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Sunday, 9 October 2011

How to Make a Lap Quilt

Welcome back and firstly a BIG thank you to all of you that posted comments to my previous blogs.

This one is focusing on ‘How to Make’. I am going to give you a copy of one of mine, and then will provide you with links to a few which I found on the internet. Please feel free to add your own links in comments or post a blog yourself.

As you know (I hope) I specialise in patchwork quilts and quilted products so it will be no surprise to you that my first ‘how to make’ is a quilt. A quilt I hear you all cry, I can’t make something that big, well yes you can, it’s not as hard as it looks. This ‘how to make’ is for a lap quilt (not a full size bed quilt) and is made in 12 inch squares so nothing too huge to start with.

Lap Quilts can be of any size, but here I have based it on the traditional 12 inch block, usually used in patchwork, this gives us a finished size of approx 48 inches square; you can of course change this to rectangular by doing 12 blocks which will result in the quilt size being approx 48x60 inches.

This one has only 6 blocks but 2 borders to create the size I wanted, and features the log cabin block which will be in my next blog; I am starting you with 9 blocks and a single border.

Please read all the way through before starting, and always use ¼ inch seam allowance – this is a golden rule of patchwork and quilting.

Chose any patchwork block of 12 inches square (most designs in block books etc are designed to give a finished size of 12 inches square), you can use a larger block but remember this will affect the finished size of your quilt. (You can get a block design easily from the internet); or you can wait for my next blog ‘How to Make a Log Cabin Block’ (quilted as you go); yes there will be more patchwork and quilting blogs!

Choose your colours to give you some contrast, but remember to check the fabrics by standing about 4-6 feet away, if any fabrics jump out from the rest then these need to be removed and replaced by something that ‘blends’ better.

Make 9 blocks, these can be the same design or you can choose 9 different ones to give a ‘sampler’ effect, you can simply piece the blocks i.e. join all the pieces of the block together to create the finished pattern (which is what I’ll assume today) or you can quilt them at this stage. Arrange them in a way which is pleasing to the eye (3 blocks to a row, giving you 3 rows), join them together, by placing them right sides together and stitch (1/4 inch remember); do 1 row at a time, then join the rows.

Once you have made the centre of your quilt you are ready to choose a border fabric. I recommend you cut the border 6 inches wide. You will need 2 strips of 6x36 inches, and 2 strips of 6x48 inches, or you can cut 4x48 inches and mitre the corners depending on your taste, and skill of course, (I will work without mitred corners for ease).

Attach the 36 inch strips to the sides of the quilt (right sides together and stitch ¼ inch seam) and press, and then attach the 48 inch strips to the top and bottom of the quilt in the same way and press.

Now you are ready to make the ‘sandwich’. Choose your wadding and backing, I use 4oz wadding (80% cotton, 20% polyester) as this gives warmth and texture without being too thick and is superb quality and washes well, and I use fabric of equal quality and thickness to the front of the quilt; I only ever use 100% cotton fabrics for my quilts and never buy the cheap ranges as you can really see a difference in the quality.

Lay your wadding on a flat surface and spray with temporary adhesive (I use 505 spray), press your backing fabric and lay your it on the top of the wadding (I find it easier to start at one end and gradually smooth out the backing as I progress up the quilt – this is very important when doing a large bed quilt so a good technique to practise), ensure that you have no creases in it, turn this over so that the wadding is now on the top. Lightly spray the wadding with temporary adhesive and lay your quilt top onto the wadding (again easiest to start at one end and progress up the quilt). Traditional quilters could omit the adhesive and tack the layers together. I do not recommend pinning as I find there is too much movement in the quilt, and it makes quilting more difficult.

Now it is time to choose your quilting design. There are so many to choose from, it is impossible for me to recommend any one in particular. Check the recommendations for your wadding; avoid large gaps as these will result in movement and ‘lumping’ when the quilt is washed. The quilting can be done by machine or hand, depending on individual taste and skill (an easy method of quilting for the beginner is to stitch in the ditch (follow the lines of the seams) or stitch ¼ inch away from the seams to enhance the design).

Once the quilting is finished it is time to finish off the quilt. I suggest prior to binding that the corners are rounded off, as this gives a smooth neat finish to the quilt (one of my trade marks, you will see wherever the design allows that I do this). Draw a  curve around each corner ensuring they are all the same, (an easy way to do this is by placing a plate on the corner and drawing around it), trim around the curve.
You are now ready to bind your quilt, I recommend cutting the binding at 2.5 inches wide. You will need approx 196 inches of binding; this can be in the same fabric as the border or a contrast fabric. Fold the binding in half, giving a 1.25 inch strip, (I find it easier if you press this). Attach binding to right side of quilt, stitching along the raw edge of the folded fabric, easing it around the curves on the corners. Leave 6 inches unstitched at the beginning and the end, once you have gone all the way around (except the 12 inches not stitched) remove from the machine and determine the exact length needed to complete the binding. Attach the 2 ends together (from the back), then stitch the last 12 inches to the quilt. Turn the binding to the back and hand stitch in place.

Finally make a label for the back of the quilt and attach, or hand stitch a message, (I love being able to go back and re-read my labels as I date them, its amazing sometimes to find that I made a quilt much longer ago than I remember) and for customers this personalisation is often appreciated as I let them chose the wording.

I hope that all makes sense; you can always leave a comment on here if you need any clarification or message me.

Now that you have taken the time to read all of that, here’s an easier task; I went hunting around the internet and have picked a few different ideas for you to check out.

The first one is a very pretty Crochet Sweetheart Pillow, and comes with complete instructions, just follow the link; you should find all the information that you need. Happy crocheting.

And next I have found one that is topical for this time of year. This is again crochet and is a lovely Christmas stocking done in predominantly red, but the colours could be changed around to make it different, why not try it in green; just follow the link for the instructions.

And lastly a quick easy make, a very pretty bookmark, which could be made in any fabrics and even personalised, why not try some vintage fabrics for that real traditional look, just follow the link.

Thanks once again for taking the time to read this rather long blog, and happy crafting.

Please leave comments especially if you have some ‘How to Makes’ you would like to share, or write a blog for us to read, it’s really not that hard.

Signing off for today

F xx

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