Posts filed under Quilting

Sew Let's Quilt Along: Sewing Machine

Sew Let’s Quilt Along has started! It’s a free, sewing-themed mystery quilt along, and I’m so excited to share our first block with you. If you missed the intro, you can get all of the details here. I also have a handy dandy quilt along page with links to each block as it comes out.

Our very first block is a sewing machine! I don’t know about you, but I don’t think there’s any better way to kick off a sewing-themed quilt along than with a sewing machine. And Sandra did a fabulous job designing this one. She even included embroidered details to make it look more realistic, but I opted to leave those off of my block.

Head on over to Sandra’s post to get the pattern. All of our block patterns will be free until the quilt along ends on September 24, 2019.

Getting Started

Choosing Fabrics

I always think choosing fabrics is one of the hardest parts of making a block, so I was excited when my choices came together pretty easily this time. I started with the machine and table fabrics. Since there’s so much fabric in the machine, I wanted something with a lot of movement and variation of colors. Once I had that, I wanted a lighter fabric for the panel. From there, it was easy to find fabrics that went with the rest. Since the spools are so small, I was able to use some of my extra tiny scraps!

Helpful Supplies

The right tools make everything so much easier. Since some of the pieces in this block are pretty small, I heavily starched all of my fabrics with unscented Best Press before cutting. I used small office labels to keep track of my pieces, and a Sewline ceramic pencil to draw the lines on the stitch-and-flip squares. Finally, I pulled out my pack of Steam-A-Seam for fusing the knob on the machine. This was my first time using Steam-A-Seam, and I think I’ve been converted. It was so much easier to work with than Heat-N-Bond.

Piecing Tips

Seam Test

Any time a block has different sized pieces coming together, it’s essential to test your seam allowance. It’s the only way you can be sure everything will fit together nicely and your block will come out at just the right size.

To test your seam allowance, cut two 2" squares and sew them together. Press as desired, and measure the resulting rectangle. The rectangle should be 3 1/2" long. If your rectangle is shorter, you need a narrower seam allowance. If your rectangle is longer, you need a wider seam allowance. Adjust your seam and try again. Once the rectangle is exactly 3 1/2" long, you're good to go.

Stitch Length

Some of the pieces in this block are only 1 1/4" square. To keep those short seams from pulling apart, I recommend using a pretty short stitch length. I set the stitch length on my Viking to 2.0, which is about 16 stitches per inch.

Organization

As I was cutting, I labeled each piece with its letter or number from the pattern. That made it so easy to be sure I picked up the right pieces when it was time to sew! To make sure nothing got lost, I arranged all of my cut pieces on a baking tray. I inherited this tray from my grandma, and it lives in my sewing room for just this purpose.

Stitch and Flip Corners

My favorite tool for drawing the diagonal lines is a Sewline ceramic pencil. They come in several colors, but I just bought one pencil and change out the lead as needed.

The secret to making a successful stitch and flip corner is to stitch just outside of the drawn line. The line you drew isn't the stitching line - it's actually where the fabric needs to fold! By stitching just outside of the line, you give yourself the extra fabric you need to reach all the way to the corner when you flip it over.

Just to be safe, I always test to make sure my corner is covered before I cut away the excess fabric from the back.

Pinning

I generally avoid pinning, but some of the seams in this block are pretty long! I find that pinning long seams makes a huge difference in my finished block.

Pressing

You can press the seams in this block any way you would like, whether that’s open or to the side. Since I prefer to press to the side, I put a little bit of thought into the best way to press all of the seams. If you would like to press the same way I did, here’s a diagram.

And here’s a peak behind the seams. I was pleased that everything laid so nice!

Applique Tips

Avoiding Stiffness

Before I fuse the Steam-A-Seam to my fabric, I like to cut out the centers about 1/2” from the edge. This helps keep the applique from getting too stiff. Sometimes I will nest pieces inside each other to save on fusible, but these circles were a bit too close in size for that.

Here’s a look after fusing. I make sure my fabric is a little bit bigger than the fusible web so I don’t end up with any sticky residue on my ironing board.

Fusing the Knob

I found it easiest to fuse the center onto the knob before moving it to the block. That way I could deal with the whole knob as a single piece.

Peeling the Paper

Sometimes I find it pretty challenging to get the paper to peel off. If you score it with a pin, it makes it so much easier to get started!

