A couple of readers have asked how I quilt in strips, so I will do my best to show how I do it. Before I begin, I must tell you that I am lousy at explaining things. Maybe this will help me learn to be better at it. I hope...........
First I will show you the quilt I am talking about. It was quilted in four strips. The first strip is the row of piano keys, plus two blocks long and the width of the quilt. The second is just two blocks long and the width of the quilt, and the next strip is the same. The last one is the same as the first, only with the piano keys on the bottom instead of the top.
Next you need to quilt the strips. On the first one you would quilt it to the edges, except for the edge that will be joined to the next strip. On that edge you would leave enough room to be able to quilt in that unfinished edge. I usually quilt in a fairly large meander, so I leave about 3 inches or so unquilted along that edge.
On the next strip you quilt all the way to the ends of the strip, but you would leave the long edges on both sides unquilted for the same three or so inches. Are you with me so far? Now it is time for another picture………
Take both strips that you have quilted, this picture shows one of the strips, and along both unfinished long edges, fold back and pin the batting and backing out of the way. Now with right sides of the two strips together, and matching seams where needed, pin and sew that long seam.
After the seam is sewn, I press that seam open as well as I can. I think it helps reduce the bulk of the seam, and makes it lay flatter. I then press the right side of the quilt where the seam is so everything is smooth and flat.
This picture shows the quilt, right side down and the backing and batting with the pins removed. The first strip is at the top and I have smoothed out the quilt and then smoothed the backing and batting of the first strip down over the seam just made.
Now I smooth the batting from the strip I am adding to the top strip, and there is about a half inch of batting that needs to be trimmed so that the batting from strip one and strip two butt up against each other. My trimming is never exact. A little over-lapping is better than cutting away to much and you wind up with a gap between the two strips of batting. Don’t ask how I learned that.
After the batting is trimmed from the second strip and butted up against the batting of the first strip, smooth out the backing from second strip over the top strip. Turn under and finger press a quarter inch on the edge of the backing on the second strip. Pin to the first strip, taking care to keep everything smooth. If you pull too much on the backing to pin it in place, the front will not be smooth and you will get puckers when you go to finish up the quilting around the seam. After you have it pinned, check the front to see if it looks nice and yes, smooth. If it looks right to you, you are ready to sew the seam joining the two backing fabrics together. I use the ladder stitch to do this. This link shows you how to do it, if you are unfamiliar with that stitch. Ladder Stitch
. I hold the quilt in my lap, and pinch up a bit of the quilt in my left hand, sew that portion, then grab another pinch of quilt and continue across until I have the seam finished. Then you flip that puppy over and finish the quilting where the two pieces are joined together. Go through that process two more times and your are ready to put on the binding. Of course you can make your sections any size you want, and make the sections go side to side or up and down. Whew! I think it was harder for me to write about it than it was to actually do it! I hope I have explained how I do this in a way that can be understood. If there is something not clear to you, let me know and I will do my best to explain it better. Wow! I think I have just written my first, and probably my last, tutorial...............Oh, yes. If you click on the pictures you can see larger versions.....