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Wazzup!?! Ruth Made A Quilt!

Ruth took on the task to make a 104" square Irish themed quilt for a couple. She searched and found a beautiful print of Celtic designs. Also found was matching fabric for the borders, blocks, and background.

They wanted warm, wool batting, which we could get from Quilters' Dream Batting.

The pattern chosen was Ruth's "Sash of Lightning" [RGR183]. The Celtic blocks would be placed in the alternate blocks of the quilt.

That was the easy part. The rest of this newsletter covers the issues that quilters deal with, as well as Ruth's solutions.
Printed Fabric

Panels can be beautiful. Some scream to be fussy-cut, as did this Celtic one. Sometimes the problem is that the fabric designer is only interested in art and not quilting. Quilters have to be interested in measurements whereas designers are primarily interested in art.

In the Celtic print, the blocks appear square. However they are slightly rectangular. And, "slightly" does not work in quilting.

They also sometimes do not lend themselves to be cut to normal quilting measurements. The are just a little bit off of a normal size. And, "a little bit off" does not work in quilting.

The fabric she chose had rectangular blocks of an unusual size and our pattern had square blocks of a normal size!

Oh, my!
Paper Piecing

Ruth's pattern was designed for patchwork piecing. The odd measurements of the printed fabric blocks required that Ruth use the technique of paper piecing to accurately create equal sized alternate blocks.

Removing the velum after the piecing was completed was a small price to pay for such an accurate, beautiful quilt!

The background was pure white. The pattern fabric was dark green. [Are you picturing dark green threads showing through the white background on the finished quilt? Ruth did.]

The solution was to zigzag every seam between the white and a darker colored fabrics. This is in addition to the straight stitching of every seam to begin with. [Warning: do not piece using a zigzag stitch as a zigzag stitch is very elastic and the top will stretch during longarming!]

The seams have to be pressed towards the darker color. The zigzag stitches will minimize any loose threads that are always present otherwise.

Most often, quilts are made to the size of a pattern. In this case it had to be made to the size of the bed: 104".

Quilts shrink in size during longarming. The thicker and fluffier the batting, the more the shrinkage. What you start with can easily shrink 1% to 3%. When you use fluffy batting like wool, shrinkage can be 3% to 4%.

To take this into account you can start by saying "what if..." and calculate like mad, ending up in "analysis paralysis". Or, you can add a margin for error and simply make your outer borders larger than they will be at the end. In our case Ruth had the overall quilt size [before quilting] to be 110" for the ending size of 104".

After all of the stitching was done, she trimmed the quilt to 104" square.

Too often longarming is treated in the same manner as borders - just throw on an edge-to-edge. That's the way this quilt started out, too. But, upon seeing how beautiful the quilt was, she just had to add custom borders, two of them, to be exact, to the edge-to-edge center.

One of our Chantilly Lace patterns was used for the edge-to-edge center.
We needed a Celtic theme. We had some, but they didn't work for the quilt borders. Ruth scoured the web, but had limited success.

The result was that we purchased two patterns for the borders. The inner border was to be used as is.

Ruth had to modify the design for the outer border on the Innova. She wanted to limit double stitching so she chose to have the borders as separate, rather than connected, designs. This resulted in more tie-offs and buried ends than if the designs were continuous but it offset the dangers of double stitching.

It was worth it.

Her choices really paid off.
Enjoy your blessings!
At Forever In Stitches our goal is to further the art of quilting and longarming.
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