Saturday, February 18, 2012

Machine Quilting With Leah Day - Week 7

When I first started quilting in the late 1980's the Quilt As You Go method was very popular. I first learned about it from watching Georgia Bonesteel on a PBS TV program. Despite my curiosity about it and even its practicality I never gave it a try.

The point behind QAYG is two fold. When most of piecing and quilting was done by hand quilting was very portable. This method allowed you to bring your quilting with you where ever you went and when you had a spare moment piece or quilt a portable section of a quilt, usually a block. It was often used in friendship quilts when friends would make blocks for each other's quilts. This way a friend received not just a pieced block, but the block was already quilted. Today more and more quilts are being almost completely executed by machine. However, when it comes to quilting on a domestic machine large quilts are difficult maneuver, especially during the quilting phase since there is insufficient space between the needle on the left and the motor section of the machine on the right. By breaking down the quilt into smaller sections maneuverability is no longer a space issue.

QAYG works by butting up already quilted sections of quilt and hiding the juncture with a strip of fabric on both the front and back side.



Using samples made during earlier weeks, I created a table runner shape. On the front side I covered the junctures with a rose colored fabric. I chose a delicate floral design fabric for the back of the quilt. Note how the channels become a design element. That is one of the reasons I have never tried QAYG. My quilts are non traditional art quilts that don't lend themselves to vertical and horizontal strips. 

Front Channels

I was very, make that VERY pleasantly surprised by how flat and smooth the channels in the front came out. I am a persnickety quilter and these passed with flying colors.

Back Channel

After the primary work is done attaching the two quilt segments with channels front and back you are left with one side of the back channel to sew down either by machine or hand. I couldn't bring myself to sew it by machine. I am just too fussy and machine stitches would show on the front. I opted to sew the left side of the channel by hand. If you click on the image labeled Back Channel you should be able to see my hand stitches. It did occur to me that a Crazy Quilt, where decorative stitches are an integral element of the quilt, would be well suited to having the channels sewn by machine using a decorative stitch. 

I would change one aspect of Leah's directions. She has you cut the back channel strip 1.5" wide and fold it in half, creating a 0.75" wide strip. Folds, no matter how crisply pressed always take up a thread or two. Therefore, the 0.75" is more like 0.70" and falls slightly short of the machine stitch line it should be hiding. I would prefer to make my strip lightly oversized for the back and cut it 1.75" wide instead, thus guaranteeing coverage.


  1. WOW, your hand stitch in gorgeous.

  2. Like you, Gwyned, I was very pleasantly surprised at just how neat and smooth the finished joins are. I used the machine to finish mine, because crazy is a pretty good description of the combination of practice pieces that I put together!

  3. Your work, as always gorgeous! I agree about the oversized strip. I have used this method in the past and always made the back strip just a bit bigger. ~Jeanne

  4. Gwyned, thank you for the trivia on QAYG method. That was helpful.
    Your pieces do look perfect. For some reason even I preferred to stitch the back binding with hand. It definitely looked better.

  5. Thank you all, for sharing your thoughts and kind comments. It helps keep me motivated.

  6. I'm impressed with how smooth the channels turned out. I may give this a try - looks beautiful!

  7. Thank you. It was impressive. I thought for sure it would look lumpy or shift.

  8. I like your use of a different print for the back joining strip. I had not thought of it. Lovely work Gwyneth. Well done!

  9. There are so many rules we impose on ourselves without realizing it - Like the front strip must be same as the back. :) I am glad I could provide you with an ah, ha moment.