Hooray for 20 completed blocks! My intent when I first got the pile of partially completed and hand pieced blocks was to finish it according to the pattern. That didn’t happen and I opted for finished is better than perfect. This time, starting from scratch, I was able to break down the project into palatable chunks. I have a little habit of timing how long it takes to sew each section and then get a sense of how much longer it will take to finish the project. I know it takes an hour and a half to finish two Jacob’s Ladder blocks using two fat quarters from cutting the strips to snipping the last thread. I like the predictability of knowing that, especially since I am halfway through that project. I also like knowing how much longer it will take me to finish as I not only balance my time from project to project, but also balance time between work, home, and project. Sewing time on laundry days works well as I use the little breaks to change loads. It does not work so well when I need to spend a few hours preparing meals for the week. I also like the feel of a stack of completed blocks ready to sew into the top.
Make the rows
- Cut 29 white sashing strips at 3 1/2″ x 15 1/2″. I have less waste cutting 3 strips at 15 1/2″ and sub-cutting at 3 1/2″.
- Sew a sashing strip to one side of each of the blocks. Press toward the white
- Sew a sashing strip on the opposite side of five blocks of those blocks. These blocks will be at the end of the row.
- Arrange in 5 rows of 4 blocks in each row and sew. Press toward the white
Make the sashing rows
- Sew 24 small 9-patch units to the remaining sashing strips. Press toward to the white.
- Sew a 9-patch to the opposite end of 6 strips. These will be at the end of row.
- Arrange the strips in 6 rows of 4 strips each. The 9-patch units will be at the ends of each row.
- Matching seams, sew the sashing rows to the blocks.
I usually smile and do a little happy dance when I sew the border on the sewn blocks. After all, it is the last step to completing the top. Most of the borders I put on my quilt are strips of the same cloth creating a frame around the it. I like the simplicity of sewing one long seam of one long strip of fabric after all the intricacies of constructing the blocks. Once in a while I’ve pieced the border. By the time I reach the point of sewing the border I am more than ready to be done with the project. Piecing the border is when I hope that all my quarter inch seams are precise.
After making all those 1 inch red and white four patches my preference for the border is one or two single color borders and be done with this top, but the original pattern shows a pieced border of alternating 1 inch squares.
To make the borders
- Cut 3 strips of white 1 1/2″ x WOF
- Cut 3 strips of red at 1 1/2 x WOF
- From the white cut 2 squares at 1 1/2″
- From the red cut 2 squares at 1 1/2″
- Sew one red and white strip together creating three sets of strips. Press toward the dark.
- Cut the strips into 1 1/2″ red and white units. These will be sewn side by side to make the border
For the top and bottom
- The top and bottom borders start and end with a white square.
- Sew two border strips using 23 units side by side alternating White-Red-White-Red.
- Sew one of the 1 1/2″ white squares at the end. The strips should measure 77″
- Sew the the border to the top and bottom of the quilt.
For the sides
- The side border starts and ends with a red square.
- Sew two border strips using 38 units side by side alternating Red-White-Red-White.
- Sew one red 1 1/2″ squares at the end. The strips should measure 93″.
- Sew the borders on each side of the quilt.
Finishing – Backing and binding
- 5 1/2 yards for backing
- 5/8 yard for binding
- Quilt as desired.