One of Each –
I’ve been making progress on my quest to make a quilt for each of my grandchildren. This particular quilt just happens to be the last on my list. I’m making it for my second granddaughter Miss M. To select the fabrics for her quilt I enlisted the assistance of her mom. Chosen from Missouri Star Quilt Company’s inventory was a jelly roll called Waterfront Park by Michael Miller.
Secured By A Ribbon –
The roll of 2 1/2″ strips was secured with a ribbon. As I removed the ribbon I was reminded of the excitement one feels when opening a present. One by one I separated out the strips by color. Included in the roll were seventeen different prints with at least two strips of each color or pattern.
A Bit Of Tweeking –
The strips were filled with wrinkles so my first task was to carefully press each one. While making my way through the pile I noticed one of the them was obviously not cut straight. This raised the concern that perhaps the rest of the strips may not be either so I began the process of re-checking each strip to make certain they were accurate. My investigation revealed that every single strip had to be trimmed to size and instead of having the anticipated strip count of 40 there were only 39.
I was rather disappointed with this jelly roll. Typically I would assume that a roll of fabric strips sold as being 2 1/2″ wide would not have to be trimmed. That’s suppose to be the advantage of purchasing fabric in this form. I have no idea who is to blame for the inaccuracies; if I did I would contact them. Needless to say I am hesitant to purchase another jelly roll from this manufacturer.
Getting Started –
After finishing the preparation of each of the strips I began the process of cutting them into the required sections. From each design/pattern I needed twelve pieces 6 1/2″ long. Those twelve would then be subdivided into groupings of four strips. To make things easier I neatly stacked the 6 1/2″ sections into piles of four as they were cut.
A Block –
Each quilt block contained a center strip measuring 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ and four surrounding strips. The center pieces were the next to be cut. All of the sixty center pieces were cut from the same fabric. Once the quilt block segments were stacked the only pieces left to cut were the eight filler pieces. Those were cut from a different fabric.
Sixty Blocks –
With all of the quilt pieces cut and ready to go I began the process of stitching them together. To each of the centers I first added a 6 1/2″ strip along the right edge then pressed open the seam. I repeated those steps to add the left, top and bottom strips. When I was finished I had a stack of sixty quilt blocks. From those blocks I would stitch five rows of seven blocks and six rows of six blocks. The rows with six blocks would have a filler piece added to each end to make their length identical to the rows with seven blocks.
Choosing the Order –
Before stitching the blocks into rows I had to decide in what order they would be arranged. I used my iPad to assist me. With each new arrangement I snapped a photo. By the time I settled on what would be the final order I had taken at leat six pictures. The other advantage to documenting the arrangements via photo is that I can then use the final one to help me remember in what order the blocks should be sewn in case I got confused.
Row After Row –
Now that I had decided on the final arrangement I stacked the blocks being careful to keep them in order. Beginning with row one I placed a pin in the top left corner of the first block. This pin would help me to remember that this was the first block in the row. I then stitched the blocks of each row together and pressed open their seams. After each row was pressed I sewed a row of basting stitches just inside the 1/4″ seam line along both long edges. The basting stitch helps keep the seams from flipping closed when the nine rows are stitched together.
Nine Rows –
Next up was the sewing together of the nine rows. I like to pin my rows together before sewing them. The pins help to keep the fabrics from shifting and makes it easier to maneuver the rows under the sewing machine presser foot. I almost always remove the pins before they go under the presser foot to avoid hitting the pins with the sewing machine needle. If the needle hits the pin you take the risk of bending or breaking the needle.
Two Segments –
Because this is my fourth version of this quilt pattern I have learned that it’s helpful to break the sewing of the nine rows together into two segments. The first consists of rows one through five and the second section has rows six through nine. If you don’t divide the rows into sections, the more rows you add the harder it is to guide the project through and over the machine. You still have to sew the same number of rows together. You just don’t have to deal with the weight of all nine until you stitch the two sections to each other. After all nine rows are sewn together I carefully pressed open each seam.
Basting Stitch –
Since this quilt does not have an outer border there are a lot of seams that can pop open when the quilt is finished on the long-arm machine. To keep those seams intact I added a row of stitching inside the 1/4″ seam line all the way around the outside edge. Once the quilting is finished and the binding is added the stitching will be hidden underneath. By the time this last step is complete the quilt top is ready for my long-arm quilt machine.
Before signing off I have one last tidbit of information to share. If you remember, I mentioned earlier that the pattern instructions lead you to believe there are sixty blocks in the quilt because it tells you to cut sixty center pieces. With only 39 strips that meant I would be short fabric for one block. I made up for the missing strip by piecing together leftovers. I used scraps from twelve different fabrics. However, the quilt actually only has 59 blocks. The 60th is extra. The block that I had pieced together turned out to be what I thought was the prettiest block. Rather than bury it inside the quilt top I thought it deserved to either be a focal piece on the back of the quilt or incorporated into the face of a pillow. In the end I decided the pillow was an awesome idea. Besides I have enough fabric leftover to add to the block to easily make a pillow.
More to Come –
I will share the pillow as well as an update on the progress of this quilt in a future post. Until then, thanks so much for visiting with me today. I look forward to your return visit.
Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting