To Block or not to Block my quilt

I have a UFO (unfinished object to non-quilters) that has recently been finished. I know…I know.. I am so proud! It is an applique Halloween quilt. Yes, I am aware that I’m talking about a Halloween quilt 15 days before Christmas. This is a project that I would take out every September and add something to it with the most hopeful of intentions for completion before Halloween arrives. Well, this year is the year! I did finish the applique and quilting by Halloween, but that is where the progress stops. The quilt sat in my sewing room awaiting a binding. So you are thinking…that it is really not complete. I know…glass half full.
Last weekend, I went to trim it up to add the binding and realized that after quilting, I now had a stretched out quilt that had floppy corners. It definitely did not have floppy corners before. No matter how much trimming I do, it is not going to hang properly, let alone, look nice. So I decided that I would attempt to block it. I have never done this before, but I read it in a book!
I have a 4′ by 7.5′ sheet of 2 inch foam board (the pink stuff about $30) that I covered with a flannel sheet to use as a design wall (or for blocking). I placed the board on the floor with the quilt laying on it, top up. Carefully, I sprayed the quilt with plain tap water using a spray bottle until it was saturated. Next, using pins and a quilting ruler, I gently stretched the border into a straight line, holding it in place with pins going all the way through into the foam board. I used the ruler to insure the corners were square and the borders straight. It took some additional spraying, adjusting, and repinning to get the quilt stretched to the right position. I’m quite sure I used every pin in the house. Once everything was where I wanted it, I left it to dry overnight, sewing room door closed (no dogs allowed). The next day, my quilt looked great. I bound it and it is finished. Woo-hoo.

Bottom line, the foam board has been a great addition to my sewing room.  Blocking quilt…will definitely be spending the time to do this in the future. Well worth the results.

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Quilt pinned to foam board.  I just needed to use the pins around the edges of the border.

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I used the clear quilting ruler to make sure the borders were straight.

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Halloween quilt finished!  Machine applique, machine embroidery, and quilted on the new long arm.

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Close up of quilting.

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