Color Jolt QAL Week 2: Cutting Your Fabric And Completing Your Test Block

by | Oct 8, 2020

Welcome to Week 2 of the Color Jolt QAL!

If you’re just stumbling across the quilt along, circle back to the main page HERE to brush up on the schedule and any weeks that you’ve missed. 

Now let’s dive into Week 2!

Now that all that pesky layout math is out of the way, we finally get to start working with our gorgeous fabrics. This week we’ll be cutting fabric and (if you want) making a test block so that you’re comfortable and ready to cruise next week when we start churning out blocks.

For this week’s tasks you’ll need:

  1. Your Color Jolt pattern.
  2. Your layout plan and (if you want) cutting chart. Here’s a blank cutting chart if you need one
  3. Your fabric.

This Week’s Instagram Post & Prize

Our Week 1 winner of the cute little fat quarter bundle from Katie @ ModernTextiles is: Melody of @melly_sews! Congratulations! Send me an email with your address and I’ll get your prize coordinated.

    Week 2 Prompt: What’s your favorite part (or parts) of the quilting process? Post a photo on the hashtag and tell us about it! I love the fabric and the precision. And the alone time working on a quilt.

    Week 2 Prize Sponsor: Kendra @ Piece Fabric Company. Remember that gorgeous Terra Kotta version of the Color Jolt? That was Kendra’s brain child! This week’s winner will get a CAD 65 gift card to Kendra’s online fabric shop. She has a wonderful eye for mixing and matching fabrics and you’ll love working with her.

    A few reminders:

    • This is an Instagram quilt along. If you want me (or any other quilters!) to be able to see your posts AND to have them count for prizes, your account needs to be public.
    • Use #colorjoltqal to make sure your entries count for the weekly drawings.
    • Weekly drawing cutoffs will always be on Wednesday nights at midnight CST. For example, the first week started on Thursday, October 1st so you had until midnight the next Wednesday, October 7th, to post your entry for the week. 

    This Week’s Tasks

    Cutting your fabric! Your pattern has several different charts and diagrams that should help you with this. I made a little video that shows which pages will help you with that and includes a couple little tips. If you’re new to paper piecing (or just want to hit the ground running next week), I’d recommend making a test block. I did a second video that walks through a block so we can make one “together.”

    I’ve been VERY sick this week so please forgive the slight foggy look and less-than-concise communication style that’s coming across in both of these videos. It was really helpful to me when I was feeling terrible this week to just sit down with some tea and work on my quilt one step at a time and I hope that amid whatever chaos is going on in your life right now that you can find the same place of calm that quilting provides us!

    Task 1: Cut Your Background Fabric

    I know in the pattern that I have you cut your trapezoids first, but it doesn’t matter what order you do these in and I vote we start with the easy part so we’re going to cut our background fabric first.

    This is pretty straightforward. Most of our sections will be 1.5″ long strips. Then we cut a few of those down to make the center pieces for our blocks and a few for the pieces that connect our blocks into rows. The rest we use for the horizontal sashing between our rows. And then we cut some strips for the border. Easy, right?

    Two tips:

    1. Make labels (I use painters tape) for your strips that match the pattern sections. In the pattern it uses an “E” for the middle strips on our blocks. I’d cut all of those and group them together and stick the E tape on them so I don’t get things mixed up later.

    2. To keep your strips from bowing one way or the other (especially on your horizontal sashing strips), you’ll want to make sure your fabric is lined up “on grain” before you cut. There are a number of easy ways to do that. I touch on a few in the video but, to be honest, I am a little too out of it to get into it much. National Sewing Circle has an excellent video on this. Click HERE if you’d like to check that out. If you already cut your fabric and didn’t do this, don’t worry about it! I think of this as a ‘bonus’ step that just makes everything easier later because things line up a little more easily. I quilted for 5 years before I started bothering to do this step and I made plenty of excellent quilts 🙂

    Task 2: Cut Your Trapezoids

    Once you have a physical or mental tally of how many A/B and C/D templates you need to cut out of each fabric, it’s time to cut them out. If you’re using exactly the yardage in the pattern (or are tight on your yardage in general), you’ll want to make sure you’re cutting even numbers of A/Bs and C/Ds out of your fabric so that you can cut squares first and then subcut those into either two A/B or two C/D trapezoids. The video makes this clear!

    Because in paper piecing your block papers are the REVERSE of the final fabric block you’ll have, I’d recommend NOT having them out while you’re cutting out your trapezoids. It’s too easy to suddenly look at them and see the reverse trapezoid and get confused or freaked out that your fabrics won’t fit in their assigned areas. Trust me, if you use the right A/B and C/D templates, you’ll cut the right shapes out of your fabric.

    That’s it! Those are our total tasks for this week. Easy, right? 

    Here’s the video recap of these two tasks:

    Optional Task 3: Make a Test Block

    I made a video that goes through making a test block. I’d recommend trying a test if you’re new to foundation paper piecing or just haven’t revisited in a while. 

    This test block will also help you to see how your A/B and C/D fabric trapezoids will fit onto the corresponding paper block.

    Two notes:

    1. Thanks to your cutting this week, you already have the perfect shapes for your pieces.

    2. Review the diagram on page 3 to see how you should line up your trapezoids when adding them to your block. Your instinct will be to center them on the line but you actually add them slightly off center (with the wide angle touching the edge of the paper block and the pointy angle hanging off). Trust me and do it that way once and it’ll click why that’s the case.

    I meant to have this video be a more robust coverage of paper piecing at a broader level but that just wasn’t an option this week. If you’re finding that the basic concepts don’t ‘click’ even after watching the video I made, you can check out one of my favorite paper piecing tutorials HERE. Note that you’ll leave your paper on the back of your blocks for now!

    Longarm Quilting

    Don’t forget that Katie @ ModernTextiles is offering a 15% discount on quilting for your finished tops! You’d still pay the normal (very reasonable) amounts for batting or anything else you buy from her and any shipping. ⁠You’d need to have your quilt top to her by the end of February 2021, so finish those quilts 😉

    Also, this week my friend and one of our original Color Jolt testers, Kerry @ That’s Sew Kerry, offered up a similar 15% discount for you UK quilters! The same terms would apply.

    When your quilt is ready, you can reach out to either of these ladies (depending on your location) and they’d be happy to answer any questions or walk you through the process of getting your quilt to them.

    That’s it! Happy quilting! 



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