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Well this is a long over due report on my progress on General Jac. If you follow me on Facebook you will have had some of the progress made in my almost daily blogs there but I know not everyone does have or wants to have Facebook.

The last report on here I was redesigning the cornerstones and had fused one. Well I am delighted to say that I liked the initial design and went with it and made all four cornerstones and then sewed them and the borders on to the quilt top.

I then had to finish off all the bias stems and appliqué all the buds and missing roses so while it looked like it was done there was still quite a bit to do.

Quilt top of General Jacqueminot completed

Quilt top of General Jacqueminot completed

I finally finished the top bias and appliqué last Wednesday and then on the Thursday I made the quilt back.

I like making the quilt backs interesting. There are times when a wide back is the right way to go, particularly if it’s competition quilt where the quilting can be scrutinised or it is to be photographed for a magazine. My favourite wide backing is cotton sateen, which is extremely difficult to get in Australia, but I have a contact in the states and I get it shipped. There is not a wide range of colours and I normally just have black and irory.

Back of Suwannee - used sateen wide back so could be easily photographed for magazine

Back of Suwannee – used sateen wide back so could be easily photographed for magazine

I do however have several methods of making pieced backs for quilts. I have used fat quarters in a block and then sashed and bordered them, I have used three fat quarters in a row and then put strips either side of them, which made a particularly interesting quilt back.

Back of Tropical Garden using three fat quarters

Back of Tropical Garden using three fat quarters

The most frequent method I use however is to make a 1.2m square of a fabric that coordinates with the background fabric in the quilt top. I then border it with a fabric that I used in the top and then border that with a plain Kona Solid or something similar that coordinates with the 1.2m square.

Using this method of backing is considerably cheaper than sewing two lengths of fabric together and also you don’t have the wastage as two selvage to selvage strips is often much wider than the quilt you are backing.

This was the method I decided to do for General Jac. It turned out very successfully.

Back of General Jac

Back of General Jac

I hope that I was going have a chance to baste it before the weekend although I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to start quilting it until mid this week. I was booked to have a two day workshop in my studio and that meant that I had to do some serious cleaning up and preparations for the class. I wasn’t going to be able to sew until Wednesday, today, as I was predicting, correctly as it turned out, that my back would be sore and I would be rather tired!

Last night we finally basted the quilt. Rather than use my newer method of using the studio tables which means that I can baste relatively easily and there is minimal bending for my back and no kneeling or bad bending for my back I got Marcus’s help and we basted it on the floor using the tiles to square the entire quilt up as the backing needed to line up with the borders on the quilt top.

Marcus has been a wonder at basting and has basted the vast majority of my quilts. He quickly employed a most unique method that I named Maharajah basting where he sits cross legged in the middle of the quilt and bastes happily with the safety pins after we’ve spray basted it.

Marcus Maharajah Basting

Marcus Maharajah Basting

So that’s where I’m up to with General Jac. I have worked out that the border is going to be a triple cable probably with feathers, which will be fun – I love feathers. The blocks once they have been echoed will not need much quilting at all but what there needs to be will be from the pebble family of quilting backgrounds. As for the sashing, there is quite a bit of room for quilting and as yet I’m not sure what I plan to do – when I get to it, I will know what I have to do. It always does come to me like the quilt tells me what it needs, either something that coordinates with what I’ve done already or something that contrasts. We will see what happens soon enough.

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