First Year Quilt: Part Four

IMG_5117I’ve been working at constructing a quilt top and backing for the First Year quilt pattern I purchased from Acorn Quilts. Links to my previous posts can be found here:

IMG_8741When we last visited, the center panel for the backing had been finished.  My next task was to add enough fabric to the center panel to reach the dimensions of 74″ x 74″. Note: 8″ of the additional fabric are required to properly secure the quilt on my long-arm quilt machine. Here’s how the center panel looked.

IMG_8763Deciding which fabrics and in what dimensions I would use them was my next step. The process of selecting fabric for my project is one of my favorite tasks. I could sit for hours with bolts and bolts of fabric mentally painting a picture of how they would best be combined. The hours and hours spent in contemplation would not mean that I am indecisive. Quite the contrary. Typically I can walk inside a fabric store and in very short order know exactly what I want. The extra time is simply because I enjoy creating with color so the longer it takes the more entertainment I can derive from it.

Below are the fabrics I chose.


Who knew that while learning math in school I would be using it years later in my quilting. From simple computations to very complex, they are all a part of this craft. For those that design their own quilts many utilize computer technology. I’ve never had the chance to experiment with such tools. Then on the other hand I’ve never tackled the art of designing complex quilts. If I make a design from scratch it’s usually a very simple one requiring only a paper and pencil.

To calculate the fabric needed to finish the quilt backing for this First Year Quilt all I had to do was a few simple subtraction and division calculations. The existing center panel measures 29 1/4″ x 50 1/2″. The desired end result was 74″ x 74″. Through my simple subtraction equation I was able to determine that I needed to add 23 1/2″ to the length and 44 3/4″ to the width. Next I had to decide if I wanted to add the extra fabric evenly on all four sides. Some people might decide to offset the panel either to the left or right and or either the top or bottom. Exactly centered would be the easiest. Here is where one can add a bit of artistic flair.

Typically I like my things to be neat and orderly which also transfers over to my quilting. Feeling the urge to stray from my natural tendencies I contemplated placing the panel off-center. After-all, if it didn’t turn out exactly as I had imagined this was going on the back of my quilt. It was never meant to be the main focus so why not experiment.

When deciding how much fabric to add to each edge I let the available fabrics dictate my decisions. Here again is where I was able to draw from my artistic leanings. To select which fabric went where I laid the center panel out on the floor. Then one by one I auditioned each of the fabrics on all four sides arriving at what I felt was the best outcome. Next I pondered how much of each fabric I would want to be visible. From there I cut the required lengths of fabric and stitched them to the designated areas. When I was finished I had a quilt back perfectly sized for my First Year Quilt top. After carefully pressing the backing making sure each seam laid in the correct direction my quilt backing was finally ready to join the quilt top already waiting for time on my long-arm quilt machine.

IMG_8941Here’s a quick look at the quilt backing.

In the next update I will be finishing up the quilt. Until then have fun quilting! Oh, and if you have time share your thoughts on my progress by posting a comment.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

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