NotQuilt: Filling in the Blanks



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 Balloon Notquilt project.

Last week I wrote about sewing little bits of cloth into bigger bits. That has been reasonably successful and has let me use up many fabric scraps. I have not spent anything so far on this NotQuilt other than my time, and it looks like that process will continue.

notquilt filling in the blanks

Placing a few scraps in the NotQuilt’s center medallion. This will be filled in last.

The sewing got faster once I got over the hurdle of sewing bits of fabric into bigger rectangles. I am most of the way around the outer and inner frames, leaving the center medallion unfinished. I will do that part last as I don’t have any idea yet of what I want there.

This post is mostly pictures showing the slow progression of filling in the outer and inner frames with rectangles. In each case, I chose the cloth that seemed to want to go next. I lay the NotQuilt out on the floor and stare at it, hoping it will tell me what it wants.


Detail of the inner frame showing a few of the pieces sewn down.

I am not being 100 percent symmetrical in laying out my rectangles. In general, each rectangle has its counterpart on the other side of the NotQuilt, but this is not always true. My rectangles are not always the right length, and I will go back after the inner and outer borders are done and fill in those gaps. I have two or three now, and I do not know yet if I will use the same fabric for each hole or not.


Pieces of the NotQuilt are sewn down in both the outer frame and inner frame.

When I chose a fabric for the next set of rectangles, I try to alternate light and dark blue, and busy and calm fabrics. This gives the NotQuilt more motion, and it keeps similar fabrics from being placed side by side where they read as a single, large unit.

I have been sewing on 8 to 16 rectangles at a time, pinning them on and sewing them down before going onto the next set. I always start sewing at the top of the NotQuilt and work my way around so I don’t miss sewing down any patches.

Detail from the outer frame.

Detail from the outer frame.

This is moving pretty fast now. I made the Cat NotQuilt in four months and I did not work at it steadily at all. I am trying to be more focused with the Sofa-bed NotQuilt to see how fast I can make one. I expect to slow down quite a bit when I get to the center medallion. I don’t have any idea what I will do when I get there.

Nearing completion.

Nearing completion.