The quilt as you go experiment: drawing conclusions

Thoughts on quilt as you go. Why I changed my mind and probably won't do it again.

I just finished reading the novel A Discovery of Witches and one particular line from the book really struck me:

It’s a scientist’s prerogative to change his mind as new information comes to light.
— Dehorah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy)
$10.11
By Deborah Harkness

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Sometimes I think of myself as a quilt scientist. I experiment with different techniques to figure out what I like best and I change my mind a lot.

I thought quilt as you go was going to be amazing because it meant I didn't have to make a giant quilt sandwich and then I didn't have to wrestle that giant quilt sandwich into the tiny harp of my Bernina 350.

I think it's just a case of the grass is always greener on the other side because now that I finished a quilt using the quilt as you go technique, I'm back to thinking the giant quilt sandwich is the better option.

One reason I particularly wanted to try quilt as you go was to match up my back squares to my front blocks on my Half and Half Quilt but in retrospect, I should have done something a little more abstract so it didn't matter so much if it matched or not.

Plus there was so, so much hand sewing involved to get this just right. If I'm going to do that much hand sewing on a quilt again, I might as well hand quilt the thing.

I have a couple more technique ideas to try (and I'm definitely trying them out on a tiny scale like a mug rug before I do a whole quilt again) but so far I can't say that I like the hand sewing part any more or less than I like the basting a giant quilt sandwich part which is why I tried quilt as you go in the first place.

My quilt fabric strategy: Trust in abundance and use the good stuff

I still consider myself a relatively new quilter. I started my first quilt when I was a kid in the 80s but I didn’t finish a quilt for the first time until 2013. I don’t have a large stash of fabric and scraps already on hand. All of my fabric fits in one storage tote with lots of room to spare.

I’m also a stay at home mom in the high cost of living San Francisco Bay Area so I don’t have a lot of extra space to store a fabric stash or a lot of extra disposable income to spend on fabric that I’m not going to use for a project right away.

Fabric is expensive. I figure I spend an average of $10 per yard. If I pick out gorgeous designer quilting cottons at my local quilt shop along with a batting and maybe a new spool of Aurifil, even a baby quilt ends up costing me about $100 in supplies. I always joke with my husband when we go over our finances that we don’t need to pinch pennies but we do need to pinch hundreds.

Quilting is not a cheap hobby.

$100 of supplies for a quilt I’m going to make this month adds up to a lot more quality time spent sewing and enjoying my finished product than $100 of fabric that I’m going to put in the closet for later.

I like to keep waste to a minimum and use my supplies as efficiently as possible.

I want my quilt tops to be as big as my batting will allow so I don’t waste a lot of batting and I want to my fabric efficiently to make that quilt top.

I’d really rather not have a lot of scraps left over. Rather than making additional quilts or bags or little projects from scraps, I’d prefer to pick out new fabric to use efficiently for those additional projects.

I am obsessed with this idea of spending out from Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project.

As part of my happiness project I wanted to stop hoarding, to trust in abundance, so that I could use things up, give things away, throw things away. Not only that—I wanted to stop worrying so much about keeping score and profit and loss. I wanted to spend out.

A few years ago, my sister gave me a box of beautiful stationery for my birthday. I loved it, but I’d never used it. When I was mailing some photos to the grandparents, I hesitated to use the new stationery because I was “saving” it; but to what better use could it be put? Of course I should use those notes. Spend out.
— Gretchen Rubin

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I don’t want to save that amazing new fabric for some future project that I might never make. I want to start a quilt that uses as much of that gorgeous fabric as possible right now.

What’s your fabric strategy? Do you save the good stuff or use the good stuff?

The 16 Completed Quilt Blocks for my Half and Half Quilt Sample

Today I am sharing pictures of the completed blocks for the sample quilt for my Half and Half Quilt Pattern + eBook. It's a pattern because it tells you exactly how much fabric you need, what size to cut that fabric, and how to assemble your pieces. The "Plus eBook" portion comes in because it will include an extensive block gallery with lots of updates block variations as well as a deeper dig into how I developed those variations and why I made certain decisions like using 16 patch arrangements to make 12 inch finished blocks (it's a good one).

The idea behind the Half and Half Quilt is to use only half square triangle units that are half color/print and half white. This makes it really quick and easy to make all of your base units.

For the prints, I used Tula Pink's Eden collection and for the white I used a Michael Miller white with tiny white polka dots.

Trailing Star

Trailing Star  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Trailing Star Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Herringbone

Herringbone Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Herringbone Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Mosaic

Mosaic  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Mosaic Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Dutchman's Puzzle

Dutchman's Puzzle  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Dutchman's Puzzle Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Fancy Stripe

Fancy Stripe  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Fancy Stripe Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Pierced Star

Pierced Star  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Pierced Star Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Sawtooth

Sawtooth  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Sawtooth Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Star

Star  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Star Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Stacked Pyramids/Flying geese

Stacked Pyramids (Flying Geese variation)  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Stacked Pyramids (Flying Geese variation) Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Whirlpool

Whirlpool  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Whirlpool Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Peace and Plenty

Peace and Plenty  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Peace and Plenty Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Star

Star  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Star Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Broken Dishes

Broken Dishes (variation) Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Broken Dishes (variation) Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Yankee Puzzle

Yankee Puzzle (variation)  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Yankee Puzzle (variation) Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Hourglass

Hourglass  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Hourglass Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Triangles/Flying Geese

Triangles (Flying Geese variation)  Half Square Triangle Quilt Block

Triangles (Flying Geese variation) Half Square Triangle Quilt Block