Thursday, October 25, 2018

Christmas All Year - Finishing the top

Hello!  Today is the day we finish up our quilt tops.  If you've been good about making your blocks each month you will now have 9 finished blocks ready.  They should all measure 12 1/2 inches square.  If not, you have a couple of options, which I will give more detail on after I go through the basic setting instructions.  Go grab your Finishing the Top instructions, and let's put this quilt top together!

First, lay out your blocks in a 3 x 3 grid.  This is the layout I decided on - I thought the hourglass looked best in the center because it has more background than the other blocks. 

Next, cut your sashing strips.  I ran into a bit of difficulty here - I found two slightly different red fabrics that I liked, but neither one of them was quite large enough to cut all the sashings.  Being determined to use my stash to complete this quilt, I decided that since they were very close in color that I could use both.  I used one color for the sashing strips around the outside of the blocks and the other for in between the blocks.  Here are my two sets of strips together so you can see how close in color they are:

I used the one with more gold for the outer strips.

And you will need to cut your cornerstones.  I chose a fun green with candy canes.
Assemble the center in strips.  I like to web my quilt top, but it does get a bit bulky when you are working with all the blocks and strips, so if you would like to just assemble them in separate rows, you can definitely do that! 

If you look at the bottom corner you can see how my rows are all sewn chained together.  I had a twist in that bottom sashing strip, so had to clip the first chain to get it ready for sewing to the block row above it.

And the center after sewing together!  At this stage your pieced center should measure 48 1/2 inches. Now you are ready to add the borders all around it.  I chose 5 1/2 inch strips for my border for a quilt that will finish at about 58 inches.  If you want your quilt larger, you can add bigger borders. 

Piece your side borders first.  They will measure the same as your pieced center.  Sew them on and press the seams toward the border.  Then measure your quilt across - I usually take three measurements - top edge, center and side edge.  If there is much difference I will usually go with the center measurement, or add the three together and divide by three for a happy medium.  Piece the borders and sew them to the quilt, press seams toward the borders and your top is done!
I'm loving my fun top!  I plan on getting this quilted over the month, so I'll be posting updates here on my progress.  On November 25 I'll be back and let you know exactly how I quilted it, and give you a binding lesson, too - I am so excited to have a new Christmas quilt to enjoy this year!

If your blocks do not finish at 12 1/2 inches, but are all about the same size, you can cut your sashing at 3 1/2 wide and the length that your blocks finish at.  Or if there is a lot of variation in sizes, you can add coping strips to the edges of your blocks to make them all measure the same.  To add coping strips, sew 1 1/2 inch strips to all four sides of each block, then trim them to all measure the same as the smallest block.  Cut your sashing strips 3 1/2 by this measurement and proceed as instructed.  Hopefully your blocks are all fairly accurate and you won't have to mess with them!

Can't wait to see your finished tops!


Farm Quilter said...

Congratulations on winning with your barn quilt entry!! So glad I was able to vote for you!!!

Kate said...

A very festive quilt! Congrats on getting it to the finished flimsy stage.