However, small scraps and panels have their uses; you can sometimes get a throw pillow or purse out of them, or the panels of a corset. For this project, I take several coordinating samples with birds and cherry blossoms on them, which are not quilting cotton but some unknown fibers. The large panel in the center I cut so the main bird/blossom motif is mostly centered. (I don't want it too perfectly centered because the bottom has the dark head of another bird intruding, and so I think it needs extra open space at the top to balance it visually.) The white, blue, and beige squares I cut into eight rectangular strips. Then, to fill in the empty spaces, I use some plain green cotton and the rosy fabric I've previously used for my Rose Chintz bodice. For sashing (a fabric frame around a block or motif), I use a busy rosy print from my stash. All fabrics are pre-washed.
One of the things that intimidates me about piecing is the exactness of the measurements and cuts. I'm not good with math. So for this project, involving large panels and pieces, I opt for a no-measurement approach. I simply eyeball the pieces. Like for the green, which had to be the same width as the rectangles, I lay a rectangle on top and cut a strip to the same width that way. Then I sew the strip to the rectangle, and use chalk to mark the next seam-line.
Below, see how I use a line of chalk to mark the sewing line for the corner piece. Then I sew the next piece on that line and trim the excess green seam allowance away.
My seam allowances are larger than usual for quilts--a half inch instead of a quarter--but not because they need to be; I simply forget the quarter inch rule! Luckily, the quilting police don't live here. :D
The top is pieced and the batting is cut to size, so I've made a start, but I have to decide on a back and start quilting. While my Cricket in the Congo quilt and my quilted jumps use the sandwich method of enclosing the edges, I think this quilt will get bound edges, since a green frame would look pretty. I also have some microfiber plush I want to use for the back, for extra cuddliness, but I'm not sure if I want to quilt over it; it may not hold up well to free-motion quilting or may not look good after laundering with the quilt, so I think I shall have to get creative! Another option is to make the quilt with a normal cotton backing, then hem the plush stuff to the same dimensions and attach with snaps. Then they could be laundered separately.
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