Sunday, May 31, 2015

#maysmallworldQAL | Part 1

Hello, quilt-alongers! (Or is it quilters-along? I never know.) I am so sorry to be posting the week 1 post so late in the week. The truth is, I've been putting off writing this post in the hopes of completing my Part 1 but -- and I'm you see where this is going --  I wasn't able to keep up. No worries -- I'll still fill this post with tips, tricks, and plenty of eye candy for all of you playing along. And for those of you that make it to the end of the post, look out for a fun giveaway!

Now, the first thing you need to know is that the published pattern has a few errors. Quiltmania has been great about correcting diagrams and publishing errata. One of these mistakes is in section 1 and, more specifically, diagram 9 (pg. 61). Click HERE to download the correction for Diagram 9 and click HERE to download the other corrections. Or, you could borrow Kerry's great idea and simply print the diagram below and tape it over the incorrect one in your magazine:

Even though I haven't been able to complete my part 1 yet, I've certainly been following along with all of the action on Instagram at #mysmallworldqal. The general consensus seems to be that: (1) the piecing is quite small; (2) striking the right balance of low volume prints for the sky can be challenging; (3) participants are finding the small piecing to be quite time consuming; and (4) despite 1-3, this project is a ton of fun!

Since section 1 starts with piecing the patchwork sky, I've taken particular note of how people are handing that part. It's been interesting to see that some quilters are sticking to straight low volume, others are introducing bits of blue, others are leaning towards a sunny yellow sky, and at least one quilter that I know of (Angela of Cut to Pieces) has chosen to piece a fabulous dark night sky.

The best place to see all of the amazing work going on so far, of course, is to follow the #mysmallworldqal hashtag on Instagram. But for some immediate visual inspiration, I've collected a few beautiful work-in-progress shots from a variety of Flickr users:

Here's co-host Kerry's completed part 1. Amazing!

Part 1 completed by Karen C. / Flickr user @Spetziemom

Part 1 completed by Courtney / Flickr user @courtiepie

Partially completed part 1 by Flickr user @silort

Partially completed part 1 by Eva-Marie / Flickr user

Partially completed part 1 by Sherri / Flickr user @RebeccaMaeDesigns

For those quilting along, have any tips or tricks to share with your fellow quilters? As for me, I've been brainstorming some shortcuts that might make this daunting quilt a bit easier to tackle. First, I'm wondering if the sky has to be as scrappy as Jen Kingwell's version. I've got my eye on this print from the upcoming First Light collection by Eloise Renouf for Cloud 9 fabrics to use in large squares rather than the tiny patchwork:

The other things that can definitely make life easier when making this quilt are cheater prints. If there are parts of the quilt that use techniques with which you are uncomfortable, or just want to swap out a complicated piece section for a single cut of fabric, a good cheater print will still give the look of the quilt without having to tackle every piece of patchwork. (For a good example, take a look at diagram 13 in part 2 of the pattern.) I've stocked up on a few colors of this great print by Suzuko Koseki for Yuwa (currently on sale at Pink Castle Fabrics!)

Here's another one that I found online at Superbuzzy (multiple colors available):

One thing I am definitely not interested in doing in hand-sewing hexagons. So when I saw diagram 25 in part 5 of the pattern, I knew this was a job for a cheater print. I found this great cheater print (also at Superbuzzy) that fits the bill perfectly.

Next, when I see all of the half-circle motifs throughout the quilt (see part 1 illustration 9, part 3 illustration 17, and the half dresdens in part 5), I can't help but think there's some way to use Melody Miller's viewfinder fabric from Playful (for Cotton + Steel) to create this effect.

And speaking of Playful, I know there's GOT to be some way to use this print to great effect in this quilt top. I'm just trying to figure out the best way how ...

And finally, if you're as terrified of / frustrated by handwork and things like needle-turn appliqué, then repeat after me: raw-edge fusible appliqué is your friend. If it's a technique you've never tried before, then a simple Google search will return lots of great tutorials to get you started. Here's one that shows just about the same technique that I use (though I prefer to use my machine's blanket stitch or zig-zag stitch rather than a straight stitch):

Are you quilting along and have finished Part 1? Join the link-up party below and share your quilt! I'll choose one post from the list below to win a special fabric giveaway prize -- some items from my stash custom selected especially to coordinate with your quilt -- sometime next week.

