Quilt Backs

Yesterday, Melanie McNeil (Catbird Quilt Studio) posted a piece on pieced quilt backs.

That got me thinking about the piecing I do for quilt backs. She says she prefers a solid back (her quilts are bed size) – I prefer the adventure of piecing (I generally make lap quilts). The challenge for me is to get away with a single length of quilt backing fabric and filling in the width with leftovers from the top, retaining something from the character of the top but at the same time creating a new piecing. Most of my back piecing involves a wide strip, although occasionally I’ll do a block of some sort surrounded by backing fabric – it depends on just how much backing fabric I actually have to work with!

Here are some quilt backs:

#1 – This is the latest quilt (Improv Quilt) – a strip/block because my strip wasn’t long enough and I fortunately had just enough backing fabric to border the strip converting it to a block.

Improv Quilt – Back

#2 –  An opportunity to try some flying geese. The original blocks were all in shades of indigo but I decided to insert one gold triangle in each and it made a huge difference to the strip.

#3 – From the red/black/white strips quilt. The quilt top looks like three Venetian blinds with a red background. The grey backing reflects the fabrics used in the piecing from the top, with the red accents.

#4 – This back was for the Starburst Quilt: I had no fabric leftover from the quilt top so I decided to use  other indigo fabrics highlighted with the turquoise and green elements.

#5 – The inspiration for this quilt back came from a quilt by Weeks Ringle – it backs the Pick-Up-Sticks Quilt:

#6 – This is the back of the Medallion Quilt: I had just enough of the border fabric leftover to create these four mitred blocks. I decided to rotate them rather than keep them all facing the same direction. Spaced them out, offset top to bottom, with backing fabric because I had a lot of it.

Quilt Back

#7 – This back is from the Grey-Yellow Quilt: I had a lot of half-square triangles left over from the front. I decided to array them as a spiral. The panel is offset top/bottom, and left/right. My quilts are all modern quilts – they need asymmetry to look “right”.

#8 – This back is from Improvisation #6 – Asian fabrics, drunkard’s path quilt. I had several slightly smaller blocks left over. I decided to do a more conventional drunkard’s path layout with single complete circle near the top of the strip.

#9 – The back of the Asian Strips Quilt: I did the piecing of the on-point squares, added the filler and realized I still needed border/sashing to offset the insert strip from the backing fabric.


Obviously I have many more quilt backs I could showcase here, but these are enough to illustrate how I see a quilt back. All of my quilts are “double” quilts – they can be used either side – for me, that’s part of the challenge/adventure of improvisational quilt making.

Regia Pairfect #2

Schachenmayr, the company that makes Regia sock yarn, has had for the past few years a line called “Pairfect” – designed to created a patterned sock without any decision-making. I tried it when it first appeared and found it boring to work with – very dull patterns. This season the variegations looked like they’d be more interesting with clearly different cuffs, heels and toes.

Finished this pair of socks (#2) last evening:

Regia Pairfect in Blue

Still just as boring to knit – no decision-making required – the yarn for the two socks is marked with a length of yellow yarn (intended to be discarded – or saved for another project). When making the first pair using the yarn a couple of weeks ago I changed up the design but then had to do quite a bit of reconnecting to be able to complete the socks.

This time I decided to follow the yarn. It knits up nicely but the part of the sock-making that I enjoy is deciding what colours contrast with my variegated yarn and where to insert contrasting strips, whether to change the heel colour, maybe even a third colour for the toes! So even though the variegated design changes and the repeat is a long one, there’s no creativity in knitting these socks.

If you’re not an adventurous sock knitter then you’ll love this yarn because it does knit up a respectable patterned sock. I’m not going to use it again.