Friday, August 23, 2013

QUILT AS YOU GO {TIPS TO REMEMBER}



WHEN
I made my 
I decided to try the
Quilt As You Go (QAYG)
 method
at the last minute.

While I was quilting,
I jotted down a few tips that I wanted to remember for next time.




This is my Blueberry Crumb Quilt.
You can read about this quilt saga HERE
.
There are a couple of links within the post which
will lead you to all of the posts related to the quilt.

As I mentioned before,
this was my first time
using the QAYG method.

I did a quick (meaning I remember reading about it somewhere)
search of the blogs
and I found this tutorial on

I followed her tutorial
and I made a few notes for my own personal reference.
Her are my thoughts:

Quilting the Blocks

  • After you have made all of your blocks, cut your quilt batting into squares that measure at least 1" larger than you block on all sides. 
    • In the case of my quilt, the blocks were 12 1/2" so I cut the batting squares to 14 1/2".
    • Pros:This is an excellent way to use up your scrap pieces of quilt batting that you have left over from previous projects.
    • Cons: This is a time consuming process. In my case, I needed a total of  90 blocks for the two quilts and it seemed like I was cutting quilt batting forever...just ask my tennis elbow & empty bottle of Advil.

  • Place the quilt blocks in the center of the quilt batting. Baste the blocks using your preferred method. I tend to use the curved quilter's safety pins and boy did I use a ton of them on this project.
    • Pros: I found it much easier to baste each individual block versus basting an entire quilt at once (My knees were much happier that I didn't have to spend all of that time bending over my quilt on the tile floor!)
    • I set everything up into piles: one pile of quilt blocks, one pile of quilt batting squares, and one large container of safety pins. Whenever I had a free moment, I would walk over and baste a few quilt squares.
    • In the end, I had a hefty pile of basted quilt squares that were ready at a moment's notice to be quilted.


  • Quilt each square using your preferred method.
    • I am a fanatic for straight line quilting using my walking foot. For these quilts and this QAYG method, I thought that it would be great to quilt each quilt block differently.  I chose 4 different straight line quilting motifs:

Squares Within Squares


Diagonal Lines


Horizontal Lines



X Marks The Spot (which was my favorite)

    • Pros: This is a time friendly process. I would sit down in between tasks (like doing homework, walking the dog, making dinner, etc.) and I would quilt a few blocks! Before I knew it I was done quilting all of the blocks.
    • This was also the least stressed out that I have ever been when quilting a quilt! I don't know about you, but when I normally quilt my quilts I tense up: my shoulders get stiff and I tend to wrinkle my brow because I am concentrating really hard on what I am doing! (and wrinkling anything is not a good thing) Not this time, just me and my blocks without a care in the world.
    • I also liked the fact that I didn't have a HUGE quilt just hanging/sitting on my quilt table...you know what I mean...when you stop quilting for a minute/or an hour and your quilt is sitting at you machine with the needle down!

  • When all of the blocks are quilted, trim the blocks down to the appropriate size.
    • Pros: All of your blocks are perfectly quilted and cut to the correct size.
    • Cons: Once again, this is a time consuming step, which didn't help my carpal tunnel and requirement for more Advil.




    • In the end, I loved looking at the back of all of those quilted blocks. They made such a lovely stack:



Joining The Blocks Together


  • With Right Sides Together (RST), sew two quilted blocks together. 
    • Matching your seams together using this method can be tricky because you really can't see your seams because of the quilt batting.


    • I checked and rechecked my seams several times to make sure that they would match up. Be sure to use LOTS of pins during this step.
  • After you have sewn your blocks together, press the back seams OPEN. This will help to reduce the bulk that can easily become a hot mess.




  • Continue to joins all of your squares into rows. Press each of your seams OPEN.




  • Once all of the rows have been sewn together, give the front of the quilt a really, really good pressing.
Adding The Backing Fabric

  • Now you will add the quilted top to your backing fabric. 
    • I did this the same way that I would normally baste a quilt...the good old fashioned quilt sandwich.
    • Pros: The top of the quilt was already quilted and I didn't have to deal with all of those "puckering" issues that you normally have when you are trying to smooth out the three layers of the quilt.
    • Cons: I had to get back down on the floor to baste the three layers together...once again my aching knees. Because of the weight of the quilt, I used a lot of pins just to be sure that everything was secure. I haven't used spray baste in a long time and it might be a good option for the QAYG method.

