Saturday, March 20, 2010


A few people asked me what my process is for blocking a quilt.  I just want to say that I only do this with quilts that are for competition. 

The fabrics for in this quilt were cotton and not pre-washed.  The batting is Hobbs wool. The thread for piecing was cotton and quilting thread was silk.  I used water soluble threads to do the trapunto, and to baste the quilt.  I also used blue water soluble markers. 

When I was finished with the quilting, it was important that all of the marker and soluble thread was thoroughly removed.  I got a big bowl of cold water (no soap) and put the quilt in it to soak for about 15 minutes.  I took it out and lightly squeezed out the excess water. I then laid it on a double layer of towel and rolled it up.  Then I lightly squeezed the roll so that the towel would absorb most of the water. 

The tools that you need to block a little quilt are;
PINS; This is a metal bowl that has a big strong magnet on the bottom.  I might have gotten it at Walmart, maybe an automotive store.  It is supposed to be used for keeping screws and nuts and bolts in one place when you are working on a car.  As you can see, it is great for a bunch of pins.  I keep it far away from my computerized sewing machine.  It can be stored on the side of a file cabinet.. the pins won't fall out.  The pins are 'T' shaped.  I got these at JoAnns.  Their notions wall sales are a great opportunity to get a bunch.  You usually need a lot to block a quilt.. or a knitted garment.

The next tool needed is something that will hold the pins that are blocking the quilt.  If you have a carpet in your house, I know people that pin out onto that.  I have hardwood floors and fake knees.  So I can't crawl around to pin something out on a floor.
I bought a package of these foam panels at Sams Club.  The package comes with I think eight of these interlocking panels.  They are used for playroom floors.  Kind of an anti fatigue mat.   They aren't really expensive.  They were around 20-30 dollars for the package.  You can lock them together like puzzle pieces to make a big area depending on how many you are working with.  Each is around 24" square.

The last tool that you need is a measuring tape.

I didn't think anyone would be interested, so I didn't take photos of the process, but hopefully I can explain it well enough that it will help.

You should have an idea of what the finished size of the quilt should be.  You don't want to putt excessive tension on the quilt, you should block it to the size that you intended it to be.
 First you start at a corner pinning every 1/4-1/2".  Pin in the seam allowance.  These pins are kind of big and you don't want to leave holes in your quilt that may be seen .  You can always use a smaller diameter pin.   It is important to pin close together so that there will be even tension on the edges of the quilt.  This also protects the fabric.
Work your way across the edge.  Measure when you get to the corner. Pin down the next side.  My quilt is square, so I want to be sure that the measurement is the same on both edges.
Tension on the quilt comes into play when you get to the third side.  As you work down each of the remaining sides, it is important that you measure and pin, so that the quilt remains the correct width.

I directed a small fan on the quilt, and it was completely dry 12 hours later.

After it was dry, I place a big square ruler over it and I trimmed away what I needed to square up the corners to prepare the binding. 

The binding was single fold, and was 1 1/8 " wide, which made a 1/4" binding. 

I hope that this helps, feel free to email me if you have any questions.


  1. First off, your quilt is wonderful. A real treasure.
    Coincidence - I just learned of this type of magnetic bowl this morning at Thimbleberries Club. We were told they are available at Lowe's and automotive parts stores.

    Enjoy your quilt.


  2. Teri, I love your quilt. Your directions are so clear and complete. Thanks for sharing.

    I have a set of the mats that I use for knitting- I got them at COSTCO for about $15 for 9 blocks.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Teri! I just never really thought of blocking a quilt--however, I've blocked other needlework. Really helpful!

  4. Great description Teri, I would love to see a close up of your quilting.

  5. Teri, this was very interesting to me. I have never blocked a quilt. Thank you for the nice information! I LOVE this quilt!