Week 3 of our Quiltalong is here and I can’t believe we are nearing the half way mark. I am loving watching everyone’s quilts coming together in our Facebook group – Lemon Squeezy Quiltalong – and seeing the gorgeous fabrics chosen. I can already tell there will be many spectacular quilts when this is over!
This week is all about assembling our first lot of blocks – called Block A in the pattern. There are a million different ways to assemble blocks and they are all correct I promise. Part of being a quilter is learning to do what makes the most sense to you. Some times it flies in the face of convention and often it would seem crazy to someone else but none of that matters. What is important is developing a process that makes sense to you!
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In last week’s blog post I cut my gorgeous Dreamworld bundle by Riley Blake Designs and I have been waiting patiently to find time since to get my blocks started. Trust me when I say I understand the stress of busyness as much as anyone. I did mean to do them before today but after a massive week with the kids I didn’t get the chance to sit down until this afternoon and get them done. Luckily they are super quick and within a couple of hours of starting I was done and at the park with the dog. I love quilts that aren’t a huge investment of time yet still look really intricate finished – Lemon Squeezy well and truly fits the bill and it is no surprise it is now my biggest selling pattern.
We are tackling our first lot of blocks tonight (although I know many of you have already completed these and started on the next – overachievers lol!) and are starting with the simplest ones. There are a few reasons for this. First of all if you are new to quilting and chain piecing these are way less daunting to start with, secondly they come together quickly and give you an immediate idea of what your quilt is going to look like (and if you need to add any other fabrics to the mix) and also because these should feature your favourite fabrics! I love starting with my favourites first – makes me so excited for what comes next.
I am going to give a super quick rundown of how I layout and chainpiece these blocks. Again this is MY WAY of doing things, it doesnt have to be yours. It is what works for me after years and years of laying out and piecing quilts and is a truly smooth and refined process for me now. Its a big reason too why I can cut and piece a quilt like this in a day.
Now this is an older photo of mine clearly. I meant to update it today but the lighting in here is so bad due to the rain so I pulled this one out of an earlier post. Although the decor around it has changed, the premise around it is exactly the same. I lower my ironing board down so it is desk height and put it right beside me when I am assembling my blocks and top. That way I only need to swivel my chair between piecing and ironing and, you guys, it saves so much time! Not having to stand up each time I want to press a seam makes a world of difference to my quilting process and means I can spot mistakes etc quickly and fix them instantly all without taking a single step.
Now as for how I assemble my blocks. When I am piecing my blocks for Lemon Squeezy I always prefer to chain piece. I rarely lay my quilts out on the floor at this stage preferring to wait until the final layout. This is because I have dogs who like to run through my fabrics and also because my method means I can walk away at any time and come back when I am ready to finish off, always knowing where I am up to. I will just simply finish a step and then turn off my machine leaving everything where it is until next time. I will try to give you a basic rundown of this and of course you are welcome to ask more in depth questions in our Facebook group.
- First step is take your first set of strips to be attached and pull out one of each fabric. We will use all of these before we take a second run. This means that you will use all the fabrics evenly across the quilt and not be left with a whole lot of the same image at the end with the final blocks. It is so easy to accidentally keep selecting the same favourite fabrics and pairing them all up the same way. Doing it this way also means you get the lovely scrappy finish you want at the end.
- Lay out all those beautiful fussy cut squares and select your first strip for each one. Look at colour tones and try to keep them mixed up.
- Take your squares and strips to the machine and chain piece. We do this by not cutting the thread in between blocks but rather piecing as one long strip. Once they are all pieced snip the threads between and press your seams in the preferred manner.
- Now take your second set of strips and again pull out one of each fabric. Lay out across your pieced blocks and chain piece again.
- Repeat until your whole block is assembled.
It is really that easy! Within 1.5 hours I had finished all 13 of mine – and don’t they look just gorgeous! I am so excited to see this quilt finished and quilted – it is going to be so lovely.
Now this week there is an awesome prize offered for people participating on social media. Lucy from the fabulous digital sewing magazine One Thimble has offered an issue of your choice to the lucky winner. For those that aren’t aware One Thimble is an Australian sewing magazine which is packed full of awesome patterns, tutorials and articles. It is a globally built brand that is well respected for its modern patterns and direct support via its Facebook community.
To be in the running for this week’s prize simply share a pic of your completed Block As with the hashtag #lemonsqueezyqal. It is not imperative you follow One Thimble to be eligible but it is definitely a nice thing to do and will make me happy lol. I will share the lucky winner in my Week 4 blog post next Sunday so make sure you keep reading.
Phew! And I think that is it for this week – I wasn’t meant to write such a long post but realistically is anyone who follows me surprised that I did lol. I am so looking forward to seeing everyone’s progress and watching your beautiful quilts come to life. I will leave you with a few images of the gorgeous progress from some of my participants last week – how I am loving their fabric choices!
Our Quiltalong runs for 6 weeks to the following timetable:
Introduction Post: Sunday 2 February – What are our plans?
Week 1: Sun 16 February – Welcome to the Quiltalong and Fabric selections
Week 2: Sun 23 February – Cutting our fabrics
Week 3: Sun 1 March – Making our first lot of blocks (Block A)
Week 4: Sun 8 March – Making our Block B blocks
Week 5: Sun 15 March – Laying out and assembling our quilts
Week 6: Sun 22 March – Finishing off