QAYG Quilt Along kickoff!

Goal for Week 1: Have 5 quilted blocks completed by this Sunday,  October 19.

Today is the beginning of Week 1 for my first Quilt As-You-Go Quilt Along! Please refer to my Introduction post for details on supplies and how this works. Also, if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment as I will be checking and answering as often as I can. 

For those of you that are seeing this for the first time – Welcome! Feel free join or follow this quilt along at any time, on my blog, facebook and instagram. (Details in my intro post here).

Please Read! What I hope all of you will get out of this quilt along (other than a finished quilt!), is to show you that by using this QAYG technique, you can make a quilt without following a precise pattern. In fact, your quilt doesn’t have to look exactly like my ‘Red Square’ pattern (unless you want it to). You can make your quilt as abstract or traditional looking as you want –
there’s so much room to improvise and be creative using this simple
technique. This quilt will be ALL YOU, and if you decide to follow the ‘Red Square’ pattern, you’ll soon find that no 2 blocks are the same. This is a really creative,  fun and forgiving technique, so enjoy yourself!

Before you start, please read my post for some tips and what to expect as you get started on your QAYG project.

Fabrics from www.WhimsyQuiltsandFabrics.com
First of all, thank you (to those who voted on facebook and IG) for helping me decide which fabric bundle to use for this quilt along. The majority of votes were for this romantic bundle, which I was actually leaning towards. I think it’s the beautiful Autumn colors that won us over.

Now, down to business 🙂 As mentioned in my book Quilt As-You-Go Made Modern, the Red Square’ pattern is “…similar to making a Log Cabin Style block (page 18 [for Kindle readers see “QAYG Techniques” chapter]), except you can add strips to any side of the patchwork and in no particular order.” 

For this quilt along, I decided to make a more traditional style block as shown on page 18 of the paperback book (or in the techniques chapter). I will be starting with my first piece quilted in the center and adding additional pieces in a clockwise fashion. (Remember: you don’t have to make your quilt exactly like this. You can make yours closer to the ‘Red Square’ pattern, or another log cabin style block. Now that you’ve read the book and know the technique, you can implement it to make  a log-cabin style block that you want, or that goes best with your fabrics. Isn’t it refreshing having a little bit of freedom with a pattern? 🙂

I also decided to divide my fabrics into lights and darks. Half of my block will be light and the other half dark. My fabric colors are so soft that the light/dark contrast is subtle. As I start making more blocks and eventually lay them out next to one another, I think you’ll start seeing the contrast, though subtle it may pop from afar.

For these blocks I cut my fabrics into 3″-3.5″ x WOF (width of fabric) strips. I like having varying sizes to make sure I cover up the batting. Then, I put all my strips into a basket and started quilting!

This is how my QAYG setup usually looks like: My basket full of strips, some fabric scissors at hand, and an iron nearby (I have a small table top ironing board). Depending on the size of your strips, you may find that you can just finger press the pieces instead if ironing them each time. You don’t need a lot of space to QAYG!

Always remember to use at least a 1/4″ seam allowance. You might be tempted to go less so that your fabric strip will cover the edge of a batting square (this will make more sense once you get started). Please refrain from doing that or else your patchwork will unravel after a wash.

After you’ve quilted your pieces onto the batting square, it will look something similar to this.Yes, it looks a little frumpy. But just wait until we square them up! My next post this weekend will have some squaring-up tips.

One last thing: Please remember to read the Quilting Techniques section (page 24 of the paperback book). There are so many more options to quilt your QAYG blocks other than my “individual quilting” that you see here.

If you are doing individual quilting, I did want to mention that it is OK to zig-zag your stitches where the seam allowance will be (or on the batting) so that you don’t have to cut the thread  after each stitch (see image below). This may be helpful if you don’t have an automatic thread cutter on your sewing machine.

I hope these tips will help get you started on your projects. If you have any questions along the way, please leave a comment and I will do my best to respond as quickly as I can. 🙂

Again, the goal is to have 5 blocks quilted by this Sunday, October 19. I will be back with another wrap-up blog post for week 1, with some tips on squaring up your blocks as well. Week 2 will start on Monday the 20th.

Happy quilting as-you-go!

39 Responses to QAYG Quilt Along kickoff!

  1. Bear Creek Quilting Company October 14, 2014 at 12:27 am #

    I have always been fascinated with learning this skill as I am not comfortable with machine quilting or free motion quilting on my domestic machine. This quilt-along looks like great fun Jera! Thanks for posting. ~Shari

  2. Kristen Jones October 14, 2014 at 1:08 am #

    I'm finishing up a couple of projects tonight so I can have a clean workspace for tomorrow. Lol. I'm excited to start this!! My first QAL and QAYG!! Yay

  3. Angie May October 14, 2014 at 1:17 am #

    I cut most of my batting squares last night. Cut most of my fabrics, 2-5 inches wide. Working On A Bag But May Try To Get One Done. 🙂 forgive the caps. My phone does this sometimes and I have no idea why. Lol

  4. Chez Vies October 14, 2014 at 2:30 am #

    This sounds like fun. I always want to learn qayg, I will download the kindle edition today. Yay!

  5. Anonymous October 14, 2014 at 3:59 am #

    Where is the best play to purchase your book? My email is craftsbydana@hotmail.com.

  6. Bren Holmes October 14, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    I have the book and am keen to get started. I will sort out my fabrics today – should be a great stash buster. How much fabric do we need to cut?

  7. jinxiemoo October 14, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    What did you mean by "it is OK to zig-zag your stitches where the seam allowance will be so that you don't have to cut the thread after each stitch"? I love your book. I have 30 blocks done for the first quilt I'm making from it.

