Quilting the Splendid Sampler with QAYG

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pile of blocks ready to quilt
Ready to be quilted with red thread

I decided to try quilt-as-you-go for the first time on my Splendid Sampler. After all, this sampler is about learning new techniques!

To do this, I sashed each 6.5″ unfinished block in 2″ wide blue sashing and placed it on a square of batting slightly larger than the sashed block. I wanted the sashing to be extra wide so that I could trim each block down to size after quilting it. I plan to trim the inside blocks evenly all around, but leave a little extra sashing on the outer edges of outside blocks so that the sashing is even (because it will be doubled up between each pair of blocks, but not doubled on the outer edges), like this:

A sketch to help me figure out the sashing and quilting options
Sashing diagram for Splendid Sampler

Once the blocks were all sashed in blue, I sorted them into stacks according to the color of the quilting thread I would use first. I want the quilting to blend in, so I’m matching the thread — more or less — to the color of the fabric. For some blocks, this means using lots of colors of thread, and I didn’t want to be changing thread all the time. So I made a stack each for black, gold, red, dark green, light green, white, and beige or natural-colored quilting thread. Since almost all the blocks will have some beige quilting, that’s my quilt-last pile. I started with black and now I’m working my way through the colors in the order listed. If a block needs a second color, I put it in the next pile after I finish the first color. This took a little planning so I wouldn’t have to double back!

Right now, I’m partway through the red stack. I’ve finished black and gold. Here’s block 54, “Shell,” designed by Jane Davidson, after quilting with gold and red. It’s ready to go in the natural/beige pile once I knot and bury the threads. This method involves a lot of knotting, but I don’t mind. I like to put on a movie or an audio book and do a pile of blocks at once. I did the first 20 or so in the car on a long trip earlier this summer. It passed the time, but some of my knots did not land at the end of the thread like I planned 🙂

a partly quilted block
“Shell,” partly quilted

As I finish each block, I’ll make a post to show how I quilted it. I’m doing them all out of order from how they were released, of course. Once they are all done, I’ll quilt a square in blue just outside the block edges to set off the sashing. Then I’ll stitch all the blocks together to make the top, sandwich it with the backing, and quilt a fern design in the sashing to finish the quilt. On the back, only the fern quilting will show between the blocks since all the in-block quilting will be on just the block and the batting. I’m curious to see how it turns out and whether I like it with the open spaces on the back.

Have you tried quilt-as-you-go? How did you do it?

What do you think?