January 31, 2012

Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt QAL Starts Today...

My already completed blocks from the first set.
 Our Quiltalong officially begins today!

I've already sent a few group emails to the participants listed below as I've started creating blocks to stay ahead of the group. I want to be sure that, if there are problems, I encounter them first and help the rest of the group avoid making the same mistakes. Likewise, I welcome input and pointers from each and every member of the group. This is OUR quiltalong - not MY quiltalong - and I want to make it fun for every quilter, both novice and experienced alike.

Some of us will be using Marti Mitchell's acrylic templates to cut out most of our quilt blocks. Others will cut out paper templates from the Farmer's Wife book. Most of us will be using our trusty sewing machines, but I know of at least one seamstress who will be creating all of her blocks by hand sewing each stitch.

Our February set includes the following blocks:
  • #9 - Box
  • #16 - Calico Puzzle
  • #21 - Contrary Wife
  • #23 - Country Farm
  • #41 - Friendship Star
  • #69 - Practical Orchard
  • #70 - Prairie Queen
  • #72 - Railroad
  • #81 - Snowball
  • #84 - Spool
I have completed these blocks so far are:
Box - renamed "Music Box" for my quilt

Contrary Wife

Country Farm

Friendship Star

Practical Orchard

What I want to be sure you know if you're also participating, but are not on the list, is that it is imperative that you confirm your machine sews an exact 1/4" seam. I found that unless you take the time to do this, you will be frustrated that your seams will not line up properly and your blocks will end up different sizes. Once I did this, my blocks looked much better - and measured 6 1/2" as they're supposed to.

I'll assume that you don't know how to do this and share the process with you. Here's what you do: Cut three 1 1/2" strips of fabric about 4 inches long. Now, using your usual method to sew a 1/4" seam, sew two pieces right-sides together and press open. Now, add the third strip using the same method and press open. Measure the width of the assembled strips. Do they equal 3 1/2"? If not, you'll need to move your needle (one click at a time), either left or right until you get that exact 1/4". (Right if the piece measures more than 3 1/2" and to the right if it measures less than 3 1/2".) My seams were actually more than 1/4" using a 1/4" sewing foot, so I moved my needle to the right two clicks until my test strips measured 3 1/2". ***If you're using a 1/4" foot, make sure that your needle is still able to pass through the opening in the foot. Too far and you'll break your needle up against it!  Refer to your owner's manual for your machine to see how to move the needle. On mine, the machine has to be in straight stitch mode and then all I had to do was adjust the width indicator (as you usually would for a zigzag stitch), but your machine may work differently, so check to be sure.

Also...I suggest that you only cut out the pieces for one block at a time. You'll then be concentrating on that block through the whole process and you're more likely to get the arrangement and seam allowances right it you do it this way.

When I write the post for our February set, I'll be sharing a story from you from my own QAL journal with you. As I'm creating these blocks, I'm explaining my choices for fabric but more importantly, I'm writing down my thoughts about the meaning behind the blocks I'm choosing.
I've set up a special Flickr group so that participants can upload their own photographs of their completed blocks. (If you're participating in the QAL, click here to go to the group and you can post photos anytime.) Also...Let me know what size quilt you're planning to make. I think we're going to have a whole assortment of sizes!

This is the list of the participants. If they have a blog, you can click on their name to visit their blogs:
There's still time to join, but don't delay. If you'd like to join in, just email me with your name, blog url (if you have one) and email address and I'll add you to the list. I'll be cutting off official participation on Febuary 10, 2011.

To all who are "official"...time to start your blocks (if you haven't already). I'm looking forward to seeing your completed blocks as we work toward our finished quilt projects. Remember, the most important thing is "Have Fun"!

10 friends clicked here to leave a note for me:

Charlie and Wendy said...

Lovely post Donna, it makes it exciting to begin! By the way my blog is http://charliendwendysblog.blogspot.co.nz/ Wendy from New Zealand

Sue said...

Oh it's exciting! I have started on some cutting and now that I know which blocks to do, I will get them done and post them.
Are you wanting us to post them to the Flickr site only? Or at our blogs too? Either way will work:)

Deb said...

Your blocks look fantastic Donna! You're off to a great start. It's going to be fun watching you go through this journey!

Sharon said...

Tag is so precious! I think he is one lucky pup to have found you Donna. I can't believe he is growing up so fast.

Createology said...

Your blocks look fantastic and really show doing the prep work is sew valuable. Thank you very much dear...

Karen said...

Here I was so proud of myself for having everything ready, fabrics chosen and set aside, book out, templates out - I never did wash my fabric. so... guess what I'm doing tonight!!! :) It's just me and the laundry room.

Sewing In CT said...

Yay! as I read and re-read your notes, I look at my first blocks and realize, they're not worthy. I'll be checking my 1/4" seams this weekend! Tonight I might pick some colors though. Thank you!!! Toni

Patty C. said...

WONDERFUL - Some day I am going to own a quilt - Your blog keeps me inspired !!!!!!

Michelle May said...

It's going to be a lot of fun. I love the friendship star best.

Carol said...

I would love to join...I've been working on this for a bit but could sure use the motivation of a group. Thanks so much.


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