Centering the Knob

I wanted my knob to be centered horizontally on my sewing machine. I pulled out an acrylic ruler and lined it up with the center of the knob. I played with the placement until I was happy, then fused it in place.

Secure with Stitching

It’s important to stitch around your applique so you can be sure it will stand the test of time. You can use any stitch you would like. Zigzags and blanket stitches are both popular options. Personally, I went for a simple straight stitch just inside the edge.

For best results, choose a thread that blends. I used Aurifil 1148 Light Jade in the blue, and Aurifil 1147 Light Leaf Green in the green. I used needle down option on my machine and went slowly. I frequently lifted the presser foot to adjust the fabric in order to keep the stitching going nicely along the round edges. If you’re nervous about this part, just take your time. It’s easier than it looks.

A Fleet of Sewing Machines

We have nine hosts for segment one, and we all made our very own sewing machine blocks. Be sure to visit all of the lovely ladies below for more tips and inspiration. If you like what you see, leave a comment! We all love a bit of encouragement from our fellow quilters.

Prizes

We will have a prize package at the end of every segment, as well as a grand prize at the end of the quilt along. The prizes are open to all participants that are at least 18 years old. If you don’t remember what I mean by segment, check out the intro post for a refresher on how this quilt along is structured.

How to Enter

To be eligible to win a segment prize, you need to make all of the blocks from that segment. Share a photo or photos of your blocks (in a single post) to be entered.

For segment 1, entries will be open from 12:00 am May 7 to 11:59 pm May 20, 2019 (Eastern time). There are three places you can share your blocks to be entered in the drawing:

  • Facebook - share in the Partners in Design Facebook Group

  • Instagram - share with the hashtag #SewLetsQAL

  • Blog Linky - the hosts will include a link-up on their segment 1 wrap-up post on May 7, 2019

Segment 1 Prize Package

We have a wonderful array of prizes for each segment! Here’s the prize package for segment 1:

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Grand Prize

To be eligible to win the grand prize, you need to make all 13 blocks from the whole quilt along and turn them into a quilt or other project(s). Quilt tops don’t need to be quilted, but projects do need to be finished. Share a single post that shows all of the blocks in a quilt or project. It doesn’t matter how many projects or what projects you make, or how many blocks you use in each project as long as you show that you’ve used all 13 blocks in a finished project or projects.

Important Note

To keep the contest portion of the quilt-along fair and fun for everyone, only quilters that use all of the designers' blocks [in a quilt or project(s)] will be eligible for the grand prize. Likewise, our segment prizes will only be open to those that make all of the designers’ blocks for that segment.

Fabulous Sponsors

We are really lucky to have some amazing sponsors on board for this quilt along! Please check them out as thanks for supporting us. Bluprint, Dear Stella, Everything Mary, Island Batik, Paintbrush Studio Fabrics, Prym, Shabby Fabrics, Timeless Treasures, Warm Company Additionally, many of the block designers are donating their quilt patterns.

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Time to Sew!

I hope you’re excited about this week’s block! I certainly can’t wait to see everyone’s sewing machines. Please remember to share your pictures so we can all cheer each other on. You can share in the Partners in Design Facebook group, or on Instagram with the hashtag #SewLetsQAL.

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Sew Let's Quilt Along: Fabric Options

Are you getting excited for our next quilt along? I sure am! If you missed the introduction, check it out here. That post has all of the information that you need to quilt along with us.

Our first block comes out in just over a week (Tuesday, March 12), so that means it’s time to start choosing fabrics! But what if you don’t have any idea what to choose? Don’t worry - the Partners in Design are here for you. In this post, we’ll take a look at our hosts’ fabric choices. It may not help you narrow down your options, but it will certainly give you some inspiration.

Quilt Hosts

These four ladies are each planning to use their blocks in one large quilt. That means their fabrics need to coordinate well for all of the blocks.

Bobbi Bridgeman @ Snowy Days Quilting

That’s me! I’m sticking with my love of batiks, and I decided to go with my favorite cool colors. The mottled grey is Bali Watercolors 1895-597 December. It will be my background fabric. For the foreground, I’ll be using bright blue, green, and purple scraps. Since we only need little bits of each fabric in the blocks, this quilt is a perfect scrap buster. I always enjoy seeing how many different fabrics I can get into one quilt.