  • Add your final stitches to join the backing fabric.
    • Since the front/quilt top was already quilted, I chose to simply stitch in the ditch along all of the rows and columns. I didn't want to add any additional quilting lines to the front of the quilt and it gives the back of the quilt a simple, completed look.

Final Thoughts

  • I enjoyed the QAYG process and I would do it again for all of my larger quilts. 
  • Remember that with all of the additional cutting of the quilt batting and basting of each quilt block, this process takes much longer than the usual quilting process.
  • I would practice on a smaller project before tackling something larger.
  • I would also be cautious if you have lots of points on the block that need to match up when you are joining your blocks together because you really can't see the seams because of the quilt batting.
  • I give the process "two thumbs up"!


Until Next Time...Happy Quilting

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84 comments:

  1. These are all great tips. Thanks for sharing them so clearly and the photos help a lot. I will try this method on one of my smaller quilt projects.

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  2. Thanks for all the suggestions. I have not yet tried QAYG but it will eventually. I am bookmarking your post for future reference. Your quilt is so pretty and looks so snuggly! I want to know, though, where is that puppy???

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  3. Thanks for the tips. I still haven't tried this method...one day

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  4. What did you back each quilt block with before quilting? Does it make thw quilt stiff having an extra layer of quilting in there?

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    Replies
    1. What extra layer? After quilting the fabric block to the batting a backing fabric is added.

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  5. This came at just the right time, I have a stack of improv scrappy blocks that need to be made up into a quilt.

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  6. Thank you for the clear list of pros and cons!
    Your quilt is very pretty!
    Esther
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo dot com
    Ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

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  7. I have had to give up working on the floor. Instead, I bought a small table and the clips for fastening tablecloths to picnic tables. I can clamp each layer of a quilt separately. I pin paste the center, then remove and reposition the quilt until it has been completely pinned. - I appreciate your list of pros and cons. They are very helpful. I enjoy the photos of your pretty quilt and especially like your quilting.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your idea. It'll be sure to remember that! Lol

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    2. Excellent tip about using those tablecloth clips! Thanks for sharing.

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    3. What size is your seam allowance when sewing sqs together?

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  8. Great tips!! I am going to give this method a try. =)

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  9. Thanks for sharing this quilting method. I think I will give it a try.

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  10. It's really an amazing tip, thanks for the sharing and just keep up the good work.


    http://www.invillas.com/

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  11. Popped over from The Patchsmith blog to checkout your Valentine table runner and have enjoyed looking around. Love your great tips. I'll be sure to make me a note as I'm not sure what I had for breakfast either lol! Thanks, Sarah

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  12. I guess I'm the only one but I've done a large quilt as you go and the one thing that I consider a major Negative/Con is the back never looks good. The seams made by sewing together the blocks with the quilted batting great unsightly lumps. Everyone I've asked about it who has made these quilts just says, "it's not seen so it doesn't matter", but it matters to me.

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    1. I don't like that either! I discovered it when I made a quilt for my granddaughter. So I fused fusible fleece to the backing before attaching it. Made it difficult to quilt through 4 layers. Next one I will quilt the backing to additional batting first and then attach.

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  13. I guess I'm the only one but I've done a large quilt as you go and the one thing that I consider a major Negative/Con is the back never looks good. The seams made by sewing together the blocks with the quilted batting great unsightly lumps. Everyone I've asked about it who has made these quilts just says, "it's not seen so it doesn't matter", but it matters to me.

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    Replies
    1. Check Leah Day videos on qayg. Much easier than this

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  14. I have seen other QAYG methods where the batting is cut smaller that the quilt top and backing. That way the batting is not part of the seam. Have you tried that? Your quilt turned out beautifully!!

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    Replies
    1. That's called Fun & Done, I've done two of those personally and it's a great technique. This post, while has good info, it isn't really a QAYG technique. That is just a traditional styled quilting where you're adding the batting and then stitching in the ditch on the backing, defeating the point of a true QAYG project. Which is to keep the bulk of your project to the left of your needle. I agree it's a lovely outcome, but QAYG it's not.

