October 1, 2018

Quilt-As-You-Go; An Overview Part 4

Three posts down, three to go. Today is Part 4 of my Quilt-As-You-Go overview sharing the fourth of five methods I presented to the BoulderMQG at our September meeting. Go to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 to read the earlier posts.

Just a reminder that these posts are not QAYG tutorials but they do include links to the tutorials I used. My hope is that you will be inspired to give QAYG a try. I know I certainly learned a lot and will definitely be using them in future projects.

Method 4:  Row by Row with Backing

A QAYG technique that works well for larger quilts is what I call Row by Row. It would also work for quilts made from panels rather than blocks. There are no bulky seams from the batting and it doesn’t require joining strips.

This QAYG method can be used for almost any quilt. And the great thing is you can decide to try it even after your quilt is under way. Most of the other methods require making the decision to QAYG at the time the project is started.

The basics of this method are as follows. 
Sew blocks as usual and piece together into rows. Do not sew rows together. Next, layer the first row with batting and backing and quilt. Include 2” extra backing and batting all around so you have something to hold on to while quilting. Here you can see the first row after quilting. Notice I didn't quilt all the way to the edge where the next row will be added. This is a crucial part of this method.

Once the quilting is done, trim the batting / backing flush along the edge where next row will be joined. Then align and sew the next row and the backing with 1/4” seam. Below you can see the quilted first row with the backing fabric layered on the bottom and the next row layered on top ready to be sewn. Press top and backing open.

Next, fold the new row back and position a piece of batting on top of the new backing making sure it butts up against the batting from the first row.

Fold the top back over the batting, fuse and continue quilting. Repeat the process until the top is done. The quilt grows row by row.

Below you can see the first row already quilted in the top part of the photo and the second row added and ready to be quilted on the lower part of the photo.

I know this all sounds a little complicated, but trust me, it's an ingenious concept. You never have more than one block's worth of bulk to the right of your needle at any time.

I used this tutorial by Candy of Candied Fabrics. It was an entirely new method to me and I like it for several reasons.
  • It works for any quilt. Plus, I can decide later in the process to QAYG. 
  • It's so much easier for me to quilt in these smaller chunks and not have to deal with maneuvering all the bulk under my limited arm space.

Method 4 Summary

  • There is never more than a single block width within the throat space of the machine so it’s easier to maneuver. 
  • You don't have to piece a large backing or baste a large quilt.
  • It’s easy to create a two sided quilt because each row can use a different backing fabric.
  • The quilting is the same on the front and back.

  • The quilting needs to cross over the row to row seams to insure the batting is secured where it butts together. Choose the quilting design accordingly.

  • Low loft fusible batting is very helpful. Or at least use spray basting.
  • Quilting should cross the row seam to secure the batting where they butt together. Some tutorials even call for stitching or fusing the batting pieces together.
  • Leave extra batting and backing along the edges so you have something to hang on to while quilting. The edge will be trimmed before the next row is added.

I will definitely be trying this method for future projects. For now, I need to finish the Disappearing 9-Patch that I used as an sample for the presentation.

I'll be back tomorrow with Method 5: Self Binding. In the meantime, check out my QAYG Pinterest board for pins of these and other tutorials on QAYG methods. I also have pinned quilts that I thought might work well with each method.



  1. This one is awesome, too. I am learning so much! I wonder if you could just tack regular batting into place with a few well-placed basting stitches, or if the fusible batting is a must. It will certainly make the process easier.

  2. I've seen a variation on this one where you start with the entire backing, and keep the unquilted part of it under the harp. So at most you have one row of top, one row of batting, and the whole backing to the right. There's still a lot less bulk that way, and it saves the step of stitching on backing rows. However, I think the method you outlined is easier to wrap my head around. It seems more logical.


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