Wonky Log Cabin Tutorial #4

Two of five class members were away this week, so it was somewhat of a catchup/mishmash week as those of us who were left were at very different stages of quiltedness.  So, what I'm going to post is what we were scheduled to do this week, which two of the three got to.

Review from last week: finish adding fabric strips to each of the four squares and trim them to exactly 20"x20".  Sew them together - 2x2 - and iron seams.  This is your quilt top, and it is now complete!

This week: Press your batting.  The supply list calls for 1/2 yard of 90"-wide batting - a long, narrow strip.  Our trick is to cut the batting in half lengthwise and place the two halves next to each other to form a large 45"x45" square.  If the edges you line up are not straight, trim them so they are.

Using a zig-zag stitch set to the widest stitch width you can, stitch the batting together along the middle.  Do not overlap the batting, as it will create extra bulk in the finished quilt - just slide the batting pieces up next to each other and feed them through the machine.  Also, take care to evenly feed it through the machine - uneven feeding can cause gaps or bubbles.  If it does bubble, try steam-ironing the seam after sewing to see if it will press out.  And ... tada!  You're done with batting.

The next step is basting the quilt, which does NOT mean marinating it in its own juices during the course of cooking.  It DOES mean putting the back, batting, and top of the quilt together and securing it with pins or adhesive spray.  I've heard this called a "quilt sandwich" ... think of the basting as the toothpick in the sandwich.  (wait, can you tell that I'm getting hungry?  A giant BLT sandwich on toasted sourdough sounds incredible right now.  Toothpick required). 

Press the fabric you're going to use for your backing.  Depending on the size of your quilt, you may have to sew together some pieces to use for the backing.  For this tutorial, you want a square of fabric approximately 45"x45" - bigger than your quilt top by at least 2" on each side.  Most fabric on the bolt is 44 or 45" wide, so you should be just fine and not have to piece anything.  (As you'll see in the pictures below, I am making my demo quilt bigger than 2x2, so don't be thrown off and think you were supposed to be doing twelve squares when really it's just four.)  Because of the size of mine, I had to piece together some green and white fabric for the backing. 

Lay this backing fabric right side DOWN on a flat surface (floor or large tables work great).  Line your batting up about 1" in from the top right corner of the backing, and spread it out evenly over the backing fabric.  Use your hands to spread out any creases or folds or bubbles in the backing or batting. 

You may have some extra batting hanging over the edge of your backing - not a big deal.  It's good to have extra in case things shift.  And you'll always go back at the end and trim things up.  So, just leave it.

One more step to make your quilt sandwich - lay your quilt top, right side UP, on top of your batting about 1" in from the batting.  Smooth it out with your hands, working from the top right corner.  Make sure there are no creases, bubbles, folds, or other funny things going on. 

Now to baste the quilt (which I did not get any pictures of, sorry.)  You can use straight pins, curved quilting safety pins, or adhesive basting spray (all of which are sold at some Wal-marts and all sewing supply stores).  If you're using pins, secure a pin about every 10" in a grid on the quilt.  Make sure you're pinning through all three layers.  Also, you will probably have to adjust both the backing and the top a couple of times during the process, as you want both to be tight and without any slack (this is why it's good to have a little extra wiggle room with the batting and backing fabric).  If you are using the basting spray, follow the manufacturer's directions.

Alright ... see you next week for quilting!

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