Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Coins Back

I've been playing around with making a quilt back this week--to the point that it wasn't play anymore. But it's done! I was thinking of using yardage of one of the prints from the front of the Deconstructed Coins quilt to make the back, but then I considered how much that would cost and how much solid fabric I had left from the front of the quilt, and thriftiness won out. I decided to cobble together the solids. That's been kind of my thing for quilts, anyway, and I've usually enjoyed it. 

The first thing I did was even up the edges of all of my leftovers to make rectangles. I had run out of a few of the colors and had very little left of others, so the variety was kind of lacking. Depending on how much fabric I had left, I cut most of the pieces into two or four smaller rectangles so that I could distribute colors better. I really wanted to cut smaller pieces, but then I'd lose more fabric to seam allowance. First, I laid out the pieces on top of the quilt top to get an idea of how they might fit. My idea was to separate columns of colored blocks with narrow strips of Kona Silver (my biggest piece of leftover--15 by maybe 90 or so inches).

No matter how I laid them, I couldn't quite make it work. There wasn't quite enough of either colored blocks or the silver, even supplementing with some pieces from my stash that were close enough to blend in to with the other colors of the top. 

Next, I arranged the pieces in a more horizontal fashion with the largest piece across the middle. That seemed to work better, although I wasn't sold on the wide strip. 

 After playing working some more with my fabric pieces and taking pictures in grayscale, I came up with this:
(This is actually after I sewed most of it together)
And here it is in color:

Getting to this point was quite a challenge. I had to decide whether to lay pieces vertically or horizontally to have enough fabric in each direction to cover and overhang the top for quilting. I wasn't planning to line the pieces up so that the seams matched up, but that ended up being the easiest way to arrange them. I did add a bit of medium pink to the ends of the silver strip in the middle, and I like how it keeps that strip from taking over completely. This backing looks pretty planned for an improv back. If you look closely, you'll see that if you were to cut it in half diagonally, it would be two identical triangles. But I did not measure and plan the sizes of the blocks--I just let what I had left guide me to cut them into the rectangles, folding them in half or quarters to figure out where the cuts should be. When piecing I had to make more cuts to even up fabric after sewing pairs of blocks together. The sewing was a snap after I figured out the block placement. For me, the best way to distribute the fabrics was to use the grayscale photo--that was more reliable than my eye to determine what colors looked best next to each other. 

Looking back, it would have been much easier to pay to buy backing fabric, but learning how to make what I had work seems to have been a worthwhile challenge--and it pretty much used up all the fabric I had pulled for the quilt plus a little more.

Here's one more picture of the quilt top, just because I love to look at it (and I hope you do , too.) 

It's supposed to be really hot here the next few days. I think pressing and basting will be done in the basement where it's nice and cool. Then, on to the quilting. After that, there will be only one WIP to work on! Let's see if I get to it or give in to the idea I have for another quilt.

I'm linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social this week, and Ad Hoc Improv Quilters next week. Keep quilting! 


  1. Your efforts will be rewarded when you've taken the last stitch in the binding and you step back to admire your beautiful work!

  2. The back is neat but I so love the front :-) Thank you for sharing. This is going to be a spectacular quilt.

  3. Great job on the backing, Janine! It's a lot of work to make a pieced back with such small pieces, so I'm glad you're satisfied with it. It does feel good to use up the scraps, though, doesn't it?

    This quilt is coming together so well into a cohesive whole, after starting with just a few sample rectangles. I love reading about your process on this one!

  4. A lot of work, but your creativity paid off! Thanks for the grayscale photo--I've heard of doing it, but never saw how well it works. Thanks for just the push I needed to try it๐Ÿ˜€

  5. I love the backing! It's perfect for the coins. I think that's one of the prettiest quilts I've seen. :)
    I "cobbled" (I like that word!) together fabric for the back of my scrappy American flag, and lo and behold I ended up short! I foolishly didn't notice until I'd already quilted part of it. I had to improvise and sew on some little strips and thank goodness it's hanging on a wall so no one is likely to look at the back - lol!

  6. How rewarding to end up with such a beautiful quilt from just playing around with scraps! It looks wonderful! (I really like your blog header picture, by the way)

  7. I've so enjoyed your take on Chinese Coins - both your design and your fabric choices. So lovely and original. It's been a p,easier to watch you create it. Your back construction process and your reason for choosing the fabrics is are both like mine but you explain it much better. And frankly, using fabrics from the front blends both sides beautifully. If we didn't use the leftovers up here, they would soon overwhelm our stash. Thanks for joining the invitation and sharing your highly original quilt with AHIQ. Congratulations!

  8. I love a pieced back and especially like it when, like here, it is a way of using up the leftovers. I'm also happy to see another shot of the front - I really love it and every time you show it I notice something new.

  9. It's a lot of work to cobble a back together from the leftovers, it feels like it takes forever sometimes. But yours came out beautifully. And I like how the back and the front work together and are cohesive. Great job! I really like your quilt top!