Unexpected delights of Quilt-a-longs

I am thoroughly enjoying the two QALs I decided to take part in back when they were launched in January.  There were many on offer, generated by hard working quilting bloggers around the world.  I was a little wary as my limited track record of keeping up with QALs is not very good.  Last year I got as far as buying the book and making the first block in Amy Ellis’ ‘Think Big’ QAL.

Note all the fabrics carefully stored! I guess this counts as another UFO?

This year I have embarked on Alyce Blyth’s Modern HST Sampler QAL and Amy Gibson’s Sugar Block Club 2016.  Neither are proving too pressurized – Alyce posts a new block every two weeks and Amy on the first day of every month.

My five blocks for the HST Modern Sampler QAL
The first three of my Sugar Block Club 2016 blocks. (The colours look a little washed out in this photo)

Here are a few of the unexpected delights I have discovered whilst taking part in these QALs: the simple pleasure gained from opening up my boxes of completed blocks and pre-sorted fabrics all ready to make the next in the series; having my fabrics ready sorted reduces the time spent making choices so getting on with making the block happens nice and quickly; paying careful attention to one block at a time provides a great opportunity to practice new techniques and polish skills; following other participants in a Facebook group or on Instagram is fascinating as everyone shares the effects their fabric choices have on the look of the blocks.


Yesterday I completed the third of the Sugar Block Club blocks, ‘Orange Peel’. The main cause of delay in making this month’s block was having trouble sourcing ‘Steam-A-Seam 2’ in the UK.  Eventually I ordered it on line from The Cotton Patch (I somehow managed to order some fabric too…).

IMG_0476I’ve discovered our printer is not too keen on feeding through the layers of ‘Steam-A-Seam 2’ – thankfully the unintentionally exposed sticky layer of the product didn’t gum up the works! In future I will stick (ho!ho!) to tracing shapes rather printing them on to this effective double-sided fusible web.

IMG_0481Attaching the petal shapes using the raw edged applique technique taught by Amy on her You Tube clip was good practice for me. It’s given me confidence to have a go at similar designs in the future – maybe even make up my own.

Have you been motivated or encouraged by QALs?  Maybe you’ve found they create more UFOs than finishes?


Linking with Kristen for Handmade Tuesdays at Ladybug Blessings and Lorna for Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

14 thoughts on “Unexpected delights of Quilt-a-longs

  1. Hi Allison!! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the Sugar Block Club this year!! Thanks so much for sharing about it on your blog. Lovely blocks! PS- I absolutely LOVE your blog name and the meaning behind it. That is exactly the verse I needed to start my day off with today! ☺️

  2. I love QAL’s too. This year I’ve been participating in the Farmer’s Wife and Splendid Sampler groups. Both are too many blocks for me but that’s okay. I’m only making the blocks I like. I must admit the Facebook groups overwhelm me but I do love checking out the hashtags and finding inspiration on Instagram.

  3. You’re doing fabulous so far on keeping up with your QALs. I am participating in 4 right now, and I’m up to date only on one. Two others I am complete until this month, and the first one, well it’s still early in the year, right? I do like some QALs for the variation is skills – Amy Gibson has had some great ones in the past, but I had too much this year to jump in, now that I see your blocks though, I wish that I had…Generally though, I do get the quilt tops finished within a month of the QAL ending, although the quilting sometimes gets pushed further away.

  4. I love your sugar block club fabric choice and your blocks are amazing! I am working on finished 4 QAL.’s that never were finished, hopefully this month I can complete 2 of them.

  5. Your blocks are really beautiful, Allison. Looks like these QAL are providing a great opportunity to meet others who are quilting along through the Facebook group and Instagram. What a wonderful bonus!

  6. I’ve never done a quilt along. I did a mystery quilt when I first began and didn’t like the results nor enjoy the process very much. I like to know the outcome in advance and be able to plan colors, fabrics, etc. That being said, I’ve been watching the blocks for the Splendid Quilt Along this year and am very tempted to begin. I guess the one thing I did like about the mystery quilt was seeing everyone’s progress, colors, etc. There was lots of interaction among the participants.

    • Umm! That is a little fear I have in the back of mind – what if I don’t like the look of the quilt when all the blocks are made? I guess they can be sorted and made into table runners 😀

  7. your blocks are looking good. I am amazed at how organized you are – I think you’d fall over if you saw my sewing room ! You lay down some really good arguments for QAL’s.

    • I like the idea of being organised but most of the time I’m ‘managing muddle’! I think part of the reason I’m enjoying the QALs is because they are the organised bit of my sewing world.


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