Posted by: vjicha | April 26, 2011

There Is Always a Way!

It is raining cats & dogs in the upper Midwest today and is expected to continue that way for the rest of the day. It feels more like Fall than Spring. Therefore, I plan to make it a productive day – inside. There’s the laundry I didn’t finish yesterday, and the ironing I didn’t do….

And then there is the pillow sham I need to finish. Let me tell you the saga of the new summer quilt. I started it over a year ago. It is called Strip Search, and it was kitted up at my local quilt store. The colors were perfect for the decor of our master bedroom, so I bought it and got a discount on the backing because I bought it all at the same time. Well….

In the interim, we decided we needed a bigger bed and upgraded to a King from a Queen. Yup! ¬†Problem to solve. The original fabric was intended for a full-sized mattress, and I had purchased extra material to expand the quilt to Queen size by way of extra borders. Now I had to get creative to make a Queen-sized quilt into a King. Luckily, there was plenty of fabric for the pieced section, which was made completely with 2 1/2″ strips. The problem was the backing. I didn’t have enough for the width of a King-sized quilt.

a close up of the Strip Search blocks

The solution was to take the leftover 2 1/2″ strips, sew them together in a length long enough to span the heighth of quilt from top to foot, and seam them down the middle of the backing.

strips inserted down center of backing

I quilted the quilt on a Grand Quilter that sits on an old dining room table in my sewing room. It was my first such effort and the results were OK. My free-motion quilting continues to improve, and working on this project certainly helped me gain more practice. It took about a week to do all the hand sewing on the binding, and as soon as it is warm enough, the quilt will go on the bed.

My husband said, “Are you going to make pillow shams?” and I blanched. Was there enough fabric left over to do that? I didn’t know. I took our existing store-bought shams to the sewing room to use as a pattern and started calculating. There were enough strips to make at least two more blocks, which I did, but they would not be wide enough. I had bits and pieces of the quilt backing left over and discovered that if I did some artful piecing they would work for the sham backs and to widen the blocks themselves. Below is the first finished sham. The other one gets its binding today while it rains.

Sham with Quilt

Sham front

Sham back

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