The picture gives you a good idea of the variety I’m going for. I decided to stick to a specific color palette rather than trying to make the colors be realistic for the items in the blocks. I will have enough variety in colors and values to make the blocks come out well without worrying about realism.

Becca Fenstermaker @ Pretty Piney Quilts

Becca pulled a collection of fabrics from her stash with a variety of colors and values. She chose both a dark background and a light background. Since she’s making a quilt, she wanted her block backgrounds to be uniform. She’s also planning to bring in scraps from her stash as needed.

Sherry Shish @ Powered by Quilting

Sherry always makes such lovely quilts from Moda Grunge. This time, she chose some of her favorite colors as the focus fabrics. She’s also planning to pull from her many Grunge scraps to round out the color palette.

April Adams @ JANDA Bend Quilts

April is using fabrics from the Salem Quilt Show collection by Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill Studio for Maywood Studio. She’s excited to end up with a fun and wild quilt!

Project Hosts

These five ladies will be using their blocks in small projects. Since they’re making multiple projects, it’s less important for all of their fabrics to coordinate. Instead, they can choose a variety of favorites and use them in different projects.

Sandy Maxfield @ SandyStar Designs

Sandy is planning to use some of her treasured Blueberry Park stash in each block. She will fill in with solids or blenders.

Abbie Danahy @ Sparkle On!

Abbie is using fabrics from First Blush by It’s Sew Emma for Windham Fabrics. She’s also pulling from her stash of Kona solids.

Jennifer Fulton @ Inquiring Quilter

Jennifer went looking through her fabrics and pulled out anything that spoke to her. She came up with several wonderful ideas!

Kathleen McCormick @ Kathleen McMusing

These are some of the fabrics that spoke to Kathleen as she dug through her stash. She’s hoping to work in all of the sewing related fabrics.

Karen Thurn @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

Karen is looking to use her projects in her Arizona sewing room. With that in mind, she decided to include cacti in all of her blocks. She found a variety of cactus fabrics, and pulled in blenders to coordinate with them.

How Much Fabric Do I Need?

Keep in mind that everyone’s needs with vary depending on what they do with their blocks. There’s a huge variety in the fabrics that are needed for different quilt settings and small projects. With that said, I can give you a good idea of where to start for the blocks themselves.

Background - I recommend getting at least two yards of this for the blocks. If you’re planning on using it in your quilt setting or small projects, you will want some more.

Main Fabrics - I recommend going scrappy. Since we’ll only need little bits of fabric in each block, this is a great chance to use up some scraps. The more variety, the better!

If you prefer to select specific fabrics, I would get 1/2 yard each of 8 different fabrics. Once again, you may need more depending on what you do with your blocks.

Brown, Black, and Grey - If you would like to keep the blocks looking realistic, you’ll want a half yard each of brown, black, and grey. Of course, it’s also fine to leave those out if they don’t fit the color scheme you prefer. Your quilt (or projects) will still turn out well.

What Do You Think?

Is your mind swimming with ideas? Mine certainly is! I would love to hear your thoughts on the fabric choices. Do you have a favorite from what our hosts have shared? What are you thinking about for your own blocks? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Once you’ve chosen your own fabrics, we would love to see them. You can post a picture in the Partners in Design Facebook group, or on Instagram with the hashtag #SewLetsQAL. I can’t wait to see what you find!

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Sew Let's Quilt Along: Introduction

I can’t believe our next quilt along is finally here! I’m really excited to bring you the third mystery quilt along from Partners in Design. We had a blast with I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long and Fall into a Quilt Along, and I can’t wait to start sewing with you again.

Speaking of sewing, that’s our theme! I hope you love it as much as we do. We are doing a few things differently this time around, so you’ll want to keep reading to get the details.

The best part of this quilt along is all of the support you can expect. We have 11 Partners in Design working together to make this a success, and we're all here to answer your questions and cheer you on. Not only that, but our Facebook group is full of friendly quilters that are always happy to jump in if you’re feeling a bit stuck. I hope you’ll join us!

Who Are the Partners in Design?

