I find planning the quilting for a large quilt top intimidating. It is much easier to Divide and Conquer. In block quilts, it is easy to narrow the focus to individual blocks, and decide the pattern, block by block and border by border. In strips quilts like the College Doodle Quilt, the quilt design could easily follow the long seam lines. A great advantage of this method is that no marking is needed!
The method I have chosen for the College Doodle Quilts is to draw a center square (22″ x 22″) and several larger squares of varying dimensions around that center square. Because I have a triangle ruler, I will divide some of the space into triangles. Use whatever rulers that you have to make this easier. Most of us have many rulers in varying widths and shapes. This is a perfect time to use them. We will make our quilt motifs fit these shapes. Continue dividing the quilt top into smaller borders and shapes until you no longer feel intimidated by the large space. Work intuitively here.–In other words, don’t over-think this stage. Once you begin quilting, any of these lines can be modified.
I do not plan the quilt design at this point. I simply create divisions and different shapes as quilt motif (doodle) guidelines. I usually choose the quilt doodle when I am sitting at my sewing machine.
Assignment 5: Press the seams
Trim uneven edges
Mark the quilt center
Divide and Conquer
In Assignment 4, we cut 11 strips: 6.5 inches wide by 68 inches long, arranged and labeled the strips and then sewed them together.
Assignment 5: Press the seams. I prefer to iron the seams open on the wrong side and then flip the panel over and press again on the right side of the fabric…
I know, I know, I know–this is like quilter’s heresy to some of you, but I like the flat effect. Also, seams sewn with a machine are very strong and can tolerate being pressed open. At this point, you may starch the entire quilt top if you like. I only use starch if I have stubborn wrinkles.
Once the quilt top is pressed and starched, I trim off any uneven edges that occurred while I was sewing.
At this point, I mark the center of the quilt. I do this by folding the quilt in half (right sides together) lengthwise, and then again crosswise.
Now it is time to divide and conquer. I gather several rulers of different widths to subdivide the quilt top. I place a large square ruler on the center point of the quilt top. If it is not large enough, I can place another ruler next to it to make my marks.
In this quilt I made a 22 inch center square, and then I drew another one inch border around that. I will add several other lines, squares, even triangles to divide up the quilting space.