Last time we looked at making mini quilt sandwiches and the different ways to quilt some of the blocks for our Puzzle Quilt. Once the quilting is all done it is time to join the blocks or sections together. Lay the blocks out first and move them around so you don’t have two of the same design next to each other – it makes the ‘puzzle’ more puzzling! As I said earlier, there are a lot of different ways to then join the blocks. Some of them, such as this one from Leah Day, use extra sashing strips front and back but, having already added sashing strips to the front, I prefer to use the method demonstrated by Monica Poole (although I wish I had thought to use fusible web as well). This method joins the top of the quilt blocks together first – peel back (and pin) the backing and wadding, place the blocks right sides together and stitch.

Then you trim the wadding even – lay the pieces one over the other and, very carefully, cut through the two layers so the edges butt up to each other – and join them; this is where you could use that binding tape.

Then you join the backing fabrics – fold one edge of the backing fabric over the backing (you may need to trim it) and fold over a seam allowance on the backing of the other block (again you may wish to trim it back a little first) then place this over the backing of the first block and stitch it down, by hand generally although some clever folk manage to do it by machine without it showing on the front as their stitching ends up in the ditch.Here too is where you could use glue or even fusible web to hold things together while you stitch.

If you are using different fabrics on the back to make a reversible quilt you can adapt the method above to add some sashing between the backing squares. First trim wadding and backing to the same size as the blocks. Cut narrow (1½ – 2 inch) strips, fold them in half and cut to them to the block length (should be about 14 ½ inches). Trim the wadding away from the edges of the blocks, leaving a ¼ inch seam allowance of the block and the backing. Place the two blocks right sides together, put the narrow strip on the back with the raw edges even and stitch through all layers. Trim any wadding away from the seam, although it should just butt up together. Fold the narrow folded strip over raw edge at the back and slip stitch (or machine) in place.

If you search online for Quilt-as-you-go methods you should find one that suits you, complete with photos or a video..

As for the borders . . . You can of course make and quilt the border sections first and then join them to the quilt as if joining blocks but I did it backwards. I stitched wide enough backing fabric strips to the backing of the joined and quilted blocks as if I was adding a wide border to a quilt top. I then added strips of wadding and stitched these to the wadding of the blocks. I then added the border strips to the top as for a ‘normal’ quilt top but stitching through all the layers. Finally I quilted the borders. I found this way easier to manage. It is reasonably easy to quilt the borders of a big quilt even on a small machine, you just need a big table (an ironing board at the side helps too) to support the weight of the quilt. You can see a video on You Tube from Quilting with Nancy on how to do this technique.

On the wide border of the blue and yellow I used one of the fancy stitches on my little machine and did three rows although I had to be a bit creative at the corners. I also quilting a meander along all the sashing to help hold those seams on the back (my hand stitching I felt would not be sufficient.

For the quilt I have made this time I have used left-over ‘chunks’ of the red fabrics to make the main border for my quilt and a green and the same fabric as the sashing for narrow borders. I then used left overs of two of the other greens to make the binding. So far it has minimal quilting as my machine is poorly and lasted just long enough to get the binding on so I could show you a ‘finished’ quilt.

I hope you have enjoyed making this quilt and playing with the colour and design. Please post your finished quilts / blocks on the Facebook pages for us all to see!

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