Well I have finally started to put my Splendid Sampler quilt together. I’ve been prevaricating a bit, partially because I’ve not done it before and having spent the last twelve months making the blocks, I don’t want to ruin it at the last stage.If I’m honest I’m also feeling a bit snowed under with our house decorating schedule, trying to organise workmen, together with trying to keep up with challenges I wanted to keep up with, like the monthly stitch challenge.
I’ve decided to forget about the challenges until after the decorating, concentrate on finishing my Splendid Sampler quilt, I’ve then promised my daughter Helen an elephant quilt…and I’ve a charity quilt to make for the end of May…then I’m going to catch up with lots of dressmaking!
I decided fairly early on in the Splendid Sampler journey to try quilt-as-you-go or QAYG as it’s known. I knew I wanted to quilt each block individually, according to the design, rather than doing an all over design like I’ve done before. There is no way I could do that on my domestic sewing machine, with a 75″ quilt I think I would struggle to quilt it anyway. With QAYG each block is sandwiched and quilted separately, then the blocks are joined together. There are a couple of ways to join them, but I decided to follow the tutorial on Tall Tales from Chiconia Kate’s instructions are excellent.
Once I had quilted my blocks I trimmed them all to 7.5″, my original plan was for 8″ blocks but as Kate stressed how important it was for all the blocks to be exactly the same size I decided to trim them a bit more.
I chose a soft teal colour for my sashing, I cut 1″ strips and with quarter inch seams either side, the blocks lay perfectly together.I used my walking foot and double-checked my quarter inch seam before hand. The underneath sashing is made with 1.5″ strips folded in half, I machine stitched one side at the same time as stitching the front strip on, and then hand-stitched the back down. If you’re confused, check out Kate Chiconia’s tutorial, she makes it very simple!
This is my progress so far, I’ve a couple of pairs and one set of four. I’m really pleased so far. I’ve decided not to stress over my sashing squares not meeting up squarely, if they do, great, if not, I’m chilled! I also think it will be easier to lay them out on the table in 16’s, decide on the arrangement before sewing them together and then moving on to the next sixteen, I can’t cope with trying to arrange 100 blocks at once!
One factor that has made arranging them a bit more tricky is my decision at the beginning to use a variety of floral cottons to back. A decision I’m still hot and cold on, but once I’d started I had to continue! In the end I’ve done half patterned and half plainish with the idea of chequer-boarding them. I never thought it would be so confusing trying to get the patterned and plain in the right place!! I got myself in a right muddle last night. It didn’t help that I hadn’t sussed out that as long as the design wasn’t directional, I could just turn the blocks the other way up!! Once I thought I’d stitched them the wrong way round, but actually they just needed turning! I had a bit of a brainwave today during my lunchbreak at work, I’m going to put a pin on all the patterned ones at the front, so I don’t need to keep turning them over!
I think now I’ve started it and got a bit of a system going, it shouldn’t take me too long, just 96 blocks to go…