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Once you have a set of quilt blocks, you can assemble them into a quilt. A quilt is usually composed of three layers - the assembled quilt blocks, a layer of batting (or wadding), and a backing. The three layers are quilted together using a quilting stitch. A binding is sewn on to cover the edges, and the quilt is complete!

The instructions below are for the beginning quilter - for more information and alternate settings and ideas, browse our bookstore.

First, lay out all the blocks on a large, flat surface. Arrange them any way you like to form the completed top. Each block will have a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the edge - flip each block over, mark the sewing line 1/4 inch in from the edge of the block, match seams (keeping the right sides together), and sew them together into rows, then sew the rows together to form the quilt top.

Next, lay the completed quilt top right side down on the table. Lay out your batting on top of the quilt top, smoothing it carefully, and cutting it slightly larger than the quilt top. Finally, lay the backing fabric right side up over the batting, and smooth it down carefully, cutting it to the same size as the batting.

The next step is called basting - sewing the layers together temporarily so they don't shift while you're quilting. Basting stitches are generally fairly large, and far apart. Using a needle and thread, stitch a grid through all three layers of fabric, being careful not to wrinkle or pucker any of the layers. A 6 inch grid is a good size - stitch a line of basting every six inches lengthwise and crosswise across the quilt.

Next, you need to mark a quilting pattern on your quilt. There is no standard way to do this - generally, you want to draw a pattern on the quilt using something that will wash out when you wash the finished quilt, or will brush off easily (like chalk). There are many books of quilting patterns, but sometimes just using your imagination produces the best design. Draw the quilting pattern over the whole quilt top, making sure no area of more than 6 inches is uncovered.

Now you are ready to start quilting. The quilting stitch is the same as the running stitch, except much smaller, and the knots are hidden. Make a knot in the thread, and pull the needle from the back to the top of the quilt through all three layers so the knot is resting against the back of the quilt. Using your thumbnail, and pulling firmly on the thread, pop the knot through the backing fabric into the batting to hide the knot. Following the lines you marked on the quilt top, sew a very small running stitch (1/16 inch is a good size, but evenness is more important than size) along the lines through all three layers, ending with a knot the same way you started (popping it from the back into the batting). Continue quilting until the entire quilt is covered.

Finally, you need to add the binding. The most common method is to cut a strip of fabric long enough to go around the quilt (sew together smaller strips to get enough length) and about 2 inches wide. Fold the strip in half, wrong side on the inside, and iron it flat. Trim the edges of the quilt so they're straight, and leave a 1/4 inch seam allowance all the way around. Lay the binding fabric (the long strip) against the quilt, lining up the raw edges of the strip above the raw edges of the quilt, and the folded edge of the binding on top of the quilt, and sew it down 1/4 inch from the edge all the way around. Fold the folded edge of the binding fabric over the edge of the quilt, and onto the back of the quilt, and sew it down on the back.

Congratulations - you have a finished quilt! If you have any problems or questions, feel free to write to us at help@equiltblocks.com, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Good luck, and happy quilting!

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