We are a group of 11 pattern designers that are teaming up to bring you a fabulous quilt along. Allow me to introduce the people that are working so hard to make your experience amazing:

Abbie Danahy @ Sparkle On!
April Adams @ JANDA Bend Quilts
Becca Fenstermaker @ Pretty Piney Quilts
Bobbi Bridgeman @ Snowy Days Quilting <— That’s me!
Jennifer Fulton @ Inquiring Quilter
Karen Thurn @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Kathleen McCormick @ Kathleen McMusing
Laura Piland @ Slice of Pi Quilts
Sandra Healy @ Sandra Healy Designs
Sandy Maxfield @ SandyStar Designs
Sherry Shish @ Powered by Quilting

How Does This Work?

We’ve added some new options this time around. We thought it would be fun for you to be able to choose between using your blocks in one big quilt or using them in several smaller projects. To facilitate the smaller projects, we’ve broken the quilt along into segments. But don’t worry - we’ll still provide ideas for a whole quilt at the end of the quilt along.

We will be releasing a new sewing-themed block every other Tuesday at 12:00 am Eastern time. Our lovely hosts will share their versions of the block along with tips for success. After each segment, some of our hosts will share a small project idea. At the end, the rest of the hosts will share a full quilt. We will have prizes after each segment, and a grand prize at the very end (more details on that below).

Where Do I Get the Patterns?

If you follow my blog, you will get an email when each new block is released. The email will include my take on the block, any tips or tricks I found to help you succeed, and a link to the tutorial. Sign up here to stay in the loop!

I have also created a page just for Sew Let’s Quilt Along. As each new block is released, I will add a link to it on that page. You can bookmark it for easy access, or find it by clicking the Quilt Alongs tab at the top of the blog.

What’s the Schedule?

Since it’s a mystery, each block will be a surprise. Stop by the designers’ blogs to see the new block at 12:00 am Eastern time on release dates. All of the block patterns will be free until September 24, 2019.

Segment 1: March 12 to May 21

Segment 2: May 21 to July 16

Segment 3: July 16 to September 10

The End: September 24

  • Grand Prize Winner Announced

  • Last Day for Free Block Patterns

Wait…There’s 13 Blocks?

Yep! We will have 12 blocks that each finish at 12”, and we’ll also have one larger block that finishes at 18” by 24”. That gives us a lot of options for how we use them!

For a big quilt, you could put the large block in the center, and the 12 smaller blocks around the outside. Or you could put the large block off to one corner or side, and fill in with the smaller blocks. At the end of the quilt along, several of our hosts (including me) will provide layouts that use all of the blocks.

Don’t want to make a whole quilt? No problem! The rest of our hosts will be sharing small projects as we go. Their projects will use all of the blocks from each segment, so there will be no shortage of ideas.

Who Are the Hosts?

This is another way we’re changing things up a bit. We will have 7 full-time hosts that will be quilting along the whole time. We will also have three part-time hosts that are just joining us for a segment or two. Whoever is hosting will share their versions of the blocks along with tips for success.

Quilt Hosts

These ladies will share their blocks and tips every week for the whole quilt along. At the end, they will share a quilt layout that uses all of the blocks.

April @ JANDA Bend Quilts

Becca @ Pretty Piney Quilts

Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting <— That’s me!

Sherry @ Powered by Quilting

Project Hosts

We have three full-time project hosts. They will share their blocks and tips every week for the whole quilt along. After each segment, they will share a project idea that uses the blocks from that segment.

Abbie Danahy @ Sparkle On!

Karen Thurn @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

Sandy Maxfield @ SandyStar Designs

We also have part-time hosts joining us for individual segments. While they are hosting, these ladies will share their blocks and tips. They will also share a project idea at the end of their segment.

Segment 1 (March 12 - May 21): Kathleen McCormick @ Kathleen McMusing and Sandra Healy @ Sandra Healy Designs

Segment 2 (May 21 - July 16): Jennifer Fulton @ Inquiring Quilter

Segment 3 (July 16 - September 10): Kathleen McCormick @ Kathleen McMusing

How Much Fabric Do I need?

Keep in mind that everyone’s needs with vary depending on what they do with their blocks. There’s a huge variety in the fabrics that are needed for different quilt settings and small projects. With that said, I can give you a good idea of where to start for the blocks themselves.

Background - I recommend getting at least two yards of this for the blocks. If you’re planning on using it in your quilt setting or small projects, you will want some more.

