This month I've been in the process of taking all 365 designs from the project and putting them together to create one massive quilt.
The thing is, 365 is not a square number! I can either add 15 designs to create a quilt that's 19 rows by 20 rows (380 blocks) or take 4 away to create a quilt that's 19 by 19.
But that seems a bit cheap. The last thing I want to do is create a quilt that's SUPPOSED to have all 365 blocks, but in fact it only has 361.
Or maybe I'm obsessing about this a bit too much?
One solution would be to place the 4 blocks in each of the corners and add a long outer border to the quilt. I could even combine many designs together to create a fantastic design flowing along each side.
I could even quilt the name of the quilt along the top border - 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting - but I'm worried this will get the quilt disqualified from shows because it's essentially like stitching my name to the front of it. Any judges want to weigh in on this idea?
The technique to join the blocks together is a very simple Quilt-As-You-Go technique. Binding strips cover the blocks from the front, fully encasing the 1/4 inch seam allowance from the edges of the blocks. On the back more binding strips cover the raw edges.
Here's a very, very simple run down. I actually go into much more detail on this technique in the DVD Beginner Free Motion Quilting Filler Designs.
How to connect one quilted block to another quilted block
1. Trim down your blocks to a desired size. Whatever size the blocks need to be, they need to be EXACTLY the right size. Don't eye ball it - square it!
2. Cut a 1 inch and 1.5 inch strip of binding fabric as long as the block.
3. Fold the 1.5 inch strip in half, wrong sides together, and press the snot out of it.
4. Place the 1 inch strip on the front (right side) of the quilt block.
5. Place the 1.5 folded in half strip on the back (wrong side) of the block with the raw edges matching up with the raw edges of the block.
Stitch a super accurate 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitching through the block and BOTH binding strips at the same time.
6. Finger press the 1 inch binding over (leave the folded binding alone). Place the second block on top of the first, right sides together and line up the edge of the block with the edge of the 1 inch binding.
7. Stitch the second block to the 1 inch binding with a super accurate 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Spread the blocks flat and, if your seam allowances are stitched properly, both should nest into the space created by the 1 inch binding.
8. Now finger press the folded binding on the back over to fully encase all raw edges and either zigzag stitch or hand bind the fold in place.
9. Repeat with each block to create rows of your quilt, then repeat more strips of binding on the front and back to connect the rows together. So long as the blocks and strips are cut accurately, and so long as you stitch with a perfect seam allowance, this method can join any set of quilted blocks together.
Keep in mind this isn't the only way you can do this! This is simply the way I'm putting the blocks of this 365 quilt together because each block was quilted and trimmed which means there's no remaining space around the edges to attach the blocks in any other way.
I also prefer this method over just satin stitching the blocks together because it puts a bit of space between each block, almost like sashing.
I can already tell the most time consuming part of this project will be finishing all the binding on the back of the quilt. I still haven't decided if I want to hand stitch each back binding strip or blanket stitch it.
Multiplying the number of blocks by the size of this quilt means there will be 324 - 4 inch sections to hand bind, plus another 18 sections the full length of the quilt....yeah...I really think I should use the machine for this job unless I want to finish it around the time James goes to college!
Time to shut up and quilt!
Note - I realized when I first published this article that I wasn't clear about the border and adding the title. What I meant to ask was this - what if I actually quilt the words into the top of the quilt "365 Days of Free Motion Quilting"?
I guess I could cover it with fabric if I enter it into a show, but the photos for entry will always have the title showing front and center. Any thoughts?