For this project you really don't have to know how to quilt. If you know how to sew, just a little bit, it will be easy and fun. It is a "quilt as you go" process. Now that I think about it, you don't even need to know how to sew! Keep reading.
The goal is for each person to complete as many squares (or steps) as they want to, then send them to me to sew together into the finished quilt. (If any group member is just dying to compile and complete the quilt, I won't fight you for the job.) :) The person that completes the quilt will be responsible for sending it into the Warm Up America Foundation or to the organization we decide to donate to. (We can discuss that later.)
I'm in the middle of making a quilt right now so I took a few pictures that I hope will help explain the process. I must put in a disclaimer here. I did not "invent" or design this method or pattern. My sister taught me how to do it and she saw it in a quilting magazine somewhere. I wish I knew the publication so I could give proper credit. If the designer of this pattern happens upon my blog, please do not sue me for breaking copyright laws. I'm not selling this idea nor am I selling any quilts.
Now, on with the how-to.
Naturally this is going to be a scrappy quilt since we are all in different places using different fabrics. "Scrappy" is what makes it so charming, right? (100% cotton works best but if you have some blend scraps and don't want to buy something else, they will work.)
Please wash, dry, and iron (if needed) your fabric before you begin. First you are going to need to cut your fabric into 4 1/2" squares. For each quilt block you will need two white squares and two squares of other colors. (4 squares in 3 different colors) (With our next quilt we might just try any light and any dark colors, but for this one, let's stick with white as our base, okay?)
Now you will sew along one long edge and up both short edges. Make sure that your seams match up along the long edge. If they don't, then when the block is finished it won't look right in the middle. (Hang with me here--it will make sense in a minute.)
Okay, now comes a little tricky part. Bring the stitched sides together, as shown, and make sure your seams are lying in opposite directions so they are butted. (Turning all seams toward the colored squares will make this easier.) Again, line your seams up perfectly so it will look right when it is finished.
I forgot to photograph the next step, but...trim the corners and turn the block right side out. (Hint: The corners will be on the bias so be careful when turning so you don't stretch them all out of shape. Voice of experience here.) I use a wooden cuticle stick to help turn them. A knitting needle will work too. Using a pin to help pull out the corners on the outside is helpful. Try to get them as sharp as possible without stretching.
You will press it out flat, making sure that you line up the seams on both sides as closely as possible. It should look like this.
Oh, don't forget that opening where we turned it. You need to press that so that it looks like it is stitched. We'll sew it up in a little while.
Now for the batting. You will need to cut your batting the size of the block. (should be 5 5/8") Fold or roll the batting and insert it into the opening in the block.
Now it is time to hand stitch the opening closed. (I'm hoping you know how to do this. If not, let me know.)
In this picture, all my blocks are not quilted but I've placed them just so you can have an idea how the quilt will look when it is finished.
More about batting:
I've labored over this in my mind. There are just shy of a gillion different kinds of batting out there. This quilt needs a thin firm batting. 100% cotton would be best. I'm currently using a poly batting because my sister started me on this project and she just happened to have some thin poly scraps on hand. I didn't have enough so I went to the store and couldn't find exactly the same batting so I bought something "close". I then decided I wanted my quilt a little bigger so I needed still more batting and went back to the store...ended up coming home with some batting that was again, "close" but not exactly the same. So, my quilt is going to have three different kinds of batting in it. They each are minutely different in thickness and texture and body.
Needless to say, it would be best to have one consistent batting in each block. So how can we accomplish that? I think we have two choices. 1.) We can decide what we want to use before we begin and make it our "standard". The only problem with that...what if we all can't find the "standard" in our store? Yes, buying it online is an option but shipping charges can sometimes make an otherwise affordable project unaffordable.
2.) Group members can make the blocks but not stuff or quilt them. I (or whoever is responsible for the final assembly) will take care of the batting, quilting, and assembly.
Let me know if you have any other ideas.
The greatest thing about this particular method is that any member can do as little or as much as she wants to do. For example, if you want to just purchase some fat quarters and send them to me, great. You are doing your part and will be a blessing! If you want to use up your scraps and cut them into 4 1/2" squares and send me the squares, that will be great to! Cutting the fabric is my least favorite part. ;) See, even if you don't sew--don't even own a sewing machine, you can be a part of this group. You can do what you can right where you are with what you have to change someone's life for the better. If you want to sew the squares together but don't want to mess with the turning....well, you get the idea.
At this moment, it seems we have a group of two who want to invest a little time and a little money and a lot of fun into the lives of others. If you are reading this and you want to take part, then comment and give me your contact information. If you know someone else who would like to help, PLEASE, spread the word. I'd love to have enough precious quilters to produce at least 4 quilts in a year. (Wouldn't 12 be great? But that might be pushing it.)
Penelope, let's get started.
(If you want to meet Penelope, the other quilter in the group, head on over to her blog. She has a nice one.)
Crocheters and knitters, drag out your yarn scraps and watch for my next post. I'll post some pattern instructions and we'll get started!
Thank you all for your help!