I’m interrupting my last Australia post so that we can get the Aunts’ Quilt quiltalong started. Are you ladies that are playing along ready? Most of you should have your patterns by now, so, let’s lay out a plan, shall we?
I originally thought we would do one pieced block and one applique block per month until we were done. But, upon further inspection, it looks like we need to do two pieced blocks and one applique block per month if we want to finish this quilt in a year — and we DO want to finish in a year, right? That way, you can be done and ready for quilting before Christmas, next year.
So, here’s a schedule that I thought we could follow:
Month 1: Block 1 and 2 pieced blocks
Month 2: Block 2 and 2 pieced blocks
Month 3: Block 3 and 2 pieced blocks
Month 4: Block 4 and 2 pieced blocks
Month 5: Block 5 and 2 pieced blocks
Month 6: Block 6 and 2 pieced blocks
Month 7: 4 inset triangles
Month 8: 4 inset triangles
Month 9: 2 inset triangles and 2 corners
Month 10: 2 corners and construct quilt and attach border background
Month 11: Side scallops
Month 12: Top and bottom scallops
I’ll be here to remind you of the schedule each month and generally cheer you along. We’ll base our months on the 15th of each month — so the first month will be Oct. 15th – Nov. 15th (we’re late already!). I debated about taking a month off during the holidays, but instead, I think we’ll just keep a schedule and if you get behind, you can use the slow winter months (I don’t think we have any participants from down under, do we?) to catch up.
I’ve also debated about ways to share our progress. For those of you who have blogs, let me know you’re playing along and I’ll add your blog name to the side bar. If you don’t have a blog and you want to send me pictures each month, I’ll be happy to share them here, on my blog. AND, if you have instagram, let’s post progress under the hashtag “#theauntsquilt” — there are already a few pictures from Australian quilters under that hashtag.
Also, a few of you mentioned that you are new to applique, so I thought I’d show you my favorite way to make the bias strips that we’ll need for the stems on our applique blocks. Years ago, I used to do needle turn stems and, one day, MeMum showed me this technique and changed my applique world. It’s SO much easier than any other method I’ve seen. You’ll need a set of bias bars. I’ve seen them in metal and nylon and either kind work just fine.
You need to cut bias strips of your stem fabric. To calculate how wide to cut your bias strip, take the finished size of your bias stem, multiply by two, and add 3/4″. So, if you’re making a 3/8″ bias stem: 3/8″ x 2 = 3/4″ + 3/4″ = 1 1/2″. You would cut your bias strip 1 1/2″ wide.
Here, try another one. If you’re making a 1/4″ bias stem: 1/4″ x 2 = 1/2″ + 3/4″ = 1 1/4″. You would cut your bias strip 1 1/4″ wide. Make sense?
Fold your bias strip wrong sides together. (Don’t make the mistake that I make when I’m on auto-pilot and sew right sides together or you’ll be unpicking.) Then, stitch a generous 1/4″ from the raw edges.
If your finished bias stem will be 3/8″ or smaller, you may need to trim your 1/4″ seam just a little bit.
Insert the rounded end of the bias bar into your tube of fabric and shift the seam toward one side of the bias stem. Press the seam flat, shifting the bias bar along the length of the tube as you press.
When you flip your bias stem over, you won’t be able to see the seam. In the blurry picture below, the wrong side of the bias stem is the top strip, and the right side is shown in the bottom strip.
Pretty slick, huh? When you applique your strip down to your background fabric, the raw edge of the seam will be enclosed by your two rows of stitches. I love this method because there’s no fabric turning involved — it’s quick and easy!
Ok kids — get to work. I hope choosing fabrics will be easier for you than it is for me. The only decisions I’ve made so far are the green stripe for the stems and the same Kei dot fabrics that Gina used. I’ve pulled a bajillion fabrics from my stash and can’t decide on anything. Also, if you have any suggestions for the quiltalong, I’m all ears! Good Luck!
Oh P.S. — Here’s a little tip — when you have your fabrics pulled each month, you might want to cut a few of the scallops — it will save a lot of time at the end when we’re making the scalloped borders!