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Small World Quilt-along

Want a button for your blog? You can find them on Kerry's blog post.
Hello, friends! I'm not sure if you've heard already, but I'm part of an amazing team -- along with KerryCindyMeganDanielle, and Lisa -- that has come together to co-host the My Small World Quilt-along. Not familiar with the My Small World quilt? It's a fantastic piece designed by the equally fantastic Jen Kingwell, who is an author, new Moda fabric designer, and owner of Amitie Textiles in Melbourne (an adorable little shop that I had the pleasure of visiting while down under back in March.)

If you're quilting along with us, now's the time to make sure you have your pattern and start pulling out fabrics for your quilt.
(Note: More information about the quilt-along can be found below, but Kerry has compiled a really comprehensive post that I highly recommend for more information. Check it out here.)

As soon as I saw the pattern, I fell in love with it. Does it have some small, fussy piecing? Yes. Hand sewing? Yes. Curves and dresden plates? Yes. And if you follow my blog, you know that none of those are my favorite things. But I am confident that I can work around some of those challenges and still enjoy the process.

For example, I will be relying on fusible, raw edge appliqué instead of hand sewing or EPP. Semicircles? I'll be fusing those down too. And I'm on the hunt for some great cheater prints (squares and hexagons) that might work in the some of the patchwork areas and instead of the EPP bits. If that stuff interests you, let me know and we can share tips and progress. And please share links to any cheater prints that you know of that might work in the quilt.

The pattern can be found in the Spring 2015 Special issue of Quiltmania magazine. It's not the easiest issue to find, but we've been compiling a list of shops and stores where it's been spotted. If you have any additions to the list, please let me know in the comments to this post and I'll update the list.
In the UK it can be found at:
  • Some branches of WHSmiths
  • Some  quilt shops and newsagents- those that already stock Quiltmania publications
  • Online at The Contented Cat.  They will also send overseas - a possible option for European quilters.
For Europe (and elsewhere) In USA
  • Joann's
  • Barnes & Noble
Australia/New Zealand
  • Order from local newsagent
  • Minerva in NZ
Photo courtesy of Cindy at Live a Colorful Life
The power of quilt-along such as this come from the community that is participating and the activity and excitement that it generates. There is already a great deal of activity carrying the hashtag #mysmallworldqal on Instagram, Twitter and Flickr, so be sure to contribute your progress pictures. 

Other things that have already spun up in the community include:
  • Fabric swaps for low volume prints to ensure scrappy variety in the patchwork sky portions of the quilt
  • Resizing tips to make the pattern (currently 33" x 52") into a bigger quilt
  • More information about shops stocking the issue of Quilt mania
  • Fabric and other giveaways from individual bloggers, shop owners, and quilters (caveat: all the hosts agreed that the emphasis is on a community quilt-along, so we have purposely not sought official sponsors, prizes or a commercial aspect to the quilt-along. If you see anything along these lines on social media, it is not linked to us but to the individuals offering a giveaway, kits to buy etc.  Instead, we wanted to host a fun, community quilt-along over the next few months and provide the motivation and a little help that we all need to get something we really want to do done!)

Jen Kingwell herself and the nice people at Quiltmania will be following along as well, so you may see some nice comments from the designer herself!

Courtesy of Charise Randall at Charise Creates
The schedule for the quilt-along can be found below. The pattern is presented in six parts, which is how we will be proceeding. We hope it's provides a comfortable pace with which to keep up, enjoy the progress others are making, and get any and all of your questions answered. We'll kick of the piecing next week with part 1 right here on my blog!

My Small World QAL Schedule
  • Week beginning 18th May - Intro post - All hosts will be posting!
  • Week beg. 25th May - Part 1 - John Adams - QuiltDad (me!)
(Note: if you're getting a head start on part 1, there is a mistake in diagram 9 of the printed pattern. Errata can be found on the Quiltmania website. Kerry had the great idea to print the correct diagram, cut it out, and washi tape it over the original diagram in the magazine.)

Will you be quilting along? Let me know! Leave a comment below.