Tuesday, June 06, 2017

June quilt QAL-week 1

Welcome to week 1 of the June quilt Quilt-A-Long! This will be very informal...I will share instructions here on the blog each week and you can sew along with me at whatever pace you wish. Feel free to share your progress on social media. If you would like to post your progress on Instagram or Facebook, use the hashtag #JunequiltQAL (I realize that it is a little bit redundant, but I'm going with it anyway!)

Here's a quick rundown of what each week will entail:

Week 1: sort scraps // choose a color scheme // gather materials

Week 2: start sewing the string blocks

Week 3: cut the background fabrics // finish sewing the string blocks

Week 4: assemble the quilt top // quilting ideas

Scrap Sorting
The first step in the making of any scrap quilt is to sort your scraps and assess what you have to work with. My string box is FULL! I have to be honest, the string scrap category is my least favorite. It's a constant challenge to keep up with them, probably because they aren't very inspiring to me. (It's true!) All that to say, this QAL will be a good challenge for me. :)
I dumped out all the strings from the box and started sorting.
In this photo, the top pile is strings to give away. They are fabrics that I've used over and over again or ones that I just don't care for or I don't see myself using. I plan to pass them along to someone who will be excited to use them! The center pile of strings are ones I plan to cut into squares. (They are all wider than 2 1/2", so I will cut them into 2 1/2" squares.) The bottom pile is the multi-colored pile...fabrics that don't have a predominant color. I also took out any odd bits and any very short strings. (Scraps take a lot of maintenance. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!)
The remaining strings are sorted in color order. Man, that is so satisfying!

Choose a color scheme

The next step in the QAL is to choose a color scheme. When I made my June quilt for the book, I started sewing the string sets together first, then I chose a background color. It worked out alright, but this time I am recommending that you choose your background color first. The main reason for doing this is so that you can avoid using the background color IN your string blocks. If you were to use a red background fabric, and you used a lot of red in the string squares, there will be a lack of distinction in colors and the pattern of the quilt would get lost. If you use a red background fabric, you can still use red fabrics in the strings, but I would recommend doing so sparingly. Or, at the very least, make sure that there is a value difference between the two.

Here are some ideas for background fabrics:
Small scale polka dots with a light background would be a fun option. Here's an example of a quilt with various red and white polka dot backgrounds. I used a black and white polka dot fabric in the quilt that I made for my craftsy class. It's hard to go wrong with dots!
Solids are a safe bet for a background fabric, but they don't have to be boring. If you use a linen or chambray, it will add a textural element to your quilt. The fabrics shown in this photo are Essex Linen (in natural, perhaps?) by Robert Kaufman, Chambray by Andover, Shadow (Kona cotton) and a lovely bright pink Essex Linen.
I'm a big fan of red and white polka dots, too! It's a bold choice, but it would make a super fun quilt.

Gather materials

I'll be giving instructions on how to make a baby quilt, which will measure 51" x 51" and a lap size quilt, which will measure 51" x 68". (I realize that is a little large for a baby quilt, but it is the best size option I could get with an on point setting.) If you want to make an 85" square quilt, as shown in the book, by all means, please do! :)

For the background fabric you will need:

1.3333 yards for a baby size quilt (there will be about 2"-3" extra)
2 yards for a the lap size quilt (there will be about 5" extra)

I recommend buying a little bit extra yardage than listed above, but I'll leave just how much extra up to you. That is why I specified how much wiggle room there is in the yardage listed above. (I hope that isn't too confusing!)

For the cornerstone fabric you will need:

1/3 yard for a baby quilt (there will be only 1/2" extra)
1/2 yard for the lap quilt (there will be 2" extra)

Again, buy the additional amount of fabric that you feel comfortable with. I'll leave how much up to you.

For the quilt in the book, I used two different fabrics for the cornerstones, but for the lap and baby sizes, I am assuming that you only will use one fabric for the cornerstones. Feel free to substitute in a second fabric if you wish.

