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2019 Quilt Alongs

Quilt along season is here! Of course there are sew alongs and block of the month programs happening throughout the year, but January in particular always seems to bring a slew of fun group sewing opportunities, so I thought I’d do a little round up of 2019 quilt alongs. They’re such a great way to sew through your fabric stash (something I’m really committed to doing this year) and meet kindred spirits in the quilting community. So every year I dive into at least a few.

In choosing which quilt alongs I wanted to join I came across quite a few that looked great. (You’ll find a list of all the 2019 quilt alongs and block-of-the-month series that caught my eye at the bottom of this post.) Ultimately I decided that I would do just two (for now, ha ha), plus create my own secret BOMs behind the scenes, with the aim of having at least one free quilt along to share with you this time next year.

The projects I’m participating in this year are:

  • A Year with Miss Lizzy Block of the Month
  • I Heart You Quilt Along
  • Chamomile Quilt Along

And of course I’m also lucky to be part of an amazing beehive group, the Royal Canadian Quilter Bees.

A Year with Miss Lizzy

A Year with Miss Lizzy is a bit of a choose your own adventure block of the month pattern created by Angie over at Gnome Angel. You can opt for either a traditional sampler or a contemporary sampler. (Or both!) I’m sewing the contemporary, 12 block version, because I like working with big blocks, and I like the pace (and anticipation) of getting a new block pattern to work on each month.

Below is my take on the January block, “Hydrangea.”

Hydrangea Pink Quilt Block

And here is my fabric pull for my Miss Lizzy’s Blooms sampler:

Fabric Pull for Quilt Along Sampler

 

I Heart You Quilt Along

Next up is a quilt along taking place in January, the I Heart You Quilt sew along. This is a pattern is a collaboration by Pen and Paper Patterns and Then Came June. I’ve chosen to sew my blocks in a palette of blue, pale pink, and acid lime (that background fabric is part of the “Signature” collection by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery fabrics. It’s a really fast sew so you can still join in (otherwise check out the Taco Truck and Sweet Treats quilt alongs, links at the bottom of this post).

I heart you quilt along block

Chamomile Quilt Along

I could not resist joining the quilt along for the beautiful Chamomile Quilt Pattern by Woodberry Way. It’s a low volume quilt for which I’ve done all of my block cutting (but not the sashing) and started piecing. So far I am in love with the efficiency of this pattern. It makes great use of fabric (I’m using fat quarters) and has a really clever methodology for quickly creating the patchwork blocks (like the one below).

low volume Chamomile Quilt

Beehive quilt

This time last year I started a new quilting adventure with a group of ladies from across Canada, thanks to Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts who, along with providing a set of free block patterns perfect for group quilting bees, provided an amazing service organizing quilters into hives (follow her blog or newsletter for the next one, usually happens towards the end of the calendar year). The block below is a Ripple block (design by Angie of Gnome Angel) that I made for January’s queen bee.

Beehive Quilts Ripple Block

More 2019 quilt alongs

Here’s a running list of quilt alongs (some are free, some require a pattern purchase but very often there will be a discount in the lead up to QAL launch). I’ll keep adding to this list as the year goes on.

Shorter quilt alongs:

January 15: Super fun Harry Potter quilt along by Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts

January 21: Scrappy Trip Around the World hosted by Gnome Angel

February 1: Sweet Treat and Taco Truck quilt alongs by Pen and Paper Patterns

February 25: Meadowloand quilt along by Then Came June

April 1: Chamomile quilt along by Woodberry Way

Year long 2019 quilt along programs:

Aurifil Designer of the Month Block … this one is free mystery quilt, with a new block by a different designer revealed each month.

Threadology quilt along … a spool-themed quilt along benefiting the Make a Wish charity.

2019 Block of the Month Sampler Quilt Sew Along from the Quilter’s Planner

Papercuts 2019 Block of the Month … a very cool paper snowflake-style paper piecing quilt along from Amy Friend.

Have you joined or started any quilt alongs for 2019? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Needle turn appliqué project: the Rin Quilt

Some progress to share on this quilt I’ve been working on using needle turn appliqué (also called Hawaiian need turn appliqué). This is the Rin Quilt pattern by Carolyn Friedlander and as you can see I’ve done it up in corals and mint because I want to use this specifically as a wall hanging for Christmas. I had hoped to include it in the holiday sewing project round up last month but did not make it in time. Now I have a top ready to go, with plenty of time for quilting before next Christmas comes around.

