Sunday, December 12, 2021

Piecing A Back

Selection of possibilities
Before I put the flannel scraps away from the bear paw top, I decided that I would cut and sew the binding strips together. I also pieced the back for the quilt. This is the fourth flannel quilt that I've made from my friend Martha's flannel scraps that were suited for an adult. Many quilters purchase wide backs or purchase a special fabric for the back. 

Often, I hear, my fellow quilters lament about having to piece a back. I hear that they don't have the time to prep and stitch the pieces. I hear them comment that pressing long seams isn't fun for them. They will make a trip to the local quilt shops to purchase a wide back.

Camping print on the flannel
I, on the other hand, prefer to use the scraps from the front in the back. There have been times when I've liked the back better than the front. One time, I seriously considered a back as a separate project because I liked it so well. The only reason I didn't make that back a front was that I didn't need to add an additional project to my list!

When I was purchasing some background fabric for this project, Gertie, my inner squirrel spied a camping fabric that worked well with the theme. I immediately thought it was perfect for the back. I bought all that was available. It was about a yard so I knew that I'd be piecing more fabrics to make it work!

Piecing the bits together
I actually enjoy piecing a back. I piece the small bits together. These small bits usually end up in the center of the back because I don't want the small pieces and many seams on the outer edge of the back.

I begin the process on the design wall. When the design grows too large for the wall, I move the units to the floor or to the bed. My goal is to elevate the pieces from leftover bits to intentional accents. The best part of using the bits is that more of the fabric is used in the quilt and fewer scraps end up returning to my stash!

Since I'm planning to longarm this project, I used 3/8 inch seam allowances. I know that others use 1/2 inch seam allowances. When I piece a back that I'm going to quilt on my domestic machine, I use 1/4 inch seam allowances. If possible, I press the seam allowances open; but, sometimes, I press the seam allowances in opposing directions. I don't worry about "matching" seams. 

A string insertion and a dark chunk example
I lay out the bits in a way to get the most coverage out them as well as using as many bits as I can. I often work in quadrants. When two quadrants are full, I'll stitch  them together to create a half. Then I'll stitch the two halves together.

These scraps lent themselves better to piecing the leftovers into three sections. Every back is different. Sometimes, I needed a string to get the "chunk" to the size that will fit into the design. Sometimes I needed a "chunk" of a leftover to fill in a section. I always enjoy watching the pile of scraps dwindle as the back takes shape!

By the time I had finished piecing the back, I had a small bag of strings left. I'll piece them into strips at some point. Perhaps, the bit of black, the couple strips of maroon and the cream flannel chunks will be the start of a new and final project. Honestly, I'm not that keen sewing with flannel!  So I truly look forward to the END of it!
Section of backing

I measured the back and realized that I needed it to be slightly larger.  Fortunately, 
the chunk of leftover black was still available. There was more than enough so I pieced an additional strip on the outer edge of one side of the back.  I like that the back could be a front.  

It took me a couple afternoons to piece this back. I'm slowly moving toward meeting my One Monthly Goal. I want to send this quilt to its recipient before the end of the month. I need to stay on track!
The leftovers
Regarding COVID:
Worldwide: 269M cases; 5.3M deaths
United States: 49.8M cases; 796K deaths
Oregon: 400K cases; 5,381 deaths

My granddaughters received their second dose of the vaccine last Monday. The youngest one felt off the following day and played it low key. Two days later, they were both back in their "normal" range. Sixty-five percent of the population is fully vaccinated and 73 percent have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. It is a slow process. There remains such a divide in the state between those supporting the vaccination program and those who don't.

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