Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Big Block for a Big Quilt--Started

After a fantastic weekend with a visit from the kids and grands (Yippee!), I finally worked up the nerve to actually start the Big Quilt that I've talked about making. It's going to look quite different from my original drawing from back in January. I've also added to/changed some of the fabrics I bought in February. I still don't have a plan for the whole quilt, but after consulting with my daughter-in-law (the quilt is for her and my son), I'm starting with a 40-inch block that will be centered below the pillow area on the bed. Then I'll figure out what to do next. It's scary for me to do that, but I made myself jump in. 

First, I used a pencil to draw a 5-inch grid in two 20- by 40-inch sections on newsprint and traced over the lines for the pattern with a permanent marker. This is the left half of the block (turned on its side with the top edge at the left). The design isn't clearly visible because the grid lines still show. I erased them later. 

Because the fabric pieces will be bigger than what I usually piece, and angled with some bias edges, I decided to use a freezer paper foundation method similar to the one here at Twiddletails. It involves folding back the paper instead of sewing through it and avoids the whole paper tearing business after piecing is done. I think it will provide the stability to keep everything straight. I could probably achieve the same thing by starching the fabric, but I'm not a fan of starch. (I'm messy with it, and it makes me sneeze.) 

Before getting started with the freezer paper, I decided to press big sheets of it to my ironing board to pre-shrink it. It shrinks about 1/8 inch in total width--18 inches to 17 7/8, which isn't much, and I've never done that for little projects, but for the big pieces I needed, I decided it was worth the time it took. After that was done, I retraced the pattern in reverse and in piece-able sections onto the freezer paper. (I suppose I could have skipped the first step with the newsprint, but this way I have an original pattern in case I mess up or need to repeat elements later in the quilt. 

It took awhile to draw everything and label sections with order of stitching and color notes, but I did manage to finish sewing one section today, and I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Here's the back (with lots of scribbles because I goofed on the color labels):

This looks rather pastel-ish right now, but that will change soon with the addition of the next section. (One down, fourteen to go. Whew!) But I'm so glad to finally get this going!

I'm linking up today with Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday, Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday, and Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social.


  1. Wow, this looks great. what a great idea to use paper piecing. I've never tried the freezer paper method. I should probably take a look.

  2. I agree, the freezer paper is a great idea. Gives some stability to those big floppy pieces. Can't wait to see how it turns out!

  3. Good start! Using freezer paper like this is very clever too.

  4. Glad to see you are getting in some sew time...always feels good to get back to it after having so many other obligations. :)