A quilt from start to finish takes innumerable hours, resources and patience. The quilt I’m sharing with you today was purchased in 2013 from a shop, which is no longer in business, called Acorn Quilts. I’ve absolutely enjoyed piecing it together; watching it blossom from fabric strips in a package
to a finished quilt.
The quilt, known as the First Year Quilt, was finished in May. With so many activities and obligations on my calendar the quilt has had to wait patiently for this day to arrive. Rather than bore you with any more details, you may read about those by following the links at the bottom of this page, I will now share with you my finished product.
My Favorite Block in the First Year Quilt
First Year Quilt Top
Back of First Year Quilt
Well there it is! After only three years it has finally been added to my finished quilts list. I hope you have enjoyed following along with this saga. If you missed a few steps along the way here are the promised links.
Thanks for sharing your time with me. I really appreciate your visit. If you like what you have seen and read, why not become a follower or better yet share my blog with your friends. Also, I love receiving input from my readers. If you feel inspired, leave a comment. I would enjoy reading your input.
When 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.
Deciding 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 YearQuilt 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.
Here’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.
I’ve been slowly making progress on my First Year Quilt by Acorn Quilts. To date I have completed the quilt top and am now ready to assemble the backing. If you would like to look back at my previous posts check out the following links here, and here.
I had quite a bit of fabric leftover when I finished making the quilt top. Not wanting to waste them I decided to stitch together the remaining remnants.
When I was finished I ended up with 29 strips measuring 55″ long. I neatly stacked all 29 strips into one pile. Beginning with the first two I began the laborious process of creating what would be the center panel of my quilt backing. Using a 1/4″ seam I sewed those two strips together. After reaching the end I clipped my threads.
From the machine I carried the fabric strips to my pressing station. There I placed the strip flat on my pressing board and used my 1990’s Rowenta iron to first set the seam by making one pass of the iron over the unopened strip. Next I laid the strip, right side down on the pressing board and using the tip of my warm iron, gently wriggled it along the seam pressing it open. I chose to press the seam open rather than two one side or the other because I wanted to reduce the bulk created by the multiple intersections as much as possible. I had been concerned that this process of pressing was going to be difficult, thinking that the multiple seams might not want to go in my intended direction but I think the gentle wriggling helped to make the process go smoothly. After successfully assembling the first two strips I went on to add the remaining 27.
After completing this step I pressed everything once more then squared up the ends. The panel at this point measured 29 3/4″ x 52″. Originally I was going to stop here and add the additional fabric needed to bring the backing to 74″ x 74″ but I was feeling a bit adventurous so I decided to cut my panel into four equal segments. Once doing that I planned to spin each of them 180 degrees then sew them back together. Turning them 180 degrees didn’t seem to be enough of a change so I shuffled them around and spun them every which way until I was satisfied with the visual appearance.
Sewing them back together was a bit more labor intensive than I had anticipated. Cutting the panel was the fun and easy part. Matching up and pinning the 28 seams was the time-consuming one. Since I wanted to achieve the best possible outcome I coached myself to proceed with care. To distract myself I put a DVD into the player and let it roll while I worked.
When the last stitch was applied I snipped the threads and began the process of pressing open each of the seams. Once I had this part finished I turned my new panel right side up and grabbed my measuring tape. My refashioned center panel now measured 29″ x 50 1/2.”
This seemed like a natural place to stop so I set my things aside and took a break. So what do you think?
The kit for this quilt has been moved from my old house to the new one and finally to my Little Cabin in the Woods. I first mentioned this project here. When I last shared my progress the pre-cut fabric strips had been starched, carefully pressed and trimmed to size.
Since that previous post I have been very busy assembling the quilt blocks. The pattern is a scrappy log cabin. All of the blocks have a red center. Twenty of the center squares measure 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. The remaining sixteen squares have a center of 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″. The shop I purchased the quilt kit from was called Acorn Quilts. The author of the quilt included wool fabric to construct an acorn shaped applique for the center of each of the 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ squares. While I am sure the acorns were very meaningful to the pattern’s creator, given the name of her shop, I don’t share the same enthusiasm. I have elected not to include them on my quilt.
Also changed was the order in which the fabric strips were added to the centers. The instructions and the included photo told the quilter to add the dark fabrics on two of the log cabin sides and light fabrics on the remaining two.
The segregation of colors or shades creates an auxiliary pattern. While the original pattern or arrangement is what initially caught my eye I chose not to follow the directions. Instead I began each square by first surrounding them with one round of each of the required light strips, then dark strips. I repeated that rhythm one more time. The finished quilt top looks very different from the pattern but I am overjoyed with the outcome.
Recently I assembled the thirty-six blocks first into rows and then the rows into a quilt top. The quilt top currently measures 65 1/2″ x 65 1/2″. The top has been carefully pressed and added to my stack of quilts waiting to be finished.
The next step would be constructing the quilt’s backing fabric, but that’s being saved for another post.
Here’s a photo of the quilt top before sewing the rows together.