Workshop Wednesday: Two Quilt-as-You-Go Methods

Not only are quilt-as-you-go techniques great for making projects quickly, they’re perfectly suited for anyone who’s ever wondered how to stuff a large quilt sandwich through the throat of a domestic sewing machine to be quilted.

With quilt-as-you-go (QAYG), you do the quilting in smaller chunks, then join the chunks, or rather, blocks at the end of the process. You can also combine QAYG with a string-piecing approach, which is particularly well suited for small home-dec projects made with strips.

Here are some tutorials on those two main techniques and some different projects you can make with them.

Joining Quilted Blocks

Karen Charles joined me for this episode of “Quilters Newsletter TV: The Quilters’ Community” to demonstrate her basic tips for successful QAYG.

In an episode of “My First Quilt,” Sara Gallegos demonstrated how to use QAYG to make Groovy, a reversible quilt designed by our own Lori Baker. Click here to view the full episode for free on

Running in Circles  is made with templates to create a cathedral windows-style pattern, as shown in this “Quilting Quickly” video.

QAYG methods are also great for making rag quilts, as shown in this “Sew Easy” video with Jean Nolte and Colleen Tauke.

Quilt-and-Flip Method

This method reminds me of string piecing, the big difference being that you’ve already got your batting in place. As you’ll see, it’s a good method to use when you’re working with strips of fabric.

Mary Fons and guest Heather Kinion demonstrate this QAYG method in this “Quilty” video. As they point out, it’s also a great way to clear out your scrap batting and fabrics and remedies the problem of quilting a large quilt on a home machine.

This “Quilting Quickly” tutorial demonstrates a similar QAYG technique to make the Hocus Pocus table runner.

You can also use this QAYG technique to make a set of Christmas Gathering placemats  using precut 2½” strips, as shown in this “Quilting Quickly” video.

Joy 200 193x300 Workshop Wednesday: Two Quilt as You Go Methods

Joy wall hanging by ZJ Humbach

For more holiday décor, check out the episode of “My First Quilt” in which Sara Gallegos demonstrates this QAYG method to make the Ho Ho Ho Christmas wall hanging designed by ZJ Humbach. The preview video is below; click here to view the full episode for free on The full pattern for Ho Ho Ho is included in Quilters Newsletter’s Best Christmas Quilts 2013 special issue, and its companion pattern, Joy, is in the Best Christmas Quilts 2014 issue. Both full issues are currently available as digital downloads for only $2.00 each, which is 80% off the cover price (prices subject to change).

Berries Cream SILO 600px 150x150 Workshop Wednesday: Two Quilt as You Go Methods

Berries & Cream quilted throw pillow

The pattern for the Berries & Cream quilted throw pillow is in the February/March 2015 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts, and it includes step-by-step photos showing the QAYG technique used to make it. (I’ve been making a number of quilted pillow shams the past couple of years, and I think I need to add one of these to my to-make list.) Both the print and digital download editions of this issue are currently on sale for $1.80 each, which is a great deal for 14 full patterns (prices subject to change).

With any QAYG technique, you do need to plan ahead, and the technique may not work for every quilt pattern. But for certain quilts it’s certainly the way to go, and you’ll have a project checked off your list before you know it.

About Mary Kate Karr-Petras

Mary Kate is an associate editor at McCall's Quilting and McCall's Quick Quilts. If you ask her what type of quilter she considers herself, she'll answer, "Slow." Favorite techniques include hand quilting, both traditional and big stitch, but she also loves her walking foot and keeps meaning to get better acquainted with her open-toe embroidery foot.
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2 Responses to Workshop Wednesday: Two Quilt-as-You-Go Methods

  1. Helen Mckinnon says:

    Love this QQYG newsletter. So informative and I also own a beautiful
    Husquvana Viking Topez 20
    Thank you so much for these newsletters

  2. Bobbie Sloan says:

    I have 7 tops ready to sandwich and quilt all before Christmas. Wish me luck. I wish I had a long arm.

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