Scrappy Lines Quilt Along - Week 3

Welcome to week 3 of the Scrappy Lines Quilt Along!

Finally, this week we start to sew, and there will be a lot of it! Our goal this week is to sew all of our blocks. Depending on what size you are making, this could be over 100 blocks which seems daunting, I know. I'll talk through some tips for this process here.

Week 3: Sewing Blocks

The goal this week is to sew all of our blocks. There are 3 main points I have  that I think will help you: fabric placement, chain piecing, and seam allowance.

Fabric Placement:

What colors go where? How do I know if I am arranging fabrics correctly?

For this pattern, I really think you can relax on fabric placement. Keep in mind your accent strips are small and there are many of them. Unlike in some patterns, you will not notice the placement of color as much in this quilt. With that being said, I make sure I do not repeat fabrics in one block and I try to have some diversity of light/dark or bright/muted. Since I am using mostly bright accent fabrics this time, I am finding this a bit tricky. However, you can see below on the top colors, my blue is a bit lighter while the yellow is very bright. Next, I have paired a muted yellow with a deep, dark green. 

To begin on my blocks, I simply stack a large pile of accent strips and background fabrics next to my machine. I piece roughly half of them without paying attention to fabrics. After I sew half of my accent strips with a background strip, I look over what I have. I match up colors that can go together well in a block and leave ones out that could use a different color. Next, I sew the two coordinating accent colors together so all I am missing is the last accent strip in my block. Last, I choose the final accent strip and sew it onto my block. These steps are repeated until I have enough blocks. Make sure you do not sew a background strip to every single accent strip. The third accent strip in the block will not need the background strip. 

So, with that advice on arranging fabrics, it brings us to sewing so many pieces together.

Chain Piecing

Chain piecing is my answer to this frequent question: "How do you sew so many quilts?"

I am not sure who first came up with this idea, but it is pretty genius. I will give you brief instructions for chain piecing below, but if you want a more thorough tutorial there are several tutorials or videos online.

I already mentioned how I make two large piles of strips next to my machine and then piece many before planning any blocks. Well, I piece these strips one after in a "chain" without stopping to cut my thread and start again.

You can see an example of this below. Start by sewing together your first accent strip and background strip how you normally would. When you get to the end of the strip, stop, but do not pull out the fabrics. Instead, place your next accent strip and background strip down right after the first strips. Begin sewing again. You will have 1 or 2 stitches in between the strips which will be a thread connecting your strips. Continue on like this for as many as 30 strips. Usually, at some point the chain of fabrics is bunching up on my table so I start a new chain.

After you have sewn all the pieces you want to, you will cut apart the strips in your chain. Make sure to press your strips. At this point you should have a large stack of pieces that are one accent piece and one background piece sewn together. When you attach these together, you can chain piece them again. Follow the same directions as above. 

Chain piecing is a great way to save time and also cuts down on all the threads dangling form your sewn pieces. 

Seam Allowance

The seam allowance for all your piecing is 1/4". This is really important and also really difficult for new quilters. Make sure you find the 1/4" line or mark on your sewing machine. You will see in the picture above, I have blue tape on my machine. Clearly, it is worn from use, but it still is very helpful. I use the tape to guide exactly where my fabrics should be to ensure a 1/4" seam allowance. If you make sure your seam allowance is correct, you will have no problem sewing your blocks to the correct size.

Week 3 Prize

The prize this week is from Rosie Girl Quilting. I will randomly select one of you from the pictures posted this week to receive a curated fabric bundle from their shop. All you need to do is post a picture on Instagram of your progress. Use the hashtag #scrappylinesqal and tag me. If your account is closed, you can still be in the running for prizes by emailing or direct messaging me a picture.

Thanks for sharing all your progress last week. If you have any questions, please email me. I'm always happy to help.

Happy Sewing,

Bess

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