" away from edge at most. if it is too wide you make a flappy edge on your sashing and you could even miss some of your folded edge and then it will fray.
Now these steps are all in your "pattern" but I want to visually review them with this video:
Borders Join the Party
Now that your blocks are all in rows, it's time to join the rows together and also add in your top and bottom borders.
This is when you can trim your 2 borders to the same length as your assembled top and bottom row. Press and flatten them first. They should be close to 5.5" tall and then whatever length matches your row. If you have exposed batting o the end(s) because they shrunk up a little, just sew an additional little filler piece on the front and back to cover the batting. (I demo this in the last section of this post).
I like to attach all of my 51"-52" borders to the tops of the rows and the bottom border. In order to manage the size and weight of the quilt, I join them in together in pairs as follows:
Top border to Row 1
Row 2 to Row 3
Row 4 to Bottom Border
TIP: Also finish the back sashing strip while there are only 2 rows together.
I keep reminding you about the back sashing because it is terrible if you forget and sew the next sashing on and have left it open!
Then join Row 1 to Row 2 front and back, and lastly Row 3 to Row 4 front and back.
I also have a few visual tips to help you manage all of the bulk that your quilt is gaining so quickly.
I start out with managing the weight that is hanging over the edge of my deck by simply piling it on top of my deck somehow. This helps keep the weight and the corner/edge from creating extra drag and resistance to movement.
Then I roll the extra parts neatly so that they fit into my throat space and it is still easy to manage with one hand.
Lastly I "wear" the quilt in its rolled or folded state to help hold the weight above my deck and also assist in moving all the material through the sewing machine.
Yahoo - you're almost done!!
Attaching the Cornerstones and Side Borders
So my top and bottom borders were fine, but do to the quilting differences my two side borders came up a tiny bit short. This is not a problem since we didn't trim off the extra batting yet.
To figure out where to trim your batting, lay the border strip along the side edge of your quilt. You need the batting to go to the middle of the sashing strip.
Trim and then sew on additional border fabric on the front and back to cover the batting. This will be just like when you attached the joining strips except that you press and trim to the edge of the extended border strip.
Next you need to lay out your Love Knots and side borders, so you can decide where to attach the joining strips for the cornerstones (Love Knots). The Love Knots look different at the corners depending on which way you orient the block.
So this way (clipped corner) or that way (pointy corner)?
I chose the clipped, but it will look great either way!
Now add the sashing strips to your corner blocks and then attach them to the side borders.
TIP: Two are on the same side and two are on a different side. They are NOT all identical in the placement of the strips.
Don't forget to finish the back strips!
Then attach your side borders to your quilt using the same strip process with the 2 remaining 61"-62" strips.
TIP: When laying the strip along the quilt pin/clip at the cornerstone sashing so it matches with the sashing that joined the top and bottom borders.
VOILA! Your quilt top is done!! Hip Hip Hooray!
I do want to take a moment to give credit to Ann Petersen (Craftsy class) and Jera Brandvig (QAYG books) from whom I learned techniques for completing quilts using quilt-as-you- go methods. Today's method smashed together things I learned from them.
The only thing left is to finish the edges off with binding and hopefully put a label on it. In a few days I will put up a post for that incase this is your first quilt, you want a refresher, or you want a printable label download.
The Nothing but Love Quilt Along is over, but there are more goodies on the way - it's holiday season don't ya know?!
I'm DYING to see your finished quilts!! Share your progress on social media by using the hashtags #nothingbutloveqal or tag me @polkadotpeepquiltsetc
If you want to go back and review quilt block patterns and tips and quilting designs, they are all there on my blog any time. I hope you have enjoyed learning all the quilting techniques, block patterns, and quilting designs this year & really felt the LOVE woven through it all.
Until next time - Be blessed my friends,