Main Fabrics - I recommend going scrappy. Since we’ll only need little bits of fabric in each block, this is a great chance to use up some scraps. The more variety, the better!

If you prefer to select specific fabrics, I would get 1/2 yard each of 8 different fabrics. Once again, you may need more depending on what you do with your blocks.

Brown, Black, and Grey - If you would like to keep the blocks looking realistic, you’ll want a half yard each of brown, black, and grey. Of course, it’s also fine to leave those out if they don’t fit the color scheme you prefer. Your quilt will still turn out well.

My Fabric Choices

For my background, I’m going with Bali Watercolors 1895-597 December by Hoffman. In the picture below, it’s the lovely mottled grey that the other fabrics are resting on.

The foreground of my quilt will be scraps of bright blue, green, and purple batiks. The picture gives you a good idea of the variety I’m going for. I decided to stick to a specific color palette rather than trying to make the colors be realistic for the items in the blocks. I will have enough variety in colors and values to make the blocks come out well without worrying about realism.

For more fabric ideas, check out this post.

What Techniques Will We Use?

One of the best parts of the quilt along is getting to practice different techniques. Our blocks will be made with traditional piecing and fusible applique. We will also have small amounts of hand embroidery and other embellishments.

Don’t be afraid to try something new! We know we will have beginners quilting along, so we’re planning to provide plenty of support. There will be tutorials for anything out of the box, and the hosts will give tips to make each block as easy as possible. The hosts and participants in the Facebook group are great at answering questions. And you’re always welcome to tweak a design to fit your comfort level. Everyone’s creative interpretations are welcome.

How Do I Share My Progress?

I’m glad you asked! My very favorite part of a quilt along is seeing what everyone is making. We have several great ways for you share your work:

Facebook - The Partners in Design Facebook group is open for all of our quilt alongs. There you'll find a great community of fellow quilters ready to cheer you on.

Instagram - Please use #SewLetsQAL on all of your posts so we can see them. If you follow the #SewLetsQAL hashtag, you will also see what everyone else is making.
You can find me on Instagram as @snowydaysquilting

What About Prizes?

We will have a prize package at the end of every segment, as well as a grand prize at the end of the quilt along. The prizes are open to all participants that are at least 18 years old.

Where to Enter

There are three places you can share your blocks to be entered in our prize drawings:

  • Facebook - share in the Partners in Design Facebook Group

  • Instagram - share with the hashtag #SewLetsQAL

  • Blog Linky - the hosts will include a link-up on their wrap-up posts at the end of each segment

See below for specific instructions for the different prizes.

Segment Prizes

To be eligible to win a segment prize, you need to make all of the blocks from that segment. Share a photo or photos of your blocks (in a single post) to be entered.

Grand Prize

To be eligible to win the grand prize, you need to make all 13 blocks from the whole quilt along and turn them into a quilt or other project(s). Quilt tops don’t need to be quilted, but projects do need to be finished. Share a single post that shows all of the blocks in a quilt or project. It doesn’t matter how many projects or what projects you make, or how many blocks you use in each project as long as you show that you’ve used all 13 blocks in a finished project or projects.

Important Note

To keep the contest portion of the quilt-along fair and fun for everyone, only quilters that use all of the designers' blocks (in a quilt or project(s)) will be eligible for prizes. Likewise, our segment prizes will only be open to those that make all of the designers’ blocks for that segment.

Fabulous Sponsors

We are really lucky to have some amazing sponsors on board for this quilt along! Please check them out as thanks for supporting us.

Bluprint
Dear Stella
Everything Mary
Island Batik
Prym
Shabby Fabrics
Timeless Treasures
Warm Company

Additionally, many of the block designers are donating quilt patterns.

How Do I Join?

Easy peasy! Just follow my blog (or any of the other hosts' blogs) and you will see when each block is released. Make the block with your own fabrics and share it so we can all cheer each other on.

The more people that participate, the more fun it will be. If you decide to join, please tell your friends. If you're on Instagram, save the quiltalong graphic and share it with #SewLetsQAL. If you're on Facebook, share this blog post or a post from the Facebook group with your friends. If you're a blogger, tell your followers and link back to this post. And most of all, leave me a comment so I know you're in!

I can't wait to get started. I hope you'll join us! It's going to be a blast.

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