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This quilt started because I had this idea that I would make a queen sized grandmother’s flower garden quilt using english paper piecing techniques… aka, lots of hand sewing.  I enjoy hand sewing, don’t get me wrong.  It’s relaxing and it’s something different.  But…after I pieced 20 flowers, the idea of sewing more and then sewing them together totally lost it’s appeal.

So, these beauties sat and sat waiting on me to find them interesting again.  Well, inspiration struck me last week and this is what resulted.

I started by cutting 14″ squares of the background fabric and appliqueing the flowers down.  Then, I decided to do a quilt as you go quilt.  I haven’t made one before and this seemed like a great pattern to try it out on.  So, I basted my appliqued flowers and quilted each block.  I cut my batting squares and backing fabric to 14″ as well.  It’s a great way to use up batting scraps.  Just make sure to use the same type of batting in each block.  Quilting a 14″ block was such a nice change from trying to feed a huge quilt through the throat on my machine.  This is a great way to do some really dense quilting and to try out new free motion techniques and patterns.

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Once all the blocks were quilted, I began joining them together using fabric I had left over from piecing the flowers.  I loosely followed this tutorial.  However, instead of sewing the front and back connection pieces separately, I sewed them both at the same time.  I just pinned the heck out of it and sewed slowly, checking the back often to make sure I was picking up that connector as well.

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A couple of tips about quilt as you go:

– I originally cut my blocks at 14″ then squared them to 13″.  Between the applique and then the quilting they were pretty wonky.  I would recommend starting at least 1.5″ larger than the intended finished size.  Making sure the blocks are as square as possible is very important.  It is also important that they are exactly the same size.  The edges of each block have to butt up against each other underneath the connectors or there are weird gaps and lumps between your blocks.  Leaving myself 1.5″ instead of just 1″ to square up the block would have been nice.  However, if this was a pieced block, like in the above tutorial, it wouldn’t really be possible to have that much extra room.

-Even though I knew they would be trimmed, I quilted to the very edge of each block.  This helped hold the layers together as well as making sure there were no weird quilt-less spots in the final quilt.

– I cut my connector strips, both front and back, at 2.25″, then folded them in half just like I was making binding.  I then pressed and starched the heck out of them.  This turned out to be very helpful.  The stiffer they are, the easier it is to sew both front and back connectors at the same time.  They don’t warp out of shape as easily and keep everything neat and tidy.

 

This went together surprisingly quickly!  And was really fun!  I’ll be making more quilts like this in the future!

And, this quilt is available in my shop.

 

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