Monday, November 16, 2009

Welcome to the Quilt Along!

Bree and I are so excited to be kicking off our new blog with our very first quilt-along! It was a quilt-along that got me interested in trying my hand at quilting. I had tons of fun and the person leading the way made it all look so easy. Now it seems that quilting is all I ever want to do! I hope you have tons of fun quilting along with us! And who knows? Maybe you'll find a love of quilting that you never knew you had :)

I am going to kick this off with a few rules *ahem*, I mean guidelines.

Number 1. Whatever you do, don't panic! If at any point of the quilt-along you are frustrated or just don't know what to do, just ask! Discussion group is located here:

Number 2. The biggest lesson I learned from the quilt-along I joined was Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. And what a lesson it was! It's very hard for me to overlook a not so straight line, or a corner that doesn't match up perfect. But in the end, it wasn't worth it to get worked up over. And those not so perfect corners and not so straight lines add to the charm, so Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!!

Number 3. The most important rule of all.....Have Fun!!!! This is meant to be fun and exciting and a learning experience. There is no reason to get worked up over anything, just chalk it all up to experience and go with the flow. The end result will be something you didn't think you would ever be able to do, right? Just remember, you can doooo it!!

Ok, on to the list of materials and fabric requirements.

The quilt that we decided to begin with is called a Disappearing 9 Patch. It is easy, it is beautiful and it looks like it takes a ton of work, but it doesn't. That's the beauty of it! They are fun to make and fun to look at and they are all straight lines! Here are some examples of a Disappearing 9 patch. I snagged these pics from Obsessively Stitching. Check her out, she does some awesome stuff!

I will be making a crib/throw sized quilt but will list the fabric requirements for larger sizes as well for those of you feeling adventurous. If at any point you need help figuring out your math, just ask. There is no question too big or too small.

The quilt is going to be made up of 5" squares. I will tell you how many squares you can get out of a certain cut of fabric and also how many squares it will take to make various quilt sizes. With this pattern it is best to use
at least 9 different types of fabrics. If you need help coordinating fabrics I have links to many places where you can buy them in the same line and they all coordinate very nicely.

1-fat quarter will yield 12 squares
1-1/2 yard cut of fabric yields 24 squares

1-3/4 yard cut of fabric yields 40 squares
1-1 yard cut of fabric yields 56 squares

Now here is where your handy math skills come in. I hope everybody paid attention in school!! I will list the size of the quilt and next to it will be how many individual squares you will need for the quilt. After that will be how many blocks are going to make up that quilt. Each block will be made of 9 squares. So, if you use 9 different fabrics, you will need 1 square of each fabric to make up one block. Still with me?

crib/throw (approx. 40"x52")-108 squares-12 blocks
larger throw (approx. 52"x65")-180 squares-20 blocks
twin/single (approx. 65"x92")-315 squares-35 blocks
full/double (approx 78'x92')-378 squares-42 blocks
queen size (approx. 92"x104')-504 squares-56 blocks

Example: A crib/throw is made up of 12 blocks or 108 individual squares. By using 9 different fabrics I will need to purchase 9 different fat quarters because I need 12 individual squares of each fabric to make up my 12 blocks and a fat quarter yields 12 squares. I realize some of this is hard to picture, so just trust me. And ask questions if you need help figuring out how much fabric you need.

Now, here is where I might make your life
REALLY easy. You may not have heard of these little things called charm packs. Charm packs are packs of 5" precut squares of fabrics that all come from a coordinating line. You can buy them everywhere. If you are the type who has trouble coordinating fabrics, or might just want to skip the cutting part, then charm packs might be right for you. The only problem with charm packs is that they don't have a lot of duplicates, so all of your blocks will not be exactly the same, which is ok! The more different types of fabrics you use, the scrappier it looks and it looks like you put even MORE work into it!

You will also need fabric for binding and the backing and also some batting. The amount of these that you will need will also depend on the size of your quilt. If you're making a crib/throw then 1/2 yard for the binding should be enough, anything bigger and I suggest getting a full yard. We will discuss the backing and batting later once we know what our final quilt sizes will be.

Last but not least, the other materials and supplies that you'll need!

A sewing machine (feel free to piece by hand if you're feeling adventurous though)

Recommended feet for the sewing machine are 1/4" quilting foot, and a walking foot or darning foot for the quilting part of the quilt-along. You can use the normal basic foot on the machine though, no worries!

A rotary cutter and self healing mat (optional but very highly recommended) You may want to make sure you have an extra blade. Nothing like running to the store in the middle of a project! You will also need some type of ruler or at least a measuring tape. We will be cutting 2 1/2" strips when we get to the binding, you'll need to be able to measure those out. Also, when choosing a ruler, try to find one with grip on it. Mine has no grip and it slips a lot. Drives me crazy!! I really need to get a new one. (Note, even if you purchase the charm packs, there is still some cutting involved, so you will still need these items).

A pair of good fabric cutting scissors. If you don't have some, buy some. You'll thank me later. And see those little orange handled ones? Those are my snips, I love love love my snips. Very handy little buggers to have around.

Straight pins and pin cushion-I personally have 2 pin cushions. I like to have one on my ironing board and one by my sewing machine so I don't have to carry them around. I do not recommend pins with ball heads on them. They get in the way. Look for the ones meant for quilting.

Coordinating thread-Don't go cheap! I use Coates and Clark for the most part. Gutermann and Mettler are both considered higher end and are both very good thread. you'll want at least a couple of spools just for the sewing. We'll discuss thread again when it's time to quilt.

Iron and ironing board. Starch is nice to have around too.

Optional but not necessary. You may want one of these if you don't purchase a rotary cutter and self healing mat. A fabric marking pen.

Also optional but not necessary, a square ruler in the 5" size. Again, if you don't plan on buying a rotary cutter and mat, this may make cutting easier. Another option though is to make your own pattern out of a paper grocery sack or a piece of cardboard.

Editing to add this, a seam ripper. If you didn't get one with your sewing machine, invest in one. Seriously. My seam ripper is my best friend.

That is everything you need to get started. Start looking for your fabrics and gather your supplies. We'll get started right after Christmas!!

Go to the discussion group to ask any questions and post some pics of your fabric when you get it, I love looking at fabric!