Quilt-as-you-go methods are a relatively new phenomenon in the quilt-making world. The idea of carrying along small-size "bites" of a quilt appeals to busy quilters. Rather than piecing together a complete quilt top, and then layering it with the batting and backing and mounting it in a stationary quilting frame, these projects can be worked completely block by block. The top block is pieced and then layered with batting and backing of the same size, so all of the sewing and quilting is finished on each block before the blocks are ever joined together.
No large quilting frame is needed with this method.
To make a project, you will need enough quilt top blocks to make the size quilt you want, and the same number of quilt backing fabric squares and batting squares cut 2 inches larger than the top blocks. The 2-inch oversized allows for potential puckering from quilting stitches.
Assemble a sewing kit with the following supplies: cotton, hand sewing needles, quilting thread, hand quilting needles, quilting thimble, scissors, measuring ruler, long quilting pins, a small quilting hoop or adjustable lap frame to fit the block size.
Keep your sewing kit ready so it will be easy to take along with a couple of block sets when you want to carry your project with you.
Use quilt top blocks you have previously pieced or embroidered, or simply use squares of fabric. Make a quilt sandwich from one backing fabric, one batting, and one quilt top block. The WRONG sides of the fabric blocks should face the middle batting layer. Baste or pin the layers, and quilt the entire block. You will need to leave 1/4 inch of all four edges free from quilting stitches, because these edges will be opened slightly when you join the blocks together.
When all blocks have been quilted, trim them to the exact size needed.
Place two blocks with top sides facing. Fold down the backing fabric and batting layers. Sew the quilt top layers of the blocks together along one edge, using the 1/4-inch seam allowance you left free of quilting stitches. Open the joined blocks and lay them face down on a table. Trim the batting edges so they are butted together and flat, or feather the two edges of the batting together so they lie flat. Flatten one edge of backing fabric over the seam line on the back. Fold under the edge of the other side of backing fabric, and let it overlap the first. Blind stitch the folded overlap along the seam line.
When all blocks have been joined in this manner into rows, use the same technique to join the rows to make the quilt. Trim the quilt outer edges if necessary to get them even, and bind the quilt.
Tip: If you want sashing between the quilt blocks, add sashing strips to the block design as a border so the sashing is part of the block. Layer, quilt and finish the blocks, and continue joining the blocks and rows as above. Be sure to allow extra for sashing strips when you cut the backing and batting squares.