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    2. I'm working on my very first, simple blocks quilt. I'm a little worried about my machine handling the bulk. I'm fascinated by the QAYG method, and I like what Pamela H suggested. Why couldn't you cut the batting smaller than the block (1/4") yes, and still quilt each block, then stitch in the ditch the back?

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  15. I have seen other QAYG methods where the batting is cut smaller that the quilt top and backing. That way the batting is not part of the seam. Have you tried that? Your quilt turned out beautifully!!

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    Replies
    1. I also thought of that. Cutting the batting about 1/4” smaller that the completed block. I just think if the batting is the same size, it can become bulky of the seam sites even though the seams are opened and ironed. Thank you for all your tips. Nice quilting done...

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  16. I saw a quilt constructed this way just last week. I was amazed that the seams weren't too bulky. I really enjoyed reading this post. Well done! I'm glad it is alive and well on Pinterest!

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  17. When I do QAYG, I quilt the top block to the batting and backing all at one time. I trim a quarter inch of the batting away, and then join the blocks, either with or without narrow sashing. If I use narrow sashing, I do not have to cut away the quarter inch of the batting, which is easier and I like the result. Sashing is also applied to cover the seams on the back.

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  18. Great ideas!!I love it. One of these days I will you my many leftovers of fabric and batting and do the QAYG quilts. Can you use any kind of batting like warm and white or just regular soft batting?

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  19. Was there a specific reason you quilted the quilt with batting side up? I've seen this method done batting side down and it came out just as good.

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  20. Was there a specific reason you quilted the quilt with batting side up? I've seen this method done batting side down and it came out just as good.

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  21. There is another way to do this, I think is easier. lay out your quilt backing face down, cut the batting 1 inch smaller on all sides, lay a block square same size as the ftont.
    pin in place all three pieces, place the block back to back on the front bloca matching the backing and sew together, press on the front open seams, fold under the seames on the top, fold under the extending on the front, makes a beautiful designs. I hope you can understand this way.

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    Replies
    1. I usually do the 2" Bigger on the backing fabric and then the blocks are smaller along with the batting. It's called Fun & Done. Love it. I agree, Fun & done seems easier to me than this technique. I never would have tried quilting if I had to do a big stitch in the ditch on the backing this way.

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  22. There is another way to do this, I think is easier. lay out your quilt backing face down, cut the batting 1 inch smaller on all sides, lay a block square same size as the ftont.
    pin in place all three pieces, place the block back to back on the front bloca matching the backing and sew together, press on the front open seams, fold under the seames on the top, fold under the extending on the front, makes a beautiful designs. I hope you can understand this way.

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  23. I'm pretty sure I've seen what you described in several UTube tapes.
    -I have made rows.... will be using iron-on batting and quilting the 3 layers.
    You must not quilt to the very edge but leave a 1/2 or 1/4 inch free.... Sew the back together lined up with the batting, then fold the batt. together; then fold over the free fabric on the top and stitch by hand so no extra seam shows on the back.

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  24. I'm pretty sure I've seen what you described in several UTube tapes.
    -I have made rows.... will be using iron-on batting and quilting the 3 layers.
    You must not quilt to the very edge but leave a 1/2 or 1/4 inch free.... Sew the back together lined up with the batting, then fold the batt. together; then fold over the free fabric on the top and stitch by hand so no extra seam shows on the back.

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  25. I love this method of quilting larger quilts! Because I use "Warm and Natural" batting this is particularly effective as the batting is not fluffy. I spray baste my backing because I am WAY to lazy to spend a lot of time pinning. I don't like to stitch in the ditch so I straight line quilt about an 8th of an inch on either side of the block seam line. That also helps keep the batting seams flat. Thanks for posting your notes!

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    Replies
    1. Suzan many thanks for mentioning your way of stitching next to the ditch, its an excellent idea.

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  26. I did not take the time to read all the comments. So this question might be in here already, but would it work to make the batting a quarter inch shorter then the block all the way around? That way when it comes time to see the blocks together you could see the seams easier since you don't need batting in the seams?

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    Replies
    1. I think this is how QAYG is usually done. It certainly makes for flatter seams.

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  27. I did not take the time to read all the comments. So this question might be in here already, but would it work to make the batting a quarter inch shorter then the block all the way around? That way when it comes time to see the blocks together you could see the seams easier since you don't need batting in the seams?