    • Myra October 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

      Wondered that myself. Will check back for Jera's answer.

    • Quiltingintherain October 14, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

      Hi Ladies – thanks for bringing this to my attention; i can see how that may sound confusing. Please look at the post again as i've updated it with a picture of what I meant to convey. Thanks!

    • jinxiemoo October 14, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

      Thanks for the clarification, Jera.

    • China Ali October 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

      why do we have to is that last strip or everyone? I have a button that with lock and cuthe thread do I need to zig or stich ends because it doesn't look zig zagged just stich ed down. So why is this being asked? Sorry I have not started bUT planning on it. I just have a sketch I did over 1 year ago and I'm trying to see how it can be a QAYG..Jera could I email you my sketch and maybe you can tell me how? Who knows you might even like it..I don't want to share public yet. I love to make it easy and you may be just person to help

  8. Myra October 14, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    All set to begin working on my blocks. I've chosen Lecien Flower Sugar for a cheerful springish quilt. I've posted about the Quilt-Along on my blog here:

    http://busyhandsquilts.blogspot.com/2014/10/quilt-as-you-go-quilt-along-week-1.html

    Myra~

  9. Anonymous October 15, 2014 at 3:37 am #

    Hi, Jera! I ordered your book from Amazon and got it today and decided to hunt for you on Facebook. That's where I discovered your quilt along! So exciting!! I want to do it, but will have to get fabric together. Is Warm and Natural batting ok to use??? I know I won't get blocks all made by this weekend, but I will be following along. This is exactly what I've been looking for. Your book is wonderful! Jill H.

    • Quiltingintherain October 15, 2014 at 4:20 am #

      hello! yes, W&N is fine. Please make sure it's needle-punched and at least 80% cotton. thank you!

    • China Ali October 15, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

      it's five blocks a month right? Do we choose a design or use red block one

    • Quiltingintherain October 16, 2014 at 5:20 am #

      China Ali – it is 5 blocks per week, for 4 weeks.

    • China Ali October 19, 2014 at 12:03 am #

      oh ok..So I have to start. I have hoped I be on my way but kids will do that. I can do five maybe one day

  10. Anonymous October 15, 2014 at 4:25 am #

    Do the strips have to be all one size or can they be various widths?

    • Quiltingintherain October 16, 2014 at 5:20 am #

      Hello! If you follow the red square pattern, then you can do varying widths. =)

    • Anonymous October 18, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

      Thanks, That's what I am doing.

  11. China Ali October 15, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    I think it's mention in the blog intro

  12. Shirley October 15, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    My book has not arrived yet. Will this quilt along stay on your blog so I can come back to it?

    • Quiltingintherain October 16, 2014 at 5:21 am #

      Absolutely! when it's all finished i'll even put a main post with links so you can quickly refer back to each week. 🙂

  13. Sarah October 16, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    Oh my gosh, I started my blocks today – Jera, you never told us how addictive this is!! This is my first QAYG and first QAL. I'm not on Instagram, and am unsure how to show my progress.
    I'm making a Christmas quilt using "Solstice" by Kate Spain for Moda. I was all ready to put my strips away and figure that I wouldn't get a Christmas quilt done this year, but, yippee, I think I may pull it off!!

    • Quiltingintherain October 16, 2014 at 5:22 am #

      Hi Sarah! so happy you're enjoying it! Feel free to post a pic on my facebook page! 🙂 Happy quilting as-you-go!

  14. Cheryl October 17, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    It's been awhile since I have been able to sit down & quilt, but after reading about your method, I want to join in on the fun! Hoping that this will be a project that I can at least get finished! I'll be about a week behind, but getting the stash of fabric out this weekend!

  15. Lisa Davis October 17, 2014 at 2:39 am #

    Question about batting on ig you stated u purchase by the roll do you cut as you go from that big roll or do you cut wall at once? And how do you store?

    • Quiltingintherain October 20, 2014 at 1:12 am #

      I do not cut it all at once from the roll because each project differs on batting quantity. I cut what I need. I just store the roll up against a wall behind my door. Nothing fancy 😉

  16. Peg October 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    I've managed to get all 5 of my blocks made, no I'm not super efficient, Mr B went to our holiday hideaway yesterday with two friends so I can stitch away to my hearts content. I was late in starting and managed 3 blocks yesterday and 2 today. Like Sarah says you didn't warn us how addictive it is 🙂 I'm using cotton batting and am finding an added bonus, after I've joined a strip I'm pressing it with a dry iron careful to avoid the batting. The bonus is that the fabric seems to 'snuggle' up to the batting and doesn't move when the quilting is being done. I've made a mistake or two but rectified them, it was a stupid thing to do or not do, on three pieces I went merrily on my way joining strips and forgetting to quilt them!!! No swearing, I don't, so the frog visited but all is now well.
    I'm thoroughly enjoying this and I'll add a photo of my blocks to your fb page. Many thanks again for running this for us 🙂
    Enjoy your weekend ladies

    Peg x

  17. China Ali October 18, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    I still haven't started but wonder if I can do five in one day? Jera is that possible?

    • Quiltingintherain October 20, 2014 at 1:10 am #

      I don't see why not. This quilt along is just a general guide to how many blocks to attempt to have finished each week. It's okay if you do more or less.

  18. NYKOLETT October 26, 2014 at 3:54 am #

    I am following you Jera..Hope i am heading the right way

  19. Mary Andrews October 28, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

    This really looks like fun! Thanks Jera for setting this up. Will be getting your book to get started. I can't wait!

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