Improv Round Robin Quilt Along: Finishing Instructions

Patti's finished quilt top.

So here you are. . .  sitting there with your favorite beverage, sifting through your pile of QAL blocks. What to do, what to do?  My hope is that you will move forward to putting your QAL blocks to good use in a quilt! Remember, your QAL quilt can be entered in the special exhibit for Mancuso 2017! And don't forget our special QAL Finishing party on 11/12/2016. If you're coming to the QAL Finishing Party, you might want to start making any extra blocks before you get there.

Here are a few handy tips to consider.

1. "How many blocks to use?"

With the last block that you will make, you will have a total of 13 blocks of varying sizes. It's time to figure out how you will use those blocks. A setting of 3 x 4 uses up 12 blocks (and you can use one for the backing, a very "modern" addition). Or if there's a block or two that you really enjoyed making, you can make more blocks to increase your setting to 3 x 5 (15 blocks) or 4 x 4 (16 blocks) or even larger. It's your quilt, so you get to choose. My example is 4 x 4 (16 blocks) and that's big enough to cuddle under.

2. "But my blocks are different sizes".

Of course they are. That was done for a reason. It gives you a chance to increase (or decrease) the size of your blocks as you see fit. I suggest going through your blocks and checking the sizes – I found most of my blocks were in the 16 inch range so that's the standard I used for my blocks. You might find your blocks are smaller or large.

3. "How do my get my blocks a uniform size?"

Once you determine the number of blocks you will use for your setting and the size your blocks will be, it's time to make them a uniform size. This can be done several different ways:

a:     Add fabric to the sides of the blocks – I found it made the quilt more interesting to add fabric to only two sides that touch (this makes the block asymmetrical and makes a more interesting and modern look). I added solids to some of my blocks to give the eye a place to rest.

b:  Add a strip of "made fabric" to the side(s) of the block. (you might even have some pieces of made fabric in your box)

c:  If the block is too big, you can trim the sides, even asymmetrically, or even cut the block into pieces. (How about cutting a block in half and sewing a piece of solid or focus fabric to opposing sides – it gives you an extra block to work with and creates interest).

d:  Remember, you can deconstruct any of your blocks by cutting and resewing – remember this is your quilt! Make it yours!

4. "How do I lay out my blocks once they are all uniform?"

Use your design wall or floor to lay out your blocks. I advise quilters to take pictures with their smart phones to check layouts. My personal preference is to alternate busy blocks with areas of solid fabric. This gives the eye a chance to move around, then rest and makes for a more interesting quilt, particularly if it's going to be hung up. Once your layout is set, sew your blocks in rows, and then sew the rows together.

5. "What about a border?"

You can certainly add a border (or two) to make your quilt larger and to add interest. A solid border will appear to make the blocks "float" a little. What about using solid strips with a few squares of focus fabric added here and there?

Now that your top is completed, it's time to QUILT AS DESIRED!  

~ Patti Auten, VP of Projects