Psst, there’s a discount code at the very bottom of this post!… And don’t forget to check Jen’s blogpost for more tricks and tips! (she’s got a very good tutorial on how to check your seams are right!)
Yay, it’s time to get started!! Well, almost. First though, it’s time to choose some fabrics. It has taken me a long time to decide which colours I wanted to use for my Curiouser quilt. I even organised my stash to help me narrow my choices.
For quite a while, I considered making a rainbow quilt, using as many colours as I could, but making monochromatic blocks. I still like this idea, but maybe for another project. So, instead, I have decided to stick with the monochromatic blocks, but only in 2 or 3 colours: red, grey and maybe aqua. Confusing? What I mean is that I will try to aim for an even number of blocks in each colours, and my blocks will only use 1 colour.
It isn’t easy to pick fabrics that work together. Here are a few tips to help you:
- Stick to small and medium sized prints, as the larger prints will get lost in the cutting. Keep your larger prints to use for your backing, for example.
- Keep your style consistent: batiks, civil war reproductions, children (boy/girl), novelty. You might feel happier if you choose prints that belong to the same style.
- Choose the colours you want to use. I know I’m more comfortable if I stick to a limited colourway of 2 to 3 colours for a quilt. Some people like to mix things up, but I find it more satisfying when the palette is limited. How to choose colours, I hear you ask? Who are you making the quilt for and what are their favourite colour(s)? Pick one colour and work from there. You can choose to work in contrasting colours or in blending colours. That is entirely up to you.
- Here’s a list of colours that go well together: pink and green, red and navy, red, pink and aqua, orange and aqua, red and green (beware of the Christmas feel if that’s not what you are going for), brown and aqua (or light blue), orange and teal, yellow and grey, pink and grey, red and grey, teal, lime and grey. The list becomes endless very quickly!
Come share your choice of fabrics or any questions you might have here (There’s a share your link widget down the bottom of this post) or in the Flickr group!
Once you have your fabrics chosen, you can move on and prepare them for next week’s ultra simple first block. I personally don’t pre-wash my fabrics: I’ve never had any problems with colours running and I like the crispness of unwashed fabrics. But do what you feel is right for you, we are not the quilting police.
The first thing I do, though, before cutting anything, is to give the fabrics a good press. Creases can really throw off your cutting, so this should definitely be your first step if you aim to have accurate cuts.
Then, before cutting the pieces you need for your blocks, you need to square off the fabrics and make sure that you are cutting on grain. You really want to avoid cutting on the bias wherever you can (though you’ll see when we do triangles, there’s no escaping that). Why? Because bias is very very stretchy. And stretchy fabrics make for inaccurate piecing. So let’s try to have those fabrics straight.
Here are a few tips (a bit pics heavy!) to show you how to make sure you are on grain.
If your pieces have 2 selvedges (the selvedges are the straight edges on both side of the fabrics if you order long quarters, half metres, etc):
- Fold your fabric so that your selvedges are together. Make sure that they are perfectly aligned together.
- If your mat is too small, fold the fabric again, making sure that the selvedges are still perfectly aligned. On the picture below, you can see that the cut edge of the fabric is really not straight!
- Take your ruler (I use a 6.5″x24.5″ one) and line up with the folded or the selvedge edge (both should be straight!), as flush as possible to the corner (making sure that all unstraightness isn’t under the ruler!).
- Grab your rotary cutter and cut along your ruler.
Look at this straight edge!!
If using a fat quarter (or any pieces with just 1 selvedge):
- Fold the piece in half with the selvedge together.
- If it’s too big for your mat, fold in half again.
- Line up your ruler with the folded edge or the selvedge.
- And cut!
- And you can now do the same for the edge opposite to the selvedge.
That’s it, you are ready to get cutting and sewing next week!! You can choose to prepare all your fabrics now or do it when needed later up, that is entirely up to you!
See you next week for the first block!! YAY! Oh, and if you need to add to your stash, all participants and other readers of the QAL are welcomed to use the code ‘curiouser’ in my shop to get a 15% discount on all your orders. The code will be valid for the entire length of the QAL and can be used as many times as you need!