A stitch in time… gets you started
We’ve been talking quilts for weeks. But nothing teaches better than to just do it. Today we are going to start piecing our quilt top. When people say they are going to quilt they mean they are going to stitch the quilt sandwich together. The layer that has all the decorative fabrics, is called the top. For that we say, “I am going to go work on my quilt top,” or “I am going to get back to my piecing.”
The middle part of a quilt is called the batting. We’ll cover that after we finish the top. Then we’ll end with the backing and binding. The backing is fabric that has been sewn together to cover the whole bottom/back of the quit top and batting, with about an inch extra all the way around. In the old days you would lay your bottom down, add the batting on top, then lay and center on the very top. Then you would spend some time centering each piece and smoothing out all your wrinkles. Then you would carefully pin from the center out. Now all you have to do is fold your top and backing and take them to your favorite long arm quilter (she has batting to choose from). She also has a special sewing machine where she can decoratively sew all three layers together.
The long arm artist or long arm quilter will take your layers and ask you a myriad of questions, then puts it in order behind the quilt(s) she has in line already. In about a month, you will get a call that your quilt is ready. Many quilters, pick up their treasure and take it home and start working on the binding. The binding is a border that looks like a double fold bias tape. It is machine stitched from the top and then turned under and hand stitched to the back.
Now we need to prepare for next week’s start to our very own Quilt Along (QAL). Before we start, I need you to spend this week doing the following:
Be sure your sewing machine is clean and ready for work (don’t forget to put in a new needle).
Clear off a space for a cutting board, rotary cutter or scissors, and an ironing board with a working iron.
You need to pick 5 fabrics (either 5 different Fat Quarter’s (FQ’s) or five different ¼ yards of fabric:
One for a focus fabric, for the center,
Three mid-size fabric options (one for the 4 bars and two for the Half Square Triangles HST’s we are making),
Plus, one low volume print for the negative space, and a sixth fabric for the backing (3/4 yard) if you wanted the back of the quilt to be different from any of the other fabrics.
Be sure you have an ironing board/area and an iron that works.
Finally, you will need a long acrylic ruler at least 14-inches long and 4 inches wide (Omnigrid sells one at Walmart, JoAnn’s, and Amazon), a 90-degree triangle ruler which looks like a square cut in half from one corner to the other (a 90-degree isosceles triangle), a chalk pencil or marking pen of some kind, a rotary cutter or scissors, and some sharp pins. You are now ready to participate in your first QAL or piece your very first quilt block.