The Happiness quilt that I designed for Australian Homesun Magazine’s 2014 Block of the month has now reached the final part where you are shown how to construct the quilt, “quilt as you go”
This was a massive project for both myself and the magazine to put together, we checked and double checked to make sure that there were no errors and I was pleased to see that it was smooth sailing all the way through but unfortunately in the final part we do have 1 small error, the quilting stencil should measure 18” long, not 19”. This is easily fixed, just take ½” out of both curved sections of the stencil to get the required length of 18”.
Below is a close up look at how the quilt is constructed:
If you would like a copy of the pattern for 2014 it's only available in the February to November issues of Australian Homespun but don't worry you haven't missed out as from February 2015 you will be able to purchase the complete pattern from me, I'll let you all know when it's available.
Lay the blocks out in order following the picture. The quilt is joined together with a combination of quilt as you go techniques. The middle row is joined together first with what I refer to as the “traditional technique” and the top and bottom rows are joined together with another method that I call “almost traditional”.
To join with the traditional technique, place 2 blocks from the middle row with the right sides facing. Separate the batting and backing and pin only the quilt top layers together. Sew the quilt top layers together.
Carefully press the seam towards the appliqué block and lay the work onto your table with the quilt top facing down. You will see that the batting is now too big.
Trim the batting away from the edge of the pieced block so that it butts up against the other side. To join the batting together, position a strip of fusible batting seam tape over the join with the rough side facing down. As the tape is nylon, to protect it from the iron, overlap the backing fabric over the join before pressing for 3 seconds with a dry iron.
Next, lay the backing fabric of the pieced block over the join and fold the raw edge of the appliqué block under, by ½” (12 mm) and press. Slip stitch the backing fabric together.
Note: When hand stitching the backing fabric together it’s ok if you catch the batting in the middle of the seam but be careful not to catch the batting in near the top and bottom edges as all 3 layers of the quilt edge need to be separate for sewing the horizontal seams
Now join the top and bottom rows with the almost traditional technique.
To join with the “almost traditional” technique, place an appliqué block on top of a pieced block with the right sides facing. Separate the batting and backing from the appliqué block and pin only the quilt top layer of the appliqué block to all 3 layers of the pieced block. Sew the seam with the walking foot attached.
Carefully press the seam towards the appliqué block and lay the work onto your table with the quilt top facing down. Once again you will see that the batting is too big.
Trim the batting away from the edge of the appliqué block so that it butts up against the other side.
For this technique a narrow strip of batting seam tape is required to join the batting together. Cut a 19” piece of batting seam tape and cut it in half lengthwise. With the rough side facing down, lay the narrow strip of batting seam tape over the join with one side of the tape positioned just next to the stitching line of the seam. Once again, to protect the tape from the iron, overlap the backing fabric over the join before pressing for 3 seconds with a dry iron.
Fold the raw edge of the appliqué block under to meet the stitching line of the join and slip stitch in place. Note: The top and bottom edges of this join do not need to be separate for joining the horizontal seams.
To quilt between the blocks before the rows are joined together, you'll need to make a quilting stencil with a 4” x 19” piece of tulle, a black permanent marking pen and a blue water erasable pen with a medium tip.
Centre the tulle on top of the quilting design that is located on the pattern sheet in the magazine. This is where you will shorten the stencil by 1/2" in both of the curved sections to make the stencil measure 18" long. Pin in place and mark the design with the permanent marking pen. When dry, double check that the markings are permanent by wiping over with a damp cloth.
Working on the top row first, place the tulle stencil over a join, aligning the centre line with the seam and the outer diamonds positioned ½” away from the top and bottom edge. Pin in place and trace over the quilting design with the blue water erasable pen.
Remove the tulle stencil and you will see that a light blue imprint of the quilting design is visible on the fabric.
Thread your machine with a thread to match the background fabric and a bobbin to match the backing fabric. Attach the walking foot, a size 80 quilting needle and set your stitch to a length between 2.5 and 3.0.
Quilt on the marked line. If your machine has a suitable tie off key then use it to start and finish, otherwise start and finish with 6 small stitches with a length of 0.5. Always quilt in the same direction as this will prevent the fabric from having a twisted and puckered appearance.
Sew another row of quilting on the outer edge of the design that is spaced about a ¼” away from the first, starting level with the side corners of the top and bottom diamonds. For this “echo” quilting you can use the edge of your walking foot, if your foot is too wide then try moving the needle position to achieve the desired spacing.
The joins of the middle row are quilted in a slightly different way. Once again, place the tulle stencil over one of the joins, aligning the centre line with the seam and the outer diamonds positioned ½” (12 mm) away from the top and bottom edge. Pin in place and trace over the quilting design with the blue water erasable pen but do not trace the top and bottom diamonds. Remove the tulle and use some safety pins to hold the layers of the join together as this join is not as stable as the joins of the top and bottom rows.
Quilt the marked design then echo quilt on either side of the design starting and finishing level with the top and bottom points of the design
Quilt the other join of the centre row in the same way.
Now join the 3 rows together.
The rows are joined together with the almost traditional technique, to do this, place the middle row on top of an outer (top or bottom) row with the right sides facing. Separate the batting and backing from the middle row and pin only the quilt top layer of the middle row to all 3 layers of the outer row making sure that the seams are aligned.
Carefully press the seam towards the middle row and lay the work onto your table with the quilt top facing down. Once again you will see that the batting is too big. Trim the batting away from the edge of the middle row so that it butts up against the edge of the seam. For best results, mark the excess batting first using a ruler and cut with scissors.
With the right side of the quilt facing up position the tulle stencil over the seam. The quilting design will fit neatly in place with diamonds meeting at the seam junction. Always position an outer diamond ½” away from the edge of the quilt. Trace over the quilting design with the blue water erasable pen, to connect the quilting design, trace in another diamond on the middle row at the seam junction. Continue marking the rest of the seam.
Quilt over the join as previously instructed, connecting quilting lines where necessary
Join the remaining outer row onto the middle row by repeating the above steps
Attach a border to one side of the quilt edge in the following way; with the quilt top facing up, place a 57” backing border strip under the edge of the quilt with the right side up, then place a 57” main border strip on top of the quilt with the right side facing down. Pin all layers together. (The borders are purposely cut a little bit longer to allow for shrinkage and will be trimmed after they are quilted). Sew through all layers with a ½” seam allowance.
Press the borders out, away from the quilt. Place a strip of batting between the top and bottom borders, aligning the edge of the batting with the edge of the seam allowance. If using the fusible batting, iron the layers of the border together, otherwise hold together with safety pins
Onto the border, starting at the seam, mark 5 straight lines with the blue water erasable pen that are spaced 1” apart. Quilt the marked lines using a thread to match the border fabric and a bobbin to match the backing fabric.
Sew the opposite side border onto the quilt in the same way.
When the side borders are complete, trim the top and bottom edges so that they are level with the quilt.
Sew the top and bottom borders onto the quilt in the same way. When marking the quilting lines that are spaced 1” apart, extend the lines of the side borders to connect with the quilting lines of the top and bottom borders at right angles, this way the quilting lines will run parallel around the quilt. Quilt the top and bottom borders then trim them level with the side edges of the quilt.
Trim away any excess batting from the side edges of the border so that all layers of the quilt are level.
To complete the quilting, place the tulle stencil on the edge of the quilt with the centre line aligned with the border seam. Position the stencil so that it fits in with the rest of the quilting design. Mark the stencil onto the background fabric only with the water erasable pen and quilt as previously instructed
To finish, just bind the quilt.