Color Jolt QAL Week 5: Making Our Rows

by | Oct 29, 2020

It’s week 5! That means we’re only one more week away from finishing our quilt tops! I’m not sure how all of this time went by so quickly, but I am pretty excited for my quilt top to be done and ready to snuggle under. In case you missed it, we’ve been having a ‘Snowtober’ here in Minnesota with record-breaking snowfall. I’ve already gone through almost a gallon of apple cider and I sure could use a fall-themed quilt for the couch.

This week we’ll be sewing our finished blocks into rows. If you’re doing the throw-sized quilt, that means 8 rows with six blocks in each row. I made a little video on this week AND one on new week’s task of adding all the sashing between finished rows. There are a few more tricks to that step and I wanted to get that info out to you in case you’re working ahead.

We’re using traditional piecing methods here and making these rows is a simple process. It’s hard to go wrong this week so load up your bobbin, pick out a podcast and settle in for some easy, gratifying sewing.

 Tips For This Week 

Sewing your blocks into rows is pretty straightforward. Here are a few tips and tricks to make it even easier:

1. Keep your papers on your blocks. This is really up to you, but I like how my paper pieces hold my blocks square as I sew. Because we’ve joined our block fabrics on the bias, there’s extra stretch to the blocks and the paper mitigates that for us. If you do keep your papers on, make sure you’re still using a short stitch length or you’ll never get the paper off the back. I’m speaking from experience on that one, unfortunately…

2. Take some measure to prevent the loose, floppy fabric of your trapezoid from slipping away from the edge of your paper block while you’re sewing. You want that fabric edge to stay right up there with the paper edge so that your seam is catching a full 1/4 inch of both your sashing and the fabric trapezoid. One trick (that I use) for this is to have the fabric side of my block facing up while I’m adding all my sashing pieces. With the sashing it’s much less important that you’re sewing on the dashed line on the block and much more important that you just use a consistent seam allowance from here on out. If you prefer to join your pieces with the paper side up, you can add some extra security to your trapezoids by by glue basting your floppy trapezoids to their papers or by just taking a little extra time as you’re adding your sashing to make sure you’re holding everything nice and tight. I’ve done it both ways and it’s turned out fine both times.

3. Press your seams open rather than to the side. This will help keep any dark fabrics showing through light fabrics (especially if you’ve chosen light or white sashing).

4. Make sure you’re not adding sashing to the outside edge of your first and last blocks in your rows (aka where the borders go).

5. Optional: Sew in bulk. Personally, I use a bulk sewing method. I set aside all my column 6 blocks (my “F” blocks) and sew sashing to the right edge of all of my other blocks, then I press all of them, then I trim all of them in case there’s any sashing hanging off above or below the edges of my blocks, then I stack my blocks into rows (adding back in my F blocks) and sew them all together.

I know some of you like to work ahead so I want to give you one warning if you decide to sew your completed rows together this week by adding your sashing. After you’ve added your sashing to one row and are then sewing that rows to the next, pay special attention so that the columns between your blocks are lined up. These can be hard to keep in place as you’re sewing so I highly recommend either pinning like your life depending on it or basting at those intersection spots and then folding back the seam so you can see that you’ve nailed the alignment before adding your actual seam to join the row. That might sound confusing right now, but next week I’ll have more details, including pictures and the exact method I use to get perfect alignment!

I’ve also included my Week 6 tips in the video I made for this week because I think they’re so helpful.

The video will be up on my IGTV later this afternoon. I’m having a few technical issues this morning so I apologize for the delay on that upload. When it’s done uploading, you’ll be able to find it on my IGTV channel HERE.

That’s it! Have fun sewing this week!

This Week’s Instagram Post & Prize

Our Week 3 winner of the CAD 50 gift card from Kathryn at The Cotton Box is: Nicole @patchworkduck! Congratulations! I’ll work with Kathryn to get that headed your way.

    Week 4 Prompt: I think it’s safe to say that this is a very stressful time for all of us and heading into winter can spike some heightened anxiety. This week let’s share a photo of our quilt in progress AND something (or things) that you’ve found helpful to your mental health over the last six months. Quilting is one for me, of course, but I’ve also found that both getting outside more and reading more books has helped me. I honestly stay inside most of the time during the MN winter once it’s freezing but I’m already mentally working on the idea that it’s going to be more important for me to still get out there than to be comfortable inside. Somebody should really invent heated boots and coats or something for us up north here. What about you? Tell us in your post this week!

    Week 4 Prize Sponsor: This week’s winner will get a spool set from Aurifil thread! There are a lot of options for thread out there, but Aurifil is easily one of my favorites, both for the color range available and just how long a spool lasts. Honestly, I wish this prize was headed my way!

    That’s it! Happy quilting! 

    -Kate

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