So I mentioned the other day that I was "blocking" one of my quilts and I then got a couple of questions about it.
I will say that I am very new to quilt blocking and while I had heard of it I had never thought it necessary given the types of quilts I had been making ( i.e. drag around kid quilts and sofa snuggler).
Blocking quilts helps them straighten up after the process of quilting has somewhat pulled them out of line. A heavily quilted top can loose more than 2 inches in width and length over a very large span and depending on the quilting this might not be evenly distributed over the quilt. (This is really why you shoot for it to be even for less distortion)
Space to do the blocking is usually an issue for most people since depending on the size of the quilt you could need a seriously large area that will sit undisturbed for up to a week in some cases.
Some people like to use a carpeted floor to pin into and block their quilt, but my house has no carpet, not to mention we have lots of pets!
Some people like to use the Interlocking Black Foam Mats which I also use ( I often have multiple quilts block at once) they are easy to store but not my favorite.
For expandable ease I really prefer to use insulation foam board as my pinning surface of choice. You can find this product at any of the large hardware chain stores. It comes in HUGE sheets or pre-cut into panels.
I use it both ways. But even in my big old Suburban I have to cut the big sheets in 1/2 to get them home, but that it ok since I am going to be cutting it up as part of the process anyway! (Remember to bring a box knife!)
Supplies are easy- Foam board, box knife and WIDE DuckTape -
To begin line up two of the boards and tape the seam, now close the boards " book style" and place tape over the "spine" of your foam book.
Now going back and forth accordion style you will double tape each set of boards making an effective hinge that lets you stack up the pile of boards for storage.
When you have the number of boards that is right for you then go around and tape up all the edges making sure as you do so not to hinder the ability to fold up your board for storage.
For heavy use like my boards get I like to then cover one whole side in strips of the duck tape or with fabric tape. This makes the surface stronger for pinning into multiple times.
In this example I have not yet taped all the surfaces, but will. I also used the lesser favorite of the two types of foam since when I went to pick it up I drove the wrong car and this what would fit in the car!
When using the board I lay a clean sheet over it to make sure that no adhesive from the tape could possibly get on the quilt back. - I would also suggest it be a white sheet.. my green one is very old and I don't worry about it..but white is safer!
For the actual mechanics of blocking I am going to send you over to see my good friend Margaret who has done a wonderful blog post on blocking quilts!