Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More on reversible quilts

So, after a while, I developed two workshops to teach--one for making the 16 blocks, and a second class to teach how to put the blocks together, and how to make and apply the binding that is different fabric on the two sides of the quilt.  I just enjoyed the heck out of teaching it.  It was lots of fun.  The pictures above show one of my grandquilts that was made for the quilter's granddaughter.  I liked her fabric choices, and so did the little girl.  Putting the blocks together involves cutting strips of two different fabrics that look nice with the blocks.  For one side, the strips are cut two inches wide and then pressed so that the raw edges meet in the middle, resembling bias tape, but cut on the grain of the fabric.  The other side, the strips are cut at one and seven eighth inches, and again pressed like bias tape.  At the end of the first class, I had all the students use a square ruler to find out which was the smallest of the blocks they had made (the blocks always shrink some when being sewn, and they don't all shrink the same amount--I have no idea why that is) and then trim all the blocks to squares that size.  When the class was over, I told them to take the blocks home and try them out in different designs to see what is pleasing to them.  My class sample was in the design that would be called Straight Furrows if it were a Log Cabin block.  This student chose to make a different design, and for the life of me, I can't remember what it's called right this minute.  If you recognize it, please make a comment below to let us know the name.  I'm not able to get at my books right now.

Never mind, I just looked it up on Google, and it's the Sunshine and Shadows variant.  :)

So, the next step is a little tricky the first time, but I had them each cut a strip of the two inch wide fabric, and sew it onto the blocks with a half inch seam allowance, then join another block to it, again with a half inch seam allowance.  Use a thread color in the bobbin that will look nice on the other side of the quilt, since it will show.  If everything goes right, then when those seams are pressed and the blocks are flat on a table, the edges of the blocks will just butt up together, with no overlap, and no gap.  If this doesn't happen, then one of the seams has to be ripped out and adjusted until it does.  Then you just continue to sew the blocks together in pairs.  Once they're all sewn, you take one of the pairs, lay it on the table with the raw edges showing on the back of the blocks.  You will see two rows of stitching on that side, where the other side was sewn on.  You then cut a piece of the one and seven eighth inch wide fabric, lay it down between the rows of stitching, put a thread color in the bobbin that either matches the color of the sashing on the other side, or contrasts nicely, and a thread color on top that will look nice with this sashing strip, and pin them as much as you need to hold things nice and even.  Then you just topstitch the strip down.  Presto, you have two blocks of your quilt all done.  You continue until all the blocks are in pairs.  Then, you just sew them into four patches, sew two four patches together, and then one long seam.  You will need to do some judicious pinning to be sure that things line up evenly, of course.  Tomorrow, I'll talk about the two-sided binding, again a combo of things learned from more than one workshop I've attended.  It shows up quite nicely in the bottom picture above.  As you can see, this quilter expanded on the small quilt I showed in the class, making twice as many blocks.

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