How To Work On Multiple Quilts At Once

The headline isn’t just click bait.  It’s the truth.  These are my tricks to work on multiple quilts at once.

  1. Keep the plan simple

  2. Similar color palettes are helpful

  3. Batch work for cutting and sewing

  4. Optional:  wine or adult beverage of your choice, along with something to binge on Netflix.

If you have been a reader for a while, you may not be surprised by my tricks.  However I wanted to highlight the process for those that may be curious.  Currently, I have a commission for three baby quilts.   Here are the details:  all are for girls, simple patchwork, and two are for twins.

After discussing with my client, she wanted something similar to this.

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I had a bunch of pink and purple already cut into 2.5″ squares from this quilt.

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She opted to go with the smaller squares which makes more seams and work but the overall effect will be great.  The color choices for both quilts are very similar:

Lilac, gray and white (1)

Pink, mint, gray and white (2)

Keep the plan simple

All 2.5″ squares.  First, I head to my scrap bins and pull any 5″, 3″ and 2.5″ squares already cut in these colors.  Then head to uncut scraps and start pulling out larger pieces in the various shades.  I pulled a variety of purple and pink colors since I’m not sure if I want to add more variety to the layout.  In digging through the scraps there were some softer shades of orange that I thought could play will with both color palettes.  Prepping everything now into 2.5″ squares will save time if I need to add more later.

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I did also select a few new fabrics during a shopping trip to make sure the quilt had enough variety.  It was important to pick out fabrics I knew would compliment my stash and be able to use again.

Keep a few prints, solids, and colors nearby in case you need them.  I had pulled out some khaki/tan prints thinking I wouldn’t use them with the twins’ quilts, but they added a nice break up in the colors.

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Similar color palettes are helpful

To complete these quilts I will need big stacks of white and gray. Scraps were sorted through first, then on to the larger cuts of fabrics.  To assist with color selection I spent some time at Crimson Tate picking out backing fabrics.   I was able to get the backing and binding options selected for all three quilts before I started sewing.  This helped me with planning colors to pick and draw from.  Full disclosure:  the fabrics purchased were not apart of my fabric budget for November.

Batch work for cutting and sewing

This is truly the secret right here.  However, I needed the first two steps to prepare for this.  As noted above everything is cut to 2.5″ squares.  Each color is sorted and stacked.

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Tips:

  1. Put in a new needle, clean your machine, and oil if recommended from your manufacturer

  2. Have a few bobbins wound

  3. Keep a small pair of scissors nearby

  4. Turn on a movie or show

  5. Relax your shoulders and stretch a bit

Get sewing.  Keep it random and don’t overthink combinations.  You have already picked colors that work together, just sew and worry about the placement at the end.  When you think you’re done, sew some more.  To make a baby sized quilt you need about 320 squares.

Take breaks if needed.  Break it out over a couple of days or sessions so you don’t overthink it.  I have found overthinking my selections really slows the batch sewing down.  If you feel like you want to add in something else, grab from your extras you already have set aside.  You can always remove them as you are laying out the quilt.

Once you have completed all your squares, I find it helpful to press the seams open to help everything lay flat during layout.  From here I just start sorting into piles.  I sorted any pieces with gold metallic into a pile and then broke that into two.  In the end I had three piles, one for each quilt.

During layout of the quilt, I grab some batting and just start laying out pieces.  Generally I put the top row middle(ish) piece in first and then work my way down in a zig zag.  Then I just begin filling in the quilt with my 2 block sets.  Moving pieces around and exchanging for others if needed to complete the look.

Using my left to right sewing method I stack up each row and continue chain piecing until all the rows are finished.  I do label the rows as I’m sewing them for ease later on.  After each row is completed I press the seams in opposite directions to nest easily in the next piecing steps.

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Quilting in simple straight lines takes no time.  Plus machine binding.  Throw those quilts in the washer, with a Shout color catcher of course, and dry.

Three baby quilts done at once.

Excuse me while I got stretch and move for a bit.

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Finish It Up Friday

One Reply to “How To Work On Multiple Quilts At Once”

  1. Helpful tips! Thank you for sharing 🙂 LOL

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