A few years ago when I was catching a lot of grief for the size of my fabric inventory (stash), I started piecing the backs of my quilts. The first back I did was simple 9-inch squares but I thought that was boring. I started using smaller pieces and in particular trying to use all the leftovers of the fabric I’d used on the front of the quilt. This is also the place that I use orphan blocks and the blocks that aren’t good enough for the front of the quilt. I’ve made up my own rules or are they non-rules?
1. Seams don’t have to match.
2. It is okay to cut off points.
3. It is okay to ignore the grain line.
4. It is okay to use fabric that is too weird for the front of the quilt i.e. the pink seersucker seen on the blue/yellow and pink quilt back. In other words, pretty much anything goes.
Two funny notes about my effort to gain control of my fabric by piecing the backs of my quilts: I can’t see where I have even made a dent in the amount of fabric that I have. Also, sometimes the fabric that I piece comes out so interesting that I can’t use it on the back of a quilt; it has to become a quilt top. Here’s an example. I call this quilt Gallimaufry.
Because of my experiments with making fabric for the backs of my quilts, a couple of books that arrived recently caught my eye. The first is Free-Form Patchwork Techniques by Tina Mast. Published by Schiffer Publishing LTD, the book gives instruction for cutting fabric without a ruler for free-form strip piecing, then goes on to give 19 projects. Mast suggests using hand-dyed fabric or small prints. I find her technique intriguing and can’t wait to give it a try.
Dynamic Quilts with Easy Curves by Karla Alexander is the second book that I took home this weekend to look over. In her book published by Martingale and Company, Alexander explains cutting fabric with wavy lines (either with or without a ruler), shuffling the fabric and then sewing together for new and unusual blocks.
[Please note: this giveaway has ended. Congratulations to Nadine S, Carole S, and Mary F, our three randomly selected winners! Thanks to all who entered!]
It seems like a fun idea to give you a chance for a copy of one of the two books. If you have a new technique to try, you know you’ll need fabric to use so we’re including seven fat quarters from the Cattitudes collection by Red Rooster Fabrics with each book in our giveaway. To enter to win one of these prizes, simply leave a comment below this blog post telling us about your piecing adventures. Winners will be randomly selected from those who leave comments by 11:59 p.m on June 17, 2012. This giveaway is limited to those who have not won anything from Quilters Newsletter since March of 2012.
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