(Flash forward to me next year on Christmas Eve, frantically finishing a binding at midnight, ha ha!)

rin needle turn applique quilt

I love this quilting technique because it’s machine-free. Unless you choose to machine baste, which I actually did this time around, and I think it improved my results. So you can sit and sew all cozy, watching movies on the couch. I’m so into handwork projects lately that I plan to get right back to my Kingfisher EPP now that this quilt top is finished!

Back to the Rin Quilt pattern: the large block sizes make this a very fun project to work on. You may work on a single block for a while, but once you’ve got a few down you’ll see your quilt come together quickly.

Tools for needle turn appliqué

There are a couple of tools/notions that Carolyn recommends and now that I’ve tried them, I swear by them.

The first is a pair of Kai scissors. I believe the Kai 5100 is what I have. They are incredibly sharp, and for slicing through layers of fabric with accuracy, they are indispensable.

The second is a lightweight thread. The Aurifil 80wt Cotton Thread Set for appliqué is what I’ve been using. Of course you just need a spool or two, but I’ve found the set curated by Carolyn has the perfect mix of colours. This is the third needle turn quilt I’ve started, each with a different palette, and I haven’t been at a loss for the right colour once.

(Both the scissors and the thread are available on her site.)

How to get started

If you’re intimidated, don’t be! My suggestion would be to start with a pattern with lots of big convex curves. They are strangely easy to get right. Inner/concave needle turn applique points and curves are notoriously more difficult to master. (I’m definitely still working on it.) But just like anything else you’ll improve with practice. The Rin Quilt pattern provides lots of opportunity for this, with throw, wall, full, and king size quilt versions included, as well as a 20” square sham.

Double Time Quilt

As soon as I saw the Double Time Quilt pattern in the Handmade Getaway book I knew it would be the perfect way to make two “matching but not matching” quilts as gift for two little girls. Instead of swapping all of the fabrics I used the same prints for about two thirds of the blocks. Then, for the rest of the blocks, I used fabrics that were distinct to each quilt. Heather Ross’ Sugarplum fabric for the shared prints, then a set of pinks and reds for one quilt, and blue-y greens for the other. The end result was that one quilt had more of a candy-coloured feeling, while the other was more rainbow bright.

Double time quilt

I had so much fun making these. It’s a classic drunkard’s path type design with some well thought out instructions to make the cutting and print allocation for multiple quilts go really quickly. I would also say that it’s a good curve block project for beginners because the flexible layout allows you to “hide” any blocks in which the curved seams might not quite match up, by turning them to and fro. (Plus there are a lot of blocks, so you’ll get lots of practice!)

Drunkard's path quilt

Some tips for sewing curves

My curves are not perfect but my skills in this area have improved over the years so I do have some tips.

Double time quilt

  1. My biggest suggestion, if you’re new to curves, is to RELAX and just go with it. Counter-intuitively, my occasionally loosey-goosey sewing style somehow lends itself to sewing curves. If you’re still nervous, see step 2.
  2. I use exactly five pins, and focus on only one section at a time. This is helpful if your brain is freaking out (OMG! I’m sewing a curve!). Forget about the rest of the block and just focus on that little stretch of space between two pins, using your fingers to gently keep both edges aligned.
  3. As suggested in the book, I used Flatter spray and it really made a noticeable difference preventing distortion.

Double time quilt

Resources for the Double Time Quilt

As I mentioned, the Double Time Quilt pattern is from the Handmade Getaway book by Jacqueline Sava Clarke and Karyn Valino. If you didn’t snag a copy during the Handmade Getaway Kickstarter, you can get it here or at your local quilt shop. It’s full of great sewing projects (and printmaking projects as well)!

The beautiful long arm quilting on both of these quilts is by Spooled Rotten Quilts.

Easy drunkards path quilt pattern

Want more fun projects? Enter your deets below and get a free quilt block pattern for Ribbon Letters blocks AB and C.

All photos : Patch and Dot

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