Just Buzzing Through Quilt Along – Week Five – Assemble The Quilt top

Wow! It’s Week Five already, and time to talk quilt top assembly!

Now, if you haven’t gotten all of your blocks made, or even started for that matter, that’s okay. These posts are just guidelines for you, to help when you are ready for each step. This Quilt Along is designed so that you can  work at your own pace, on your time schedule. Each week’s post will stay on my website so that you can access them when YOU are ready. Just click on “Quilt Alongs” on my Home page. You’ll find all of the information you need to get started right there.

I’ll share a couple of ways that I assemble quilt blocks to make a quilt top. Each one depends on the fabrics used, and whether or not there is a specific place each block needs to be.

No matter which block joining method I use, I pin them exactly like I did when joining the units into blocks.  See Week Four of the Just Buzzing Through Quilt Along. Aligning the seam intersections and placing a pin just before each. Then, pinning in between.

If you’ve made your Just Buzzing Through blocks out of two fabrics like this…

…then, I use a “grouping” method. Since there are five blocks across and seven blocks down, I sew them together into four groups.

A group of nine. A group of Six. A group of twelve. And, a group of eight. I’ve used a Teal and Beige combination here so that you can see it better against the white page.

When joining groups together, I always place the group, with the fewer number of blocks in it, on top. I find that it’s much easier to make any adjustments as I sew.

 I sew the group of six to the group of nine to make a group of fifteen for the top portion.

And, sew the group of eight to the group of twelve to make a group of twenty for the bottom portion.

Then join the top portion to the bottom portion. This way, you only have one long seam to sew, and only one time that you have the weight of the entire quilt top to maneuver as you sew it.

My second method for joining blocks together to make the top, is to sew them into rows and then sew the rows together. I use this method if the block placement is important.

When making my red scrap version of Just Buzzing Through, I laid out the units on my design wall and moved them around so that no two fabrics would be side by side. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get anything mixed up in the journey from the design wall to the sewing machine. I put pins in the top left block of each row to mark row one, two, three, etc.

First, I joined row two to row three. Then I added row one to row two. This way the smaller portion was always on top and made it easier to move and adjust as needed. Then, I sewed row four to row five. Then, row six to row seven. I finger pressed each of these seams open. I only wanted to fire up the iron once!

I, then, sewed row five to row six. (In the photo below, you’ll see four pins in the corner.  That is row four right-side together with on row seven. I pinned along the edge at the top of the photo to join rows five and six.)

Then, it was time to join the top portion to the bottom portion. And I pressed all of the seams open.

When all of the blocks have been joined, I “stay-stitch” around the entire perimeter of the quilt body. I use a large stitch length (5 on my machine that goes up to 7) and stitch 1/8″ in from the edge all of the way around. This gives stability to the edges so that I can sew on the borders and not have to worry about any seams separating.

I included this section to show you that the fabrics sometimes “crawl” as we sew. But, no matter, this little bit will be hidden in the seam allowance of the border.

Next, I add the border pieces on the sides. I pin a border strip on each side. Then, I roll up one side (carefully tucking in the pins) toward the other. This keeps the pins on the left from getting snagged on things, including me, while I sew the seam on the right.

You’re probably thinking, “My goodness, that’s a lot of pins!” You’re right, but pinning this way, helps to ensure minimal shifting when sewing such a long seam. I’d rather pin than rip. 🙂

Then, I roll up the quilt top from the bottom, so that it can sit in my lap, and there I can easily unroll it as I feed it into my machine.

Finally, I add the top and bottom border strips, pinning and rolling as I did with the side strips.

And, it’s ready for quilting!

Next week, I’ll share with you my plan for how I spray basted and quilted it. If you’ve been wanting to try machine quilting on your domestic sewing machine, then this is the perfect project to get you started!

Oooooh, I can’t wait!

Happy quilting!

Diane

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