UFOs rediscovered and some new beginnings

‘Tis the season for new beginnings.  For a reader of patchwork and quilting blogs that means gazing at the seductive posts calling us to sign up to quilt-a-longs (QALs).  I have been tempted by and succumbed to the following:

Sugar Block Club 2016 by Amy Gibson at Stitchery Dickory Dock.  The first block, a twist on the traditional Churn Dash block went public on 1st of January, providing the kick I needed to get back to my cutting mat and sewing machine.  I haven’t bought any new fabric (yet) for this QAL, instead I’ve used the fabrics left from an old project that didn’t get off the ground.

My version of the first block from Amy Gibson's Sugar Block Club 2016
My version of the first block from Amy Gibson’s Sugar Block Club 2016

Modern Half Square Triangle Sampler QAL by Alyce Blyth at Blossom Heart Quilts.  I think this QAL will push me into sharpening my HST techniques as well as providing the incentive to try some new (to me) methods of making HSTs.  The first block was posted on 11th January, I’m treating myself to some new fabrics before starting this one.

2016 Finish-A-Long hosted by several quilters around the world including Jess at Elven Garden Quilts.  Although I haven’t shared a list of my UFOs on this blog be in no doubt there are plenty! I would like to tackle some of them, most are at the ‘don’t know how to quilt it’ stage, and joining this QAL with a view to being encouraged by other quilters wrestling with UFOs seems like a good way forward.

Fabrics from the Moda retro 1950s Padstow Range. Pattern adapted from Pam and Nicky Lintott's
Fabrics from the Moda retro 1950s Padstow Range. Pattern adapted from a pattern by Pam and Nicky Lintott 

The first UFO I pulled out of the cupboard had been put away because I started quilting it by hand and found the actual stitching incredibly difficult. Having persevered with stitching template patterns onto 5½ of the centre blocks I realised my problems were caused by having chosen the wrong sort of batting.  The batting is needle-punched cotton with scrim and obviously not suitable for hand quilting (so long has this been a UFO I can’t remember the manufacturer or type of wadding). 

The centre four, handquilted, blocks
The centre four, handquilted, blocks




A course of action became clear: leave the handstitching in the centre four blocks; unpick the quilt stitches in the other 1½ blocks; machine quilt the rest.  In fact so swift were my decisions and the actions that followed that I’ve raised the status of this quilt from UFO to WIP and won’t be including it in the 2016 Finish-A-Long!  

The two quilts I have chosen to include in the first quarter of the 2016 Finish-A-Long have both been languishing in the cupboard of forgetfulness/shame for the past couple of years at least.  The QAL gives me three months to transform these two into finished quilts – watch this space… 😉

Moda French general fabrics and another pattern by the Lintotts
Moda French General fabrics and another jelly roll pattern by the Lintotts
A quilt top made at a workshop by Doris Dove.
A quilt top made at a workshop lead by Doris Dove.

Coffee quilt close up

All three of the quilts above will be machine quilted with the new found confidence and enthusiasm I’ve gained from watching the Craftsy class, ‘Next Steps With Your Walking Foot’ by Jacquie Gering. The first four lessons had some information I found useful but on the whole just confirmed what I’ve discovered by trial and error; the later lessons have lots of clear guidance about how to mark quilts specifically for machine quilting, I’m finding these very helpful.

Which new QALs have tempted you?  Made any blocks yet? Or are you resisting the QAL temptation this year?


Linking with the 2016 Finish-A-Long

13 thoughts on “UFOs rediscovered and some new beginnings

    • Thank you! It was a nice surprise when I pulled it out of the dark cupboard and saw the colours again. The spinning blocks and piano key border are made from a Moda jelly roll, Java by Deb Strain.

  1. oh this looks to be an exciting quarter for you! Good going on making such progress on your ‘problem’ quilt – that’s amazing! And yay for new found quilting confidence! Thank you for participating in the FAL, on behalf of the 2016 global FAL hosts. This is gonna be fun!

  2. Your new year looks to be off to a good start. You have made great progress already !
    You are right about all the tempting QAL’s and BOM’s out there, seems to be more than ever. Or I’m just spending far too much time looking/surfing and not enough time sewing.

  3. Beautiful projects here, Allison! Good idea to finish the one you started handquilting with machine quilting. Mixing the two techniques seems to be all the rage these days. You are ahead of your time!


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