I hate instructions that say “quilt as desired.” Talk about short-changing the “quilting” part of the quilt!
And if not properly planned, the quilting part can cause even a mild-mannered, generally cheerful and positive-thinking adult woman to become crazed, hyper-ventilating, pinched-shouldered hag that mutters obscenities and throws hot dogs at her hungry husband saying “get your own dinner!”
Or so I hear. Not that I know anyone like that.
At 100″ x 100″, there’s no way I can put the entire Crossroads quilt through my standard Bernina and her 6 1/2″ harp and still maintain my sanity, good mood, and healthy back. The best way to tackle a big project like Crossroads is to break it down to a manageable size and use QAYG.
I’m using a QAYG method that is usually reserved for adding borders to a quilt. It’s clean, it’s neat and it addresses the pesky issue of pushing all that quilt (backing + batting + pieced top = a lotta bulk) through the harp of a standard domestic machine.
A while back I finished several quilts with a QAYG technique that utilizes thin connector strips that became part of the quilt pattern. It’s a great technique! In this situation however, connector strips would be distracting, so I’m going to QAYG in sections.
BTW – this is not something I developed. If you look back at my angst-ridden posts about the oversized tee shirt quilt that I made for a great-nephew over a year ago, you’ll see that I used another method that I learned from a reliable book by a well-known quilting author.
Proof that an old dog CAN be taught new tricks, I found a better way to QAYG in sections. My favorite tutorial is from The Quilting Edge and you can find it here. Marianne is a master of QAYG – and her quilts are just really cool and hip – very contemporary and almost all quilted using one of several QAYG methods.
I’ll show you how I adapted the technique for Crossroads that she demonstrates so well.
OK, here’s the plan:The finished top will be 10 blocks by 10 blocks. The little diagram above shows my piecing plan. The quilt top is pieced in sections, each numbered as per above. Each square on the plan represents one 10″ block. I will quilt section 1 first, then add section 2 and quilt it, add section 3 and quilt it, and so on.
- I can easily roll up and squish 20 – 30 inches of quilt under my machine harp. Making no section larger 4 blocks means that I’ll never have more than 3 blocks squished under the machine at a time (for example, when section 2 is added to section 1.)
- The fabric that I’m using for the backing is about 43″ wide. I can use one width for the widest section – section 1 – without piecing the backing.
- The batting for this section will be roughly 45″ x 45″ – just size of leftover batting from other projects. This QAYG method makes using one jumbo piece of batting unnecessary – one less thing buy and to manhandle. If you’ve ever tried to lay out a queen size batting and get it all smooth without bunching up the back, then realize it’s laid too far to the right and have to reposition it – well, you’ll understand that this is a HUGE time- and sanity-saver.
Now for the back of the quilt: I prefer to use scraps and leftovers to make the back as decorative as the front. Honestly though, I’m ready to get this project D.O.N.E.- AND the Fates put this over-sized floral in the clearance section of an online retailer for $5 per yard – cha CHING! Seriously, how can I deny Fate?The flowers are about 8″ across. (A little gaudy? OK, I’ll give you that – I never said that Fate didn’t have a sense of humor.)
I laid out the backing with the batting (Quilters Dream 100% cotton) on top and pin basted section 1.Now what to quilt? A few ideas from my sketchbook: I’ve been doodling pebbles in my sketchbook and if I keep the pebbles large enough, they will work on the X’s that form a grid on the quilt.OK, so maybe THOSE pebbles are a little too funky – and definitely too compressed – but isn’t that a cool doodle?
As for the blocks, my first inclination is to quilt a large paisley design. Don’t know that I like the contrast with the pebbles though – unless the pebbles are more like bubbles. Big bubbles. ehhh – not so sure about that.
Any suggestions? (Whew! And I haven’t even wound the bobbins for the quilting yet!)
Next step is to start the quilting! Yippee!
All the best – Chris