Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kaleidoscope QAL: Wrapping it up

It's time to wrap up the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along this week!  I'll be wrapping things up in two posts - this one here, with your instructions for finishing up your quilt, and a second post with my finished quilt and a place to link up your finished quilts momentarily.  If you haven't stopped by the Flickr group yet, you absolutely should.  There is some serious eye candy to be seen over there!!  I love how different each quilter is making their Kaleidoscope, this is precisely what makes quilt-alongs so much fun.

When it comes to finishing your quilt, there's four basic steps: making/purchasing a quilt back, basting your quilt sandwich, quilting, and binding.

I'm a fan of pieced backs.  I know, it can be tedious to piece a quilt back, after piecing a top, but think about it this way - it's a great way to use some scraps you've created in cutting fabrics for your quilt top, and it's also  a way to exercise your creativity.  See what you've got and make it work!  For my quilt, I took 3 yds of a coordinating print for my quilt, and added a 16" strip of scraps from the front of my quilt.  I'm really happy with how the back turned out on this one.  If you're thinking about trying a pieced back, here's a little mosaic of some of my favorite recent quilt backs...

Now that you've made a quilt back and cut a piece of batting to go with, it's time to make your quilt sandwich.  I'm a big fan of spray basting.  My knees just don't like pin basting, nor does my back.  Spray basting saves me not only time but some sanity, too.  It's really quite simple to do, but if you've never done it before, check out my bloggy buddy Kristie's fantastic spray basting tutorial - the only thing I do differently is that I add a few pins around the outside edges of my quilt sandwich, just to be on the safe side.

Once you've basted, it's time to start quilting.  I'm a free-motion quilter most of the time, especially for large projects.  While I love how straight-line quilting looks, I get bored when I quilt that way, so I like how free-motion quilting keeps me moving constantly.  Usually, I go for a meandering stipple, which is like an "S" turned and twisted throughout the quilt, but for this one, I went with little loops - though my toddler says that the quilting is a bee's path.  If you're interested in trying free motion quilting for the first time, or you are still fairly new at it, you might want to pop over to read a few tips for FMQ'ing that I wrote a while back.   If you're more interested in straight line quilting, Amy wrote a great tutorial that should help you get started.

Kaleidoscope - quilting close-up

Binding is kind of a personal choice.  I tend to stick with 2.5" strips for my binding, and I machine them on to the back of the quilt first, then flip it over and machine it on to the front as well.  I do occasionally do the reverse, and machine to the front and hand-stitch to the back for a cleaner finish, but I never trust the security of my hand-stitching, so I prefer the machining method.  Emily wrote a fantastic tute for finishing your binding 100% by machine, I highly recommend it.

I can't wait to start seeing finished quilts appearing in the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along gallery!  You can link up your finished quilt here, and I will be drawing a random quilt finisher to win these fantastic Anthology fat quarters.

Quilt Along Giveaway!



Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy nine year old boy and a one year old baby girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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