Of course you will need plenty of string scraps, too! Select scraps that are at least 1" wide and 2" wide or less. Scraps should be at least 4 1/2" long. If you don't have a lot of variety of string scraps, you could chop up a bunch of charm squares into 1 1/2" or 2" widths. That would give you a lot variety without spending a lot of money.
I'm undecided about what kind of quilt to make myself, but I have two options that I came up with...
I have an awful lot of low volume scraps and I know that they would be lovely paired with this red and white polka dot. I have more than enough fabric to make a lap size quilt.
This is the second color option that I came up with: all the colors of scraps except reds and black & whites, paired with Essex linen. (Ironically, I have the most red scraps! Ha!) I have just enough background fabric to make a baby size quilt.

Unless I come up with another brilliant option, probably will make both options listed above. Because if it isn't ridiculous, it isn't worth doing, right? Ha!

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. I'm excited to see what you come up with for your quilt! 


Rosa said...

So greay way to use strings.Thanks for sharing tips!!

Rose Prairie Quilts and Farm said...

Very good tips and I'll be following along. I have a tremendous amount of strings. Gives me a reason to use some now and put it off. Thank you

pingraham said...

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! This was the #1 quilt from your book that I wanted to try. This first tutorial is just what I need to make this happen! I am definitely going for a Christmas quilt, so we'll see how this works out. I think your white on green polka dots in the book inspired this for me, and I decided to make Christmas lap quilts for each of my 3 grown children this year. This will be so perfect! Okay, I'm off to select some fabric!

Kathy S. said...

I've been waiting for a string QA that I really like. Thank you!!! I'm new to Instagram and will be sharing my progress on my blog and there (Snider9505). Gotta get sorting.

Jeneta said...

Oh my goodness - I'm going to have to push aside a few things so that I can participate! I like both your colour options. I'm going to see if I have some suitable background fabric so that I am using what I have.

margaret said...

i've been debating on this quilt or the half square triangle quilt from your book.

Di~ said...

Oh my this will be so fun! I can't believe your creativity!...the red with low volume! awe now I regret trading my low volume scraps! :(

KaHolly said...

What fun! Pulling out my bag of strings right now! Thanks for this motivational and inspirational QAL.

Diane Beavers said...

AmandaJean, this is gonna be too much fun! Orphan scraps you say? I'd love to incorpate your engergy into my piecing and quilting:)
My first strings quilt is a baby sized too and it hangs on my stairwell banister when not in use. It's 48" ish. Great size for baby tummy time!
Re: the cornerstone, should that fabric coordinate w/the background?
Im planning to use Kona silver and perhaps a darker Kona (like Pewter) for the cornerstone.


grammajudyb said...

Hooray! I am sorting strings today, as soon as I get back from my group sew. We call ourselves.....Loose Threads! I want to make a lap size and my scraps are mostly dark and more muted. Might be challenging...but I'm up for it!

Rivah Rats Quilting said...

I love your quilt and am excited about this QAL! Have tons of strings and will choose my background and corner sq fabrics today!!

Stehlice said...

I like all your projects very much! And now I´m immediatelly going to sort my strips and plan a new coat for my lawn chair. Thank you for the kick :-)

stamperwithdayjob said...

I would love to try and quilt along with everyone in June. It will be neat to see what everyone comes up with.

Chris R said...

I wish someone could give me an Instagram tutorial....I'm going to do a Fall color lap quilt, with the scraps I've got it could end up being king size.

Anonymous said...

I've never done a QA and never used strings specifically for a quilt. Eager to try. Will sort tomorrow in front of the tv watching a movie.

Mary Marcotte said...

Hmm, looks like I'm going to jump on the wagon and QA with everyone else. This is too interesting to pass up!

Donna said...

I have never made a string quilt so this will be fun!!!

elnorac said...

Oh, Amanda, you're the best! I have boxes of strings, all color sorted. Guess they've been waiting for just this QAL. Thanks for hosting it!