Like many quilters, I usually piece my backs. This is usually a combination of not wanting to have to buy more fabric, and having leftovers from the front of the quilt. I actually think that piecing a quilt back gives it character, and in some instances, gives you a chance to put in a little surprise "something" for a recipient. You might put in an extra block that you didn't use from the front, create a completely different block to feature on the back or you can go all out and create a 'front' for the back which would make it reversible. Other people use one fabric for the back of their quilt. I am actually doing a baby quilt this way just because it's easier. Either way you choose to do it, make it your own.
The back of Jen's quilt
There are some really good tutorials out there for piecing the back of a quilt. I've had to do a lot of online digging to find exactly what I wanted in some instances since I've kind of just learned by doing. For this reason, I wanted to put some of these things in one place.
Julie Herman of JayBird Quilts has a great basic tutorial for piecing a back on her site. Pink Chalk Studios teaches you an option for how to piece the same fabric together to cover your quilt front.
If you are really interested in digging into options for piecing a quilt back, there is a wonderful article here with multiple links to different bloggers' attempts to piece quilt backs. These bloggers include Pink Chalk Studio and Craft Nectar.
The back of X Marks the Spot
A recent post on quilt backs that provides a lot of great information is over at swimbikequilt.
One of the biggest things to remember when piecing the back of a quilt is this: the more intricate the back is, the more important it is that your front and back are square and aligned when basted so nothing comes out crooked in the end.
Since I now have my design wall, I used Julie Hermann's method of placing my quilt front on the wall. I then pinned fabric over the front until it was covered.
There is spray basting, pin basting and thread basting. I have done spray basting with limited results but I have heard that the 550 spray is the way to go. I chose whatever brand they had at Hobby Lobby. Yeah, well, you get what you pay for.
I usually opt to pin baste. Randi at ihavetosay has a great tutorial for pin basting on her site from her Road to Spring quilt along. Just make sure you have plenty of room and you have your quilt lined up with your backing.
Thread basting is done on your machine with a long basting stitch or by hand. I do not use thread basting but get the feeling that it is more beneficial for smaller projects or hand quilting.
There are tons of ideas out there for straight line stitching. You can outline the shapes like here, do cross-hatch designs as done here (you'll have to scan down to July 10, 2010), and Oh Fransson! has a variety of both straight line and free motion ideas here.
Tall Grass Prairie has some great ideas on straight line stitching here and even shows the use of painter's tape. I also love how Film in the Fridge did this gorgeous straight line stitching here. AnnaMarie at genXquilters just posted a straight line quilt that is similar to ours since it has a large solid piece to it.
Since I straight line quilt, I was leaning toward the way My Fiber Fix quilted her Summer Sampler here. Then I came across this fabulous quilting idea on Film in the Fridge. I tend to like quilting in a way that compliments the pattern while at the same time goes completely against the design of the quilt.
So I decided to try something to see how it would look. I got together some supplies.
I wouldn't normally go to this much trouble determining my plan for quilting but there is a large amount of open space to be quilted on this piece and I wanted to make sure of my plan before I started. And yes, I know the paper shows what I have planned for the blocks and not for the solid squares, but you'll just have to wait and see!
I have only JUST gotten my sewing machine to cooperate for free motion quilting (like two days ago) so I do not have any experience with this manner of quilting. However, I thought you might want some go to places for ideas so, here goes.
There is always the option to meander or stipple all over the quilt and ignore the pattern and open space. Another option would be similar to what I did and do straight line stitching over the blocks, then do fmq over your sollid areas. I even thought of one more option...
If you are a glutton for quilting, check out Leah Day's wonderful site, the free motion quilting project. She has a multitude of filler ideas and each has a video to give you instrucition. You could fill each section in large scale with one of her stitches, or you could set up your quilt in sections and quilt each differently. There are many ways this could be done.
Rebecca from Chasing Cottons did a series called Quilting 101 a while back. In it she did a whole section on hand quilting. So I'm going to leave this part to her, since I have yet to get it right!
However you decide to quilt your project, don't forget to post it in flickr so we can see how it looks! I'll post again on the quilt along on the 27th to give everyone time to finish up backs, quilt, etc. I will probably do a check-in next week on it!