What is Quilt As You Go and How Do You Do It?

Quilt As You Go video #1 - what it is and how (and why) to do itQuilt As You Go (QAYG) is a technique that’s been around for a long time – but I’ve never tried it until now. There are a few different techniques floating around the internet – including a really common one that uses bias tape and is VERY fussy and irritating, in my opinion. I’ve been playing around with the method for a couple of months now and this is the way I like to do it. :-)

The video has more detail, but here it is in a nutshell. . .

The hardest part of machine quilting is any time you change direction. That’s pretty limiting. There are plenty of times when a grid or a series of parallel lines is just perfect for a quilt I’m making, but sometimes I want the background quilting to be a little more fun. This is especially the case with my applique quilts, where what I really want to do is quilt around each face and then do something fun to add texture to the background.

That’s when QAYG is perfect.

You layer a piece of batting with each block and then quilt just that block in the machine. It’s small and easy to spin around in all kinds of fun patterns. Whee!

You join all the blocks together after they’re quilted, and then just do some easy grid quilting in the final big quilt.

So here’s the first video in the series. . .

See how easy that is? There’s still some machine quilting, but it’s the easiest kind. And the rest of it opens up a whole new world of easy peasy zigzags and triangles and wobbly waves.

I know some of you already do all that stuff with free-motion quilting. I tried that once and it was a disaster. I’m giving it another try, but at this point it’s still frustrating and Not Fun.

I tried free motion quilting at Quilt Market on a Bernina 750 QE and it was sooooo easy. But that’s my dream machine – not my real machine – and it’s out of my price range. So for now I’m struggling with how to do it on a machine that does not have that magical Bernina Stitch Regulator.

So think of this as giving you the look of free-motion quilting without having to learn that tricky technique.

There’ll be a new video every week for the next several weeks showing how to do some of the different quilting designs I used in the background blocks of the kitty quilt. And that pattern will be ready at the end of the month.

Happy quilting!

Best,
Wendi
Wendi_Gratz_Shiny_Happy_World

26 thoughts on “What is Quilt As You Go and How Do You Do It?

  1. Anita

    That is interesting, but what happens when you sew the rows together, do you not get bulk where they come come together? Thanks for the video, I will have to try it.

    Reply
    1. wendigratz Post author

      No! I totally expected bulk. The question was just how much and what’s going to be the best way to deal with it. But I was STUNNED the first time I pressed a seam open. There was no noticeable bump at all! I was kind of giddy and had to do a few more before I really believed it. :-)

      Reply
  2. Beth

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this! Looks so much easier then trying to manage a big quilt. I can’t wait to try this method, and those cats are adorable! Thank you!!!

    Reply
    1. wendigratz Post author

      I’m so excited about this technique! I probably won’t use it for everything, but for my favorite kind of applique blocks it gives them EXACTLY the kind of effect I was looking for but always unable to do on the machine until now.

      Reply
    1. wendigratz Post author

      By guess would be yes since they’re both plant fibers – but I’d test on a small piece just to be sure.

      Reply
  3. Sunnye

    I do like what you’ve done and I’ve done it myself.
    Here’s a tip/question: If you stitch in the ditch or !/4″ from your seams, why not use a double needle and save time?

    Reply
    1. wendigratz Post author

      That’s a great idea! I’ve neveer used a double needle before – I’ll have to see if my machine even has one. :-)

      Reply
  4. Carol Allen

    I love the look of this technique & am so anxious to try it on my next quilt. Right now I am trying to quilt a Queen size quilt & it is so challenging to move a big quilt in a 10″ harp opening. Thankfully, I am almost done so this is definitely a must try on my next quilt. Tks for sharing.

    Reply
  5. Darlene

    I love this technique. but how do you finish the quilt. how do you put the backing on, and “quilt” it onto the top/batting?

    Reply
    1. wendigratz Post author

      I’m shooting a video for that this week – it’ll post next Tuesday. In a nutshell – you put the backing on just like a regular quilt. Layer the back with the front (the batting’s already in there), quilt the layers together in BIG chunks, and bind it. The video will show everything. :-)

      Reply
  6. anna

    I’ve watched a few quilt as you go methods and I love this new simplified version. I do make a lot of charity quilts. I’m definitely changing to this method. Thanks!

    Reply
  7. Britney Walsh

    Great video! I’m very excited to try this! My only worry is, if you press your seam open and then stitch in the ditch, do you run the risk of breaking open your seam?

    Reply
    1. wendigratz Post author

      You know – I’ve always thought that. I know a lot of quilters do. But Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr (quilters, fabric and pattern designers at Modern Quilt Studios) say they have ALWAYS pressed all their seams open to minimize bulk (even for regular quilting) and have never had a problem with the seams splitting. I like the look of quilting a bit to the side – but I’d be willing to take their word for it and try it in the ditch sometime.

      Reply
  8. Debbie Halcomb

    Thank you Wendi! I have been wanting to try quilt as you go but did not like the way they attached the blocks. This looks easy and simple, like me. And I love the cats can’t wait for the pattern. Applique is another thing I have wanted to try so the cat quilt will have me learning several things in one quilt. Yeah. Thanks again

    Reply
  9. Jean Burke

    This is excellent – very clear directions! Much easier than I anticipated. I have a project in mind to try it – thanks!!

    Reply
    1. wendigratz Post author

      I was a little uncertain at first – but the more I do it the more I love it. And the results are beautiful!

      Reply

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