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  28. I think you've made my day! I've been quilting QOV on my machine, to save sending them out to a long armer and I love the idea of doing the backing last. I also think I would zig zag the seams flat after joining them, just to make sure there was no bulk or "stray" humps. Great tutorial! I can't wait to try this!!

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  29. This method looks great....I guess you have to use cotton batting, since you are ironing the batting. I have just started using a puffy batting, and everyone LOVES the puffy quilts. I don't suppose I can use this method with the puffy batting though....thoughts? Barb Taylor

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  30. thank you for this im going to give it a go because i am always busy doing something and this will give me a chance to make a quilt even though my life is pretty hectic! thank you

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  31. I just found this pin on Pinterest.
    It is great. My only tiny addition of advice would be, clean your machine area, especially the sole plate and under that. Lots of fuzzy fuzz.
    I have not tried this QAYG, but I am going to try it because it is just like making mats, mug rugs and such and I have a zillion large quilt blocks that need to be made in to something
    Thank you for the inspiration

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  32. Thank uou o very much. Now I will not hesitate any longer in finishing my qayg project!!

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  33. I haven't tried this, and it would take time, but would it be possible to slip-baste your rows before sewing together to make certain corners match? The way I envision this is to press under one of the seam allowances of the two seams you are joining. Lay that piece over the other, just covering its seam allowance. (A few pins would be helpful here, especially at the places you want to match.) Using a hand needle with a doubled thread and knotted end, run the needle through the fold of the top row for about 1/2 inch, bring out your needle and take a 1/2 inch stitch along the seamline of the lower row. Bring your needle up (on a matching point if one is close)and place it in the fold, directly opposite (again at the matching point). Bring your needle out again about 1/2 inch from where you went in and continue this stitching back and forth (carefully matching as you sew) between the two rows you plan to machine sew together. When you get to the end, tie threads securely--do not pull thread tight. Lay your basted together rows on a flat surface. Carefully unfold the seam allowance so that the two rows are again right sides together. (You might want to press lightly so you have no puckers in your seams. Using basting as a guide, sew along the seamline. (If your basting wavers a little, keep your seam allowances an even width.) Check to make sure your matching points match up. Make any corrections needed then remove your basting and press seam open.

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  34. Great tips. Thank you for sharing. I do want to share with you how to help with your issue of working on the floor. After have knee replacement last year I was unable to kneel. So, I hung my batting on my design wall, sprayed it with basting spray. Then, I pinned my backing along the top and allowed it to fall, while helping with my hands to remain straight. Once completely smoothed I pinned and flipped around and did the same thing with the quilt top. Viola! It worked so well I do this for all my quilts. Very easy and no bending or kneeling.

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    Replies
    1. I know just what you mean. I have a knee replacement and am waiting to have the other done. Kneeling just does not happen in my world. I also spread everything over my dining table. You walk round in lots of circles but it's better than kneeling down.

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    2. I have knee replacements too so not kneeling on the floor. I do have a large kitchen table. I lay out my quilt sandwich so that I can start pinning from the center out. Then move the whole thing from one direction or the other to finish each side/corner. Much easier on the knees AND the back!

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  35. This is a great way to try being a bit more adventurous with free motion. It's a lot easier with smaller blocks and you can experiment a bit.

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  36. Stupid question, but what size are your seams when you join your squares? I'm thinking of doing this on my next project.

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    Replies
    1. When I made a baby quilt like this, I sewed my quilted blocks together with a 1/2 inch seam. After adding the backing, I quilted 1/4 inch on both sides of all the seams to ensure flat seams. Nobody can tell it was joined QAYG blocks- not even experienced quilters- because the bulk is barely noticeable this way. (I used Warm & Natural which is already a low loft batting.)

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  37. I don't understand the stitch in the ditch on this. If the seams are pressed open, then you are only stitching through the connecting stitches which would weaken them. Am I thinking right?

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    Replies
    1. Only if you press your seams open. Pressed to the side eliminates this.

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  38. Thank you, i like to make quilts for charity and i am certainly going to try this.

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  39. Thank you for sharing ... I like your tips ...
    it seems easier for a beginner like me.

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  40. Going to try my first quilt this way. Thanks for all the hints and comments.

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  41. Would this method work for a t-shirt quilt?

