I know you're all waiting to hear how I'm going to connect all the finished snowflake blocks together to form one big quilt.
Since they're all already quilted, this could pose a pretty big problem. How do you connect the blocks together without it either a) showing somewhere what you did or b) the quilt not looking good.
This method, quilting blocks in pieces, is known as a "quilt as you go" method.
Well, in truth, this is very easy. It's looks complicated, but really this technique is as easy as binding your quilt.
Let's start with how to
Connect Quilted Quilt Blocks with straight binding.
First let's think about this for a minute. If your blocks are cut 12.5 inches, you have 1/4" seam allowance all around it.
If your block has been trimmed very accurately and it's perfectly square, you can arrange it with other 12.5" blocks so that they all butt up against one another with no gaps or space between.
This first diagram is 4 blocks butting up against one another perfectly.
Now the goal will be to somehow connect the blocks together across the front and back smoothly
Notice I said smoothly, not seamlessly.
No matter which way you do this, you're going to have a 1/2" strip on the front and back of the blocks. Here you see what the blocks will look like with red and blue binding.
You can't get around the 1/2" strip, so the best thing to do is match your strip colors to the fabric so it blends in nicely or becomes a part of the design of the overall quilt top.
Now let's connect the quilt blocks from the top:
1. Cut 1 - 1" strip the length of your block.
2. Using a very accurate seam allowance, stitch this strip to the front side of one block.
3. Press strip away from the block.
4. Take the next block in the row and attach it to the other side of your 1" strip, making sure that the blocks will be facing the same way once you finish the seam.
5. Press the seam allowance within the strip. The 2 seam allowances should butt up nicely together with no big gaps or overlapping.
If you try this and find you don't have enough space (your seam allowances of the blocks are overlapping each other) you should either rip out the seam and stitch it again or cut your strips slightly wider.
Personally I would encourage you to rip out the seam and stitch it again because you really CAN get this perfectly accurate if you play with it for a bit.
Whatever you do: DON'T TRIM YOUR BLOCKS!
Your blocks are perfectly square and straight. The instant you start trimming them to make them fit within the encasing strip, you start getting out of square.
So now the tops of the blocks are together with only a single 1/2" strip connecting them all together. Very nice!
Now let's connect the backs of the blocks so that your seam allowance is fully encased.
1. Cut 1 - 1 3/4" strip, fold it in half and press.
2. Stitch both rough edges of this strip to the back side of one of the blocks.
3. Press the folded strip away from the block and towards the seam allowance of the next block.
The folded edge should just reach the stitched line of your top seam allowance, allowing you to have an easy reference point to secure this edge by hand.
Unfortunately, there's really no way to connect these blocks without doing some handwork or having your stitches show on one side or the other.
Quilt as You Go All By Machine
If you'd rather do this technique completely by machine with no handwork, reverse the directions and stitch the 1" strip to the backs of the blocks and the 1 3/4" strip to the top.
This way you can stitch the folded strip down with a decorative stitch on your sewing machine from the top of your quilt. The top will still look very nice, and your stitches will only show on the back.
This is an incredibly useful technique and will allow you to quilt your quilts in pieces, rather than in one giant piece.
You may be wondering if you need to use a walking foot for this technique. Technically, yes, a walking foot will make this process easier.
If however, your blocks are as stiff as mine are (roughly the consistency of cardboard) you can get away with your regular foot.
Just make sure that no matter what you do, you use a perfect, extremely accurate seam allowance.
This technique is very particular on having your seam allowance perfect because otherwise the strips won't stretch and encase the seam allowances perfectly.
Connecting a whole quilt together
If you had 12 blocks to connect together to make one big quilt, you will first want to connect all the blocks in rows.
First stitch your 1" strips on then the folded strips. You will want to secure the folded strips before connecting the rows together to complete your quilt top.
As for the Winter Wonderland Quilt, I've decided to do a slightly different technique that is definitely more time consuming, but will add a beautiful wavy design element to the quilt top.
I'll detail this Curvy Quilt As You Go Connection tomorrow!