I always say yes to Nancy Zieman because every time I do, I learn something. So when Nancy asked me to join the Quick Column Quilt blog tour, I jumped at the chance. But quilting, hmmm, I admit I paused for a second and then thought, oh what the heck, do it! Here are my top ten tips for getting the job done.
- Select the quilt pattern. Thousands of quilt patterns exist so pare it down by going to a trusted source like anything designed by Nancy Zieman. Her Quick Column Quilts is a collection of very doable – and inspired – quilts. The Carefree Column Quilt jumped right at me and I’m glad it did – it was quick and easy.
- Decide on fabrics. Use everything in your power to make the right fabric selection. Pay close attention to the quilt you’re duplicating making note of the light, medium and dark fabrics. Look at other quilts for pleasing combinations or go to your quilt shop and seek their advice. Audition as many fabrics as you want; photograph the combinations, edit your choices and finally select the winning combination. Once selected, stick with your fabric choices. Don’t sway off course; second guessing can be a huge time guzzler.
- Get organized. Print or copy the instructions. As you complete each step, cross it off the how-to instructions. You’ll know right where to pick up after a break in sewing.
- Label everything. Even if you think you know how all the pieces go together, label them anyway. Life gets in the way and distractions are inevitable.
- Designate an area or box in your sewing room where you can store the materials for the duration of the quilt-making process.
- Break apart the tasks into manageable time increments. Review the instructions and estimate how long each task will take: cutting, designing, piecing the columns, adding the sashing and so on. Make notations on the pattern to use as a guideline. These are just guestimates as problems do occur and tasks often take longer than we think they will – at least that’s my problem! But having an idea of the time involved will help you stay on the project because it’s easy to tackle simple steps once they are broken down.
- Group similar tasks together. Cut all the fabrics in one session, piece as much as possible at one time and then move to the ironing board. I cut all the fabrics and stacked then according to size with a label on top of the stack.
- Document the process. Once the fabrics were cut, I followed Nancy’s instructions for arranging the blocks on the design wall. I took several photos of the designing progress as I auditioned the fabric pieces. I reviewed the different versions on my computer and decided on my favorite. After rearranging the fabrics according to the photo, I labeled the top piece of each column. I used the photo as a reference guide when a block or two floated out of position.
- Focus during piecing. To piece a column, I removed the pieces one at a time, starting at the bottom of the column and placing the next block on top of the stack. Once I moved to the machine, I methodically pieced that row, from the top down and then pressed the seams. Once the pieced column was returned to the design wall, I progressed to the second column.
- Enjoy it! Racing through the quilt making process takes all the joy out of it. Savor the fabrics as you handle them, strive for perfect ¼” seams and concentrate on how you’ll use the quilt or who will receive it. Name your quilt – after all, it’s your baby now! My quilt goes by the name of Sun Kissed.
You’ll notice my quilt isn’t quilted just yet. Oh but it will be! I have the most ingenious plan and tool for quilting Sunkissed on my embroidery machine. You’ll learn more in a future post. And be sure to visit Nancy’s blog where she will be giving away 15 grand prizes!
Blog tour stops – check out all the stops on the Quick Quilts blog tour!
09/04/14 Nancy Zieman