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  42. After seeing this method done years ago by someone else, I always make my larger quilts this way and it hasn't failed me yet. I've had some people say their batting gets down in the feed dogs, but I think the batting you choose makes the difference as well. I have a embroidery machine and I often do smaller quilts on the embroidery machine using edge to edge quilting designs. I love this method as well. But I will never go back to trying to quilt a large quilt on a sewing machine. The way you describe and how I do it, you can be more creative with each block and its so much easier to turn a small block than a 108x108 size quilt! lol.

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  43. What batting do you use for this quilt?

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  44. I have a basic $100 Brother machine so I’ve never been able to quilt my own blankets. This is the best tutorial I’ve come across to maybe, finally, be able to do them all on my own.

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  45. I have never basted on the floor. I drape everything over my kitchen or dining room table. I start pinning in the middle and smooth as I go

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  46. I have never basted on the floor. I drape everything over my kitchen or dining room table. I start pinning in the middle and smooth as I go

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  47. I have never basted on the floor. I drape everything over my kitchen or dining room table. I start pinning in the middle and smooth as I go

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  48. In my quilters group we tend to add the backing to the top and wadding blocks, so you quilt all three layers at the same time. Various ways of adding or sewing in of the sashing.

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  49. I am really a newbie quilter and my first blocks that so cut are not so nice and pretty as yours. What seam should I take? 5/8 or les

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  50. Looking for ideas. How to make a quilt using t shirts or clothes.

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    Replies
    1. Use interfacing on the back of the T-shirts (the iron on kind) then use them to make your quilt blocks. When I did one I alternated a t-shirt with a regular cotton square.

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  51. I like using Quilter's Basting Spray to adhere my back to the filling (I use flannel or The Warm Company) and I stick the top on with the same stuff. It is so much easier to quilt now that I use that.

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  52. I am in the process of doing a Memory quilt with T-shirts and personal photos. What type of top quilting do you suggest for the photo squares? All squares are 12" finish size.

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  53. I notice you said that you cut your batting bigger than the block. So you DON'T quilt near the edges? That gives you the 1/4 allowance to join the pieces together? I'm new to quilting and I do know about the knees and back so I do want to give this a go. Just making sure of everything. I did a few rags quilts but you cut the batting smaller than the block so there is plenty of room for the seam. Thank you

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  54. I find it best to make quilts for QAYG method with 1/2 inch seam allowances. This change makes joining quilted blocks a lot easier and, ironically, makes it easier to deal with the bulk at the seams as long as you press the seams open. Also, another option with this method is, before quilting, to divide your quilt top into sections and then piece and quilt each section instead of each block. If it is a simple repeating block as in a traditional quilt design, divide the quilt top into 3 or 4 sections, QAYG each section, then join the sections as you would individual blocks as seen in this video. This makes for much less basting and fewer seams to match up. Again I use 1/2 inch seams BETWEEN sections, with traditional 1/4 inch seams WITHIN the sections. If your quilt top is not of a tradition repeating design, it can often be divided into sections according to the design of the top. Sections do not have to be of equal size. (No one will know you did it in sections.) Size is determined by the overall design of the top and what the particular design makes possible. For larger quilts, I try to choose or create designs that lend themselves to being divided up in this fashion because I SO hate quilting large quilt sandwiches on my small machine. Sometimes you can tweak the design to make this procedure possible.

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  55. Great tips and a your quilt is adorable. I’m curious if you were using a rotary cutter or scissors for your cutting and trimming. A rotary cutter can cut several layers at a time and usually causes less fatigue on wrists and elbows.
    One method I like is to layer all three layers at once: backing, batting and front, with the batting cut to fit just inside the seam line. All your quilting then goes through all three layers at once, without any bulk from seam allowances. Truly QAYG, as each block is literally a mini quilt! Then the blocks are assembled WRONG sides together and the seam allowances are clipped rag style. This requires larger seam allowances, but eliminates extra trimming, pressing, the second round of quilting, puckers on the back, and the need for binding!

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  56. As Jenny Pie said, I quilt all three layers at once. I trim the batting to the seam line so I don't have batting in the seams. I join the front of the quilt blocks right side together. Then I join the seams on the back with a hand sewn blind stitch. My final quilting is to quilt in the ditch for all the seams. It takes a little longer with the hand sewing but I like the looks of the finished quilt.

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