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Even Easier Quilt As You Go!

Summary

No need to be frustrated with quilting, you can quilt as you go! This fun tutorial will guide your using the timeless Nimble Courthouse Steps block.

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Even Easier Quilt As You Go!

Do you occasionally get frustrated figuring out how you're going to quilt up that quilt top you've just finished? What if you didn't have to send your quilt tops out to be long-armed? Quilting your own blocks one by one is easier than you think! I'm going to give you a tutorial on how to create a lap-size quilt called "Nimble Courthouse Steps".

Even Easier Quilt As You Go - Nimble Courthouse Steps

 

"Quilt As You Go" is a sewing technique that's been around for many, many years. I'm going to share with you how to create a block that not only has you "quilting" as you go, but also uses quick strip piecing!

Courthouse 1

 

*The backing/batting layers of the block sandwich are shown in tan in the photos below, and have been cut larger than is needed.

  1. Layer one backing square and batting square with the batting against the wrong side of the backing square. Center one Dark 2½" square in the middle of the backing/batting sandwich. Pin in place. Place one First Light 2" x 2½" rectangle RST (Right Sides Together) against the center square. Pin in place, and sew ¼" along the top raw edges through all layers. Flip the First Light square back and press in place. Repeat with the other First Light 2" x 2½" square along the opposite edge. See photo below.
Courthouse A

 

  1. Place one First Dark 2" x 5½" rectangle RST against the previous sewn set along the long right edge. Pin in place, and sew along the right raw edge through all layers. Flip the First Dark rectangle back and press in place. Repeat with the other First Dark rectangle along the opposite edge.
Courthouse B

 

  1. Place one Second Light 2" x 5½" rectangle RST against the previous sewn set along the top long edge. Pin in place, and sew along the top raw edge through all the layers. Flip the Second Light rectangle back and press in place. Repeat with the other Second Light rectangle along the opposite edge.
Courthouse C

 

  1. Place one Second Dark 2" x 8½" rectangle RST against the previous sewn set along the long right edge. Pin in place, and sew along the long right raw edge through all layers. Flip the Second Dark rectangle back and press in place. Repeat with the other Second Dark rectangle along the opposite edge.
Courthouse D

 

  1. Repeat the above Step 4 using the Third Light 2" x 8½" strips along the top and bottom edges.
Courthouse E

 

  1. Repeat the above Step 5 using the Third Dark 2" x 11½" strips along the right and left edges.
Courthouse F

 

  1. Square your block up to 11½" and you're finished!
  2. Place one 2" x 11½" sashing strip RST along the right edge of a block. Pin in place. Now place one folded sashing strip along the same edge on the back of the block with all raw edges even. Sew ¼" seam. Press.
  3. Sew another quilted block to the top sashing piece as you normally would. Press.
  4. Place a 1" x 11½" strip of batting inside the sashing in the back and fold over the back sashing to enclose the batting. The folded back sashing will extend enough to cover the seam allowance on the next block. Hand stitch the folded sashing in place.

Fast and easy! You can use this technique with any strip-pieced block. Finish all sashing as directed above. Add borders by sewing them onto the center quilt as you do the sashing, except the backing border strips do not need to be folded as they will be incorporated into the binding. Bind as usual.

Courthouse Full

 

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Glossary

Backing
The fabric on the back of a Quilt Sandwich (Top, Batting and Backing).

Same As: Lining
Batting
The layer in the middle of a quilt sandwich between the Top and Backing layers consisting of wool, polyester, blends, silk, or cotton.

Same As: Stuffing, Filling, Wadding, Filler
Binding
Binding is used as both a noun and a verb. As a noun it is the fabric that's used to cover the raw edges of the quilt sandwich after it's quilted. This edging fabric is referred to as the Binding (noun). As a verb it is the process of putting on this fabric, and it referred to as Binding a Quilt.
Block
The basic unit of a quilt top, usually square but can be rectangular or other shapes. Blocks can be pieced, appliqued or plain.
Border
A strip of fabric or pieced strip of fabric joined to the edges of the inner quilt and used to frame it.
Piecing
The process of assembling quilt blocks from pieces of fabric sewn along their edges to form a whole.

See Also: English Paper Piecing, Assembly Piecing, Machine Piecing, Chain Piecing, Paper Piecing, Hand Piecing
Press
Method of using an iron to press seams and blocks. This means simply pressing downwards on the seam with the iron from above and not moving the iron back and forth which can distort the block or seam.
Quilt As You Go
A method of completing all three layers by quilting one block or section at a time and then assembling the finished quilt from those pre-quilted squares. Squares are quilted in small lap frames or on a sewing machine, and then put together. No more quilting is needed.
Quilt Top
The top layer of a quilt Sandwich.
Raw Edge
An unfinished fabric edge of a piece of fabric or a quilt block. For applique, an edge which has not yet been turned under with stitching.
Sandwich
Traditional description of a quilt: a sandwich consisting of a Quilt Top, Batting (filling), and a Backing.
Sashing
Fabric that separates the patterns or blocks, framing them and making the quilt larger.

See Also: Strip
Seam Allowance
The width of fabric left to the right of a sewn seam. In quilting this is traditionally 1/4 inch. For sewing garments it is usually 5/8 inch.
Strip
A construction technique in which long, narrow pieces of cloth are joined lengthwise, sometimes with long rows of quilt blocks, to form a quilt top. The term "strip" can be used to describe the long pieces of fabric between blocks (see Sashing) or to describe the small, narrow remnants used in string patchwork.

See Also: Sashing
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