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Machine Minute: Quilt As You Go

Quilt as you go is a fun technique that allows you to get the whole project finished at one time--the piecing and quilting are done together so that when you've completed the top, all you have left to do is bind the project.

Fri, 11 Apr 2014|

Hi, I'm Jennifer, here with another Machine Minute brought to you by Baby Lock and the Crescendo machine. Quilt-as-you-go is a fun technique that allows you to complete a quilt (all the parts of it--the piecing, the quilting, everything except the binding) as you add pieces. I'm going to share this technique with you today. It's an easy way to finish a project in a jiffy. No matter what you're making--it can be a throw size, a table runner, a place mat (I'm working on a little holiday decoration),  the first thing you want to start with is your backing fabric right side down. On top on that, layer your batting. Then, I'm going to be working with strips. And in quilt-as-you-go, you do want to work with pieces that aren't too big because you want to keep in mind how far apart your quilting lines are. So, you wouldn't want to work with a 10"- or 12"-wide strip, because you'd have too much open space between your stitching lines and you'd have to go back and quilt that later. So keeping your strips narrow enough that once you add your seam lines your quilting is done is key. Then, I'm going to take my first strip; I lay it down right side up on top of the batting and the backing. I start in the middle of my project and I'm going to be working out toward both edges as I go. My second strip goes right side down atop that first strip. Now I've got my ends extending a little bit beyond the batting and that's where I want it to be. I'm going to be using a walking foot for this project. It's a great time to use a walking foot if you have one on your machine, because it helps keep all the layers smooth without any puckers as you're stitching. So I'm going to start right at the edge of my batting. I've got my pieces lined up. And if it was important for you to keep things straight (on my project it's just sort of a free-form piecing), but if it was important you could mark some lines where you kept things lined up. And then I'm just going to start stitching right down that seam where I want to join those two pieces. The walking foot helps keep the top fabric and the bottom fabric moving along at the same rate. So my first two pieces are in place. And at this stage, I'm just going to open them up and finger-press that seam. Then I'm ready to add the next piece. I'll put it right sides together with the second piece I added, and I'll sew that in place. I'll get to the other end and cut my thread again. And then again, I'll open up that piece and finger-press the seam. Now at this point, I might turn my piece around and start going in the opposite direction, as well. And I'll add another piece to this side with, again, right sides together. I'll keep building out to the edges. But what's happening as I stitch along here is not only am I'm seaming my pieces together on the top, but I'm also quilting along as I go on the back. So by the time I make it to each outside edge, the project is finished except for the binding. Quilt-as-you-go: sometimes it's called fun and done. Find a pattern that you'd like to experiment with, and see if you don't enjoy your project more when start to finish, you're quilting as you go.