Quilt-a-longs coming along

Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts has created a second quarter review linky for those of us following the Modern HST Sampler QAL. Here are my blocks 7 to 12.

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The QAL is now up to Block 16. Thankfully there was a weeks grace in August, there having been 5 Mondays in the month, so I’ve been able to catch up.

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Block 16 of the Modern HST Sampler: Whirly-Gig designed by Keera of LIVE.LOVE.SEW Pattern Co.

My current big project has reached a natural break while I await the arrival of the border and backing fabrics. It’s been a relief to turn my attention to the two QALs I’m following. Here is my latest 2016 Sugar Club block (August’s block made on 3rd September!)

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Shenandoah designed by Amy Gibson 
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These are the cut offs from the snowball corners in the block – not quite sure why I saved them and stitched them together but I did…

Amy Gibson  usually issues the blocks to be made on the first day of the month. I’ve checked her blog page and her Facebook page but can find no updates for the September block.  I hope she is ok – the mother of 4 young children she is sure to have plenty of distractions and family issues to deal with.

At the start of the year I decided to follow three QALs. I’ve found the two mentioned above have not only fitted into my patchwork/life balance but have gained me new skills and proved a welcome break in the midst of bigger projects. The third, 2016 Finish-A-Long, just hasn’t clicked for me. I’ve found myself embarking on new projects (to fill shelf space in the pop up shop, projects for classes at Purple Stitches) rather than finishing UFOs, new opportunities that I hadn’t factored in to my plans at the start of the year have brought UFO completion to a standstill.

Participating (or not) in all three QALs has taught me a few things about what to look out for at the start of next year when all those enticing QAL posts appear across the bloggosphere and how best I can use QALs to enhance my enjoyment of patchwork and quilting:

  • First I have really benefited from the gentle pace of the HST Sampler and Sugar Block Club; a new block every 2-4 weeks allows for flexibility around current projects; I don’t feel pressured, even if I do drop behind, as finding time to catch up is possible;  for this reason daily or even weekly issuing of blocks wouldn’t suit me. In fact stopping off from big projects to make just one block has had an invigorating effect on me, so different from that sometimes suffocating, overwhelmed feeling induced by starting a new project before another is finished. Of course the danger is that at the end of the year I will have accumulated two more UFOs!
  • Second, I got myself organised at the start with the fabrics and blocks stored in their respective boxes; opening up the boxes and revisiting the fabrics gives me real pleasure and once the latest block is completed the blocks, fabric and even the scraps can be tidied into the box until next time rather than becoming another UFO without a home!
  • Third, being part of an on-line group is encouraging and informative; seeing the variations quilters make to the blocks, the variety of colour palettes used and the scrapes and triumphs shared all adds to the motivation to continue. On this point, I will in future pay more attention to which social media platforms are to be used to share and communicate before I commit to a QAL. Alyce’s Facebook group works for me along with her quarterly blog link ups, unfortunately I am far less engaged with Amy’s group as I don’t ‘do’ instagram and that is where the photo sharing and interactions occur.
  • Finally, planning ahead is good, setting goals is a good motivational tool but ‘life happens’ and it’s healthy to accept that what appeared to be an achievable goal i.e. finishing a UFO each month/quarter, has become a burden rather than a motivator and to adjust goals accordingly. Although the decision to stop shouldn’t be taken anymore lightly than pulling out of a night class, in fact I’m talking to myself now as I feel guilty that I have given no personal explanation to the organisers of the 2016 Finish-A-Long as to why I’ve dropped off the group…

I have to say I am in awe of those bloggers who organise QALs. The amount of time and commitment it must take to create a pattern, the instructions, schedule the posting of each block and answer comments and queries can not be underestimated 🙂 Thank you! And that makes me wary of signing up to something and then falling away – it must be so disappointing to have created a QAL and then see participation melt away over the year – it most definitely should be a two way commitment.

I’m linking with Alyce and followers of the Modern HST Sampler QAL for the second quarter linky. Even if you are not taking part in the QAL do take a moment to look at the link and see just what a difference the chosen colours and fabric designs can make to the look of a quilt block – you may well find the inspiration you need for a quilt you are planning to make.

IMG_1850Finally, a little tip I picked up from Christine Porter: Pencil marks can be transferred by an iron onto the sole plate and from there onto the ironing board cover and other pieces of fabric. Switch to using a fine tipped permanent marker instead – I’ve adopted this tip when marking diagonal stitching lines for HSTs and quarter square triangles.

Allison

1 thought on “Quilt-a-longs coming along

  1. Oh, I like your blocks! Your colors are such happy ones, and I’m trying to imagine who will have the quilt when you finish. I especially like your newest block. I’ve been doing SOME of the Sugar Club Blocks, mostly for a swap I am doing each month, because I really like some of them. Yours is wonderful fabrics and such rich colors. I loved reading your bulleted list of thoughts about QALs. I don’t mark my hst. I press a fold line down the center, and it works perfectly for me. I don’t know if it would work for everyone, but it does for me. =) Thanks for stopping by my blog, too.

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