Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Getting started on a QAYG project

So, you've decided you want to make your first Quilt As You Go (QAYG) project. There's a few ways to do QAYG. Rag quilts are one way, Fun & Done are another, and also there are the kind Gourmet Quilter, she’s on youtube and her name there is a link to a great playlist of her tutorials where she does QAYG with connecting the quilted blocks with sashing. For me the hardest part is figuring out how much fabric I need, and for that I use a free online quilting calculating, don't worry I'll link to it too!

These are the sizes I've gone with, and once you figure about the size you want, you need to figure out how many blocks and rows you need to make around the size you want. I went with 90” long x 70” wide, on my leopard print quilt, and it's perfect for my double bed. It's more like a bed spread. You can also measure and get an idea of what you want, with a measuring tape. This is my Fun & Done youtube playlist, this will help you on getting this style of quilting down pat.

Once you have a pinned down measurement, we'll go with mine, you have to figure out what block style you want, now assuming you go with a simple block one like I did, you can use one print or two prints like I used on this project, the Star Wars print quilt. You can let the print(s) be your block, and just cut them into 10” blocks like I did. This meant I had 9 rows of 7 blocks. I say, stick with something simple and make a plan. I drafted up paper plans and digital mock ups for my quilts and it helped a lot to get a clearer picture in my mine of what I was going for. Get a notebook and keep it for your quilting notes. Onto the great quilting calculator. There is one there for piece counting I found very useful. It's great for getting an idea of how many 10” blocks can be cut from a width and length of fabric. I always pre-wash my fabrics, so I account a bit for shrinkage and always buy just under a yard over what I come up with. This one is very useful for figuring out how much fabric to buy.

So for my project, I needed 63 blocks, and I figured 108” of fabric or 3 yards, would potentially shrink to 100” and so this is the calculating I did on mine for a 3 yard chunk of pre-washed fabric:

You can see from this screenshot it would give me 40 blocks, which is perfect. I needed 3 yards total for one of the fabrics for the top to cut out 32 blocks. The contrasting fabric was also for 3 yards, and I cut 31 of those to total the 63 blocks this project called for. Now I did Fun & Done style, so my backing fabric was a different story, I needed 8 yards of it for 63 blocks of 12” x 12” squares. I came up with 288 for 8 yards, for the width, I took off 8” and input 280 in text input for the calculator. It gave me 69 blocks of 12” x 12” so I was able to get what I needed out of 8 yards of black backing fabric, to do one of these two quilts:

You can see here I can get several more than I needed, so At this point, I was ready to and did buy my fabrics. You have to prepare them, and I believe washing with some white vinegar is useful to help the dyes not to run, and so I do that; you might not, you can use color catchers, or whatever works for you. The point of this tutorial is to help you get confident enough to buy that fabric you need to make a quilt this way. I've done a tutorial on Fun & Done already, so I won't rehash this, but you have to think about what you want in the middle of your quilt. I used flannel in one, and it was too light, even for Florida, so in my leopard one I used 100% cotton batting, the Warm'n Natural and it was great. Use what you like, and use coupons if you get it at JoAnn's, I've bought batting from Fabric.com as well as fabric, for my backings. Don't let the math keep you from attempting a quilt if you have the desire to do so. Just use that chart at the beginning as a guide. My measurements didn't match exactly what they had there, but I wanted 10” blocks and to use “X” styled quilting. You can do free motion quilting (FMQ) or whatever style you like. But the thing with QAYG is that you don't have to manipulate a huge pile of fabric and try to quilt it after the fact like in traditional style quilting where you piece together a top, then you add batting and back fabrics underneath your top, pin or spray basting it and then quilting it all together. To me that is so complicated I knew I couldn’t do it, so when QAYG was brought up, it peaked my interest and I hope I've helped to interest you in trying it.

You can make something smaller, just to test it. You can make a smaller project like a table runner or a desk quilt I like to call the place mat looking two block quilts. I hope you found this useful and have wheels turning in your mind of the possibilities you could create using this technique. Thank you for reading, if you need help the group is here for you and so am I. If I could make these quilts you can too!

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