Lets first detour back to how I used to do it back when I first started and didn’t have all the tools I have now.. I used to just use a cardboard square cut to the size I wanted my fabric pieces and I would cut each individual square out one at a time. Quilting Rulers are also easily purchased if you worry about cutting the cardboard the right shape. This method is NOT preferred because it easily takes a month alone to cut the squares and I find it very tedious to sew each square together one by one. I also used to lay the whole quilt out on the floor so I could easily visualize how to sew each piece together. Again, I don’t recommend it, but if you find it hard to compress the design into stacked rows and are making mistakes, this might be best at first.
OK, so back to the key design from the previous blog. I went and bought all the fabric like discussed.
Spent under $5 and part of the cost was extra lilac to finish with quilted piece into a pillow. I ended up buying a yard of lilac in case you were curious.
I use a self healing mat, a large quilting ruler and a rotary tool to cut the fabric into 1.75 inch strips of fabric. I sew the strips together to make a solid piece again. You get an accordion feel, see:
Once I sew the fabric all back together, I cut it in the opposite direction, again in 1.75 strips.
I sew the strips together in different numbers so I have variety for the quilt design. In a large blanket, I might have a pile of squares, two squares (sewn together already), three squares, ect. This allows for quickly sewing the design together instead of doing each block one at a time. I hope this isn’t confusing..
This design isn’t very big or complex so I just have a couple piles. And so I start piling all the squares together following the word document with the plan.
Row one has 16 purple squares. If you chose to cut each square out separately, you’d just stack 16 lilac squares and sew them together in a long strip. I chose to sew all my lilac together in groups of 8, so my pile just had 2 strips of 8 pieces each. Both ways add up t 16 squares.. so it doesn’t matter how you do it. Row 2 has 3 black squares, 10 lilac and another 3 black squares.Because my lilac are in strips of presewn in sets of 8 squares, I use a seam ripper to separate it into the needed set of 3.
I looked down and took a picture of my “helper.” My pup max is always underfoot and trying to help when I’m crafting.
So I compile the design into rows that I place on large sheets of newsprint paper. It is low cost and I use it as scrap paper to write on or paint on top of. Its helpful in the quilt planning because I can stack pages of paper with quilt square on it and stay organized.
From right to left you can see Row 1, row 2, row 3, ect.. I just slowly lay out each square according to my word document plan of the design.
Now I go pile by pile in order and sew the stacks together in order, and then each strip of rows to the next to start bringing the quilt into being. In the second picture of the collage, you can see that I try to line up the rows to match at color changes, but I don’t stress too much about the rows matching up perfectly. You can see the small imperfections in the bottom picture. I used to try and force the lines to all line up, but I found that cause an unappealing pucker to the cloth and I decided I’d rather it lay flat, then appear rumbled.
An example of the puckers you might get if you try to make all the lines match perfectly square for square. I think it’s easier to try and line up the design with a little room for error, then aim for perfection.
So as I go, I usually compare the WIP to the computer design to make sure I’m not making any mistakes. Here is the finished product. It took me about 2.5 hours to sew it all together. I’m actually going to sew a little bit more lilac around the key to make it bigger and finish it into a pillow. I’ll post it once its all done!