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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Quilted Prayer Shawl

Quilt number one for 2011 is done. It turned out quite beautifully if I do say so my self and was simple to make, easy for even a bginning quilter.

Take a look at my final product:

It's a quilted prayer shawl for a family member who is having surgery next month.

Want to make one of your own? Here's how:

What you'll need:

Five fat quarters

2.5 yards of backing fabric to coordinate with fat quarters

2.5 yards of batting (I prefer a natural batting rather than synthetic)

two packages of bias tape (or make your own for binding)

Start with five fat quarters.

These were a fantastic Christmas gift from my sweet husband. He has a good eye and knew I'd love these fabrics. Cut the fat quarters on the width into 2.5 inch strips (so the quilt strips are 2 inches wide with ¼ inch seam allowances on each side).

Sew the strips by putting right sides together and sewing a straight line down the length (remember we are allowing for a ¼ inch seam allowance). Remember you will be sewing on the back of the fabric not the front. After sewing the first pair together open them up, add another strip so that the right sides face each other and sew again. Repeat until you've used all of your strips. Initially I wanted to sew the strips randomly but because I'm me I ended up falling into a pattern right from the start. I suppose I naturally try to make order out of chaos. I am who I am. There really isn't a wrong way to piece the strips together though so have fun with it. When the top is done don't forget to set the seams by ironing them. There is some debate about ironing them flat vs ironing them open. I'm not sure it matters with this quilt since no interlocking squares are involved.

Next, we cut our backing and batting. Cut the backing so that it is about an inch bigger than your quilt top on all sides. Now, tape the backing to a clean area of you floor. Hardwood or tile is better than carpet for this. When taping your backing down stretch it fairly tight to avoid lumps or creases in your final product. Cut your batting to size next using the backing as a template. Next step: roll your batting as well as your quilt top into a jelly-roll. With the batting it doesn't matter which way it unrolls since the top and bottom are the same. With the quilt top you want it to unroll so that the top become visible as you unroll it. Now it's time to baste. I used spray-basting rather than pinning. Spray the top of the backing (which is taped down to the floor, remember) and then unroll your batting onto the backing. Go slowly so there are no lumps or gathers. Once the batting is laid out spray the top of it with your spray adhesive and repeat the process with your quilt top. Unroll it carefully and smooth as you go.

Ta-da! It's pieced.

Next, square it off by folding it in half and trimming the edges down using a rotary cutter.

Time to quilt!

What makes this prayer shawl easy to quilt is that you simply stitch down the fabric seams. There are no intricate patterns involved and also, again, no wrong way to quilt it.

This was a great chance for me to use many of the different, fun stitches available on my machine. The result is whimsical and beautiful.

When the quilting is done it's time to attach the binding.

If you need directions on how to sew with bias tape check out this you tube tutorial. She's fantastic and explains it way better than I ever could.

Trim your strings and you're done!

It's customary to include a note or poem explaining the prayer shawl. If you need ideas – google “prayer shawl poem” and you'll see all sorts of different prayers, blessings, dedications, etc.

It took me three partial evenings to complete the prayer shawl. One evening to cut it out and sew the strips. One evening of laying it out, basting, cutting, squaring and quilting a few strips. One evening to finish quilting and bind.

If you make a shawl inspired by this tutorial I'd love to hear how it goes and see your results!


  1. Here I am.. again! :D I said 'Julianna.. that is GORGEOUS! And look at you already sticking to your resolutions, go you!"

  2. That is BEAUTIFUL!! I need to start buying fat quarters to get an assortment of fabrics that go together. You did a great job!

  3. Just what I was looking for! I've always done knit or crochet ones in the past, but have started learning to quilt. I'm very happily surprised that this could be faster than my knitted prayer shawls!!

  4. What is the final size of the shawl?