Filling the NotQuilt to the Edges



This post is part of a series about sewing NotQuilts. If you’re unfamiliar with this method, The NotQuilt series begins here. The link below takes you to the Cat Notquilt project.

I’m almost done filling in the interstitials. I have two small areas left of dull rose in the bottom section of the NotQuilt. Everything else is filled in, leaving only the edges.


In some places, the edge shows a lot; long, skinny rectangles that reach into the cat fabrics. Once I have finished the few bare spots, I will sew over these areas.


The question is: Will I have any green kitten or cat head fabric left? If I do, do I want to use them to fill the long skinny rectangles with smaller squares? Or do I want to fill a rectangle with a single fabric, reaching from the binding to deeper into the quilt?

I have a few of these solid greens reaching into the interior patches already. I think, I hope that these will tie the binding into the quilt top. Using the solid greens will connect the solid binding better than green kittens.

The final result will depend on how much fabric I have left after I cover those few spots. There is very little left of the cat heads and a bit more of the green kittens.

What I could do is stop agonizing over using up every last bit of the green kittens and the cat-head fabric and use solid greens for the borders. If I save the remaining green kittens and cat heads — the few square inches that are left — I will have fabric to patch this NotQuilt later on.

If I do this, I will run out of the four solid greens I’m using. That isn’t a bad thing. I’ve got plenty of other solid greens, some of them tending toward the dull, pale sea-foam green of the corner binding and some the much darker hunter green percale strips that I plan to use along the sides. These more random, variegated greens can aid in the transition from the patterned cats to the solid binding.

I think this will work better and be less aggravating than trying to use up every last bit of green kittens and cat heads.

In Praise of the Walking Foot

babylock walking footOn another note, this is the first NotQuilt I’ve sewn using a walking foot. My previous efforts were all sewn using a standard presser foot, either on my old Kenmore or my Babylock. Now that I am almost finished, I can safely say that I would never use a standard presser foot if I had a walking foot available.

All — without exception — of my previous NotQuilts have ripples and tucks where the fabric stretched as I was sewing all those layers one on top of another. This happened frequently on the back which couldn’t be helped and worse, it happened on the front where it shows. This NotQuilt has much smoother, even seams than my previous efforts. The back is much smoother too, with far fewer sewn in wrinkles.

No matter how you smooth as you pin and sew, you will get some wrinkling of the background fabric. You could avoid the issue by hand basting every last section and pushing the wrinkles to the center of each patch as you go. But if you’re going to hand baste an entire quilt, you might as well be making a traditional quilt.

The point of a NotQuilt is to make it quickly using your standard-issue sewing machine. If you are hand basting a mile of seams, you aren’t going to be done fast.

I love my walking foot. I should have bought it years ago.

(If you need to know more about what a walking foot does, check out this brief video.)