Tuesday, March 3, 2015


A few questions came up about the quilting on the Patches and Pinwheels.  It's a really big quilt, so I sewed it in sections: the top, the two sides, and the bottom.  Then I quilted it that way, so the biggest section was just 60" x 80".  I sew on a Janome 7700 which has an 11" throat, a BIG benefit when machine quilting.

For Patches and Pinwheels, because it's quite a busy quilt, I did a simple in the ditch quilting.  This is the view of the backing, which is a good quality cotton sheet.  Sheets are too finely woven to use if you are going to hand quilt, but very nice for a machine quilted quilt.  The batting is a Warm and Natural, so it doesn't need terribly close stitching.

Here you can see where the top, the side and the bottom come together.  The top is in the lower right, the side in the upper right and the bottom falling off to the left.

You can see the two strips that border the top meeting in the center.  When sewing the sections together, I machine sew the top of the quilt.  Then I trim the batting so that the two sections meet in the middle of the seam and don't overlap.  The backing is then folded over, lapped over the opposite side and hand stitched to the opposite side of the backing.  By not overlapping the batting, but trimming it to just meet, you avoid a lump in the seam.

Another feature I've used lately in large quilts that reach the floor is to trim off the corners.  That means you don't have a puddle of quilt on the floor at each of the bottom corners.  It took a little while to figure out the right way to make the pattern fit, but with a little bit of experimenting it came out pretty good.

After I made yesterday's post I wrote an email to Elaine Adair, thanking her for her inspiration and help with this quilt.  She wrote a nice reply, and mentioned that she was following Bonnie Hunter's method of making pinwheel blocks.

So this morning I had to go to Bonnie's free patterns and see how she did it.  Then, of course, I had to try that method out.

I went to my boxes of cut scraps.  You can't see clearly here, but they are labelled, 4"+, 3 1/2", 3", etc.  I chose two contrasting strips from the 3 1/2" bin and followed Bonnie's directions EXCEPT I sewed both long edges of the strips, right sides together with a 1/4" seam.  THEN I cut the triangles, and they are already sewed.  The few stitches on the points are
easily removed.  I sewed two sets of triangles together, and then sewed the center seam of the block.

WOW!!! a perfect meeting of points.  I was so happy!

Doing it this way means the bias seams are in the center of the block and the outside edges are straight grain, giving stability to the block.  Plus, the bias center seam means it's easy to squish or stretch to make the center points come together, not that it was necessary in this block.

The method I mentioned a little while ago is what I used for that top block, and is taught by the Missouri Quilt Company.  It works well, but results in a block with bias edges, making it a little hard to handle.

Quilting life is full of adventures!  

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