Design Process Part 4

Putting It Together

Alrighty, we have our strips all cut out and we're ready to sew. This quilt is a little unconventional because there are no blocks so we will be sewing pieces together as horizontal strips and sewing the strips together to form the quilt. 

Right now I only have the strips sewn together into "block" rows because I am deciding whether or not to do a quilt-as-you-go row assembly or just make a top and then quilt the layers. But we will get to quilting in the part 5 of the Design Process series. I am really liking how the quilt looks so far!

Having my cut strips stacked into piles of ascending size for each block, I found that chain piecing the strip rows was a time saver and a great way to keep track of what was going on. Let me show you.

The top illustration shows the number and size of pieces needed to make a 5-strip block row.

The middle diagram is how I chain pieced the strip rows. With right sides together, sew the 2" pink square to the peach 8" strip. Do not cut your thread or remove the sewn pieces from the machine. Sew the 5" pink strip to the 6-1/2" peach strip in the same manner, not clipping any threads. Continue with the next three strips and strip/square combos. Don't clip any threads! Now, add all the green strips/square in the correct order to the pink square/strips ends and so on till the end of the rows. Still don't clip any threads!

Last diagram shows a chain pieced strip rows. Make (8) 5-strip, chain pieced block rows.

I really liked this method for this quilt. It saved me from having to handle and re-handle those long strip rows and I could just assembly line the piece without really having to refer to the quilt diagram. Sewing only 5 strip rows together rather than adding them all together into a top right away has a number of advantages. 

You can see the shapes being built as you sew because they are all attached. If something goes wrong, it is an easy fix if you don't have all the strips sewn together. As you complete a chain pieced block row, lay them out for viewing, you can move the chained strips all at once to rearrange rows as desired. You can get a good look at how all the prints work together before you start sewing it all together.

As I was working I noticed one print really jumping out and not fitting into my low value look. 

A very bossy print

This orange print was just not playing well with the others. Even though it's a great print, it had two problems for me, it was just a bit too dark and bright and the overall pattern read dense or flat compared to the other prints. Since these were only chain pieced at this point it was super easy to take those pieces out and replace it with a similar but friendlier print for this project.

Much better!

This print is very, very similar but just different enough to work for my low value look. It is a lighter orange and the ratio of white to orange background is about 50/50, making it read more like the other prints. 

So, when you have everything how you want it, it's time to sew the strips together into block rows. Working with 1 chain pieced block row at a time, snip the connecting chain threads. Do not press the strips. I decided not to press the strips because I didn't want to stretch or distort the long strips.

Begin sewing the strips together by placing 2 strips right sides together and edges matched. Pin each end first and then work toward the center, making sure the strips lay flat. Stitch the strips together. Since this quilt has no seams that will need to be matched it doesn't matter which way the seams are going. Finger press the seams as you pin. Continue adding the other 3 strips to make 1 block row. Make a total of 8 block rows. 

If you plan to finish the quilt in a quilt-as-you-go method then do not sew the block rows and borders together yet. We will cover this method in the next post.

If you plan to quilt the top then join the block rows together. 

Sew the (3) 6-1/2" x 42" border strips short ends together to make 1 long strip. Measure the top and bottom of the quilt and average those numbers. Cut 2 strips to this measurement. Sew to the top and bottom of the quilt.

I am very excited about my next post because I just got (and haven't even had time to set up yet) my new mid-arm quilting machine! I have some learning to do before the next Design Process post so be patient. We will talk about some quilting options and we can learn together how to get this top quilted.