Thursday, August 1, 2013

Holiday Hustle QAL : Piecing the Blocks

It's August 1st and that means its time to get this quilt under way!  I pieced the blocks in about an hour and I probably could have hustled to get it done faster.  Ready?

If you missed the first post detailing the fabric required for this quilt, check it out here.  For today, all you need is a charm pack and your machine.  That's it!

Step 1: Grab a charm pack!

I am using an Aspen Frost kit for my quilt.  We'll use all 42 5-inch squares.

Step 2:  Sort your charms by color. 

It's likely that your charm pack is already sorted by color.  So this is easy ... just lay them out so you can see them all.

Step 3:  Sort your charms into three sets of 14. 

To do this, you'll want to work by color.  Sort of like dealing playing cards.  Start with one color and divide into three stacks.  Repeat with each color so that you won't have all the reds on one side and the greens on the other.

Step 4: Arrange each set group of 14 into smaller sections. 

From each group of 14, you will need two sets of 2, one set of 4 and one set of 6.  You can see that I just shift-sorted them on my ironing board.  (This quilt is all about the hustle and I didn't feel like laying them out downstairs and then hauling them back up to sew!  But if you prefer to lay them all out on the floor or a design wall, go for it!)

Note that I am trying to mix up the colors and prints some across the whole quilt top.

This diagram might help you plan your placement.

TIP:  Once you have your placement figured out, its a great idea to snap a photo with your phone or camera. If you get confused while sewing later, you can then just check the photo to make sure you are sewing the right prints in the right order.

Steps 5 & 6:  Sew and label your blocks

Cut some scraps of paper and label as A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4, C-1, C-2, C-3, and C-4. Lay them with each corresponding group (refer to diagram above).  This way you'll be able to get them all in the right place later!  I just pinned my labels to the top left corner of each block set as I was sewing them together.

Start sewing your blocks together using a 1/4" seam.  Be careful of any directional prints that they all go in the same direction.  (You don't want Frosty or some trees upside down later!)

For sets of 2 squares, press in either direction.

For the 4 patch, you'll sew two pairs and then join the two rows.  Before joining, press rows in opposite directions so you can nest your seams.

Just butt the seams together, pin the intersection, and then sew.

Look how nice that turned out!  You can press the completed 4 patch in either direction.

For the 2x3 block, repeat the process.  Make 3 rows of pairs. Press in opposite directions, nest the seams, and sew the rows together.

Since we're hustling through this quilt, I chain pieced a lot of my blocks and then also double pinned my 2x6 to save a trip back to the ironing board.  (Refer to photo above.)

Step 7:  Check your layout and admire your work!

Now that you've sewn all your blocks together, take them where you can lay them out.  Using the diagram shown earlier in this post, lay them out in columns (A, B, & C) and make sure you like the arrangement.

Shuffle them around a little if you feel like you need to balance colors or prints.  Or just leave and love it!

That's all you need to do for this week!  Next week, we'll add sashing and borders.  The week after that we'll quilt and bind.  A few Christmas kits are still available - so join the fun why don't you?!

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or email me at sewlux (at) gmail (dot) com.

Happy Sewing!  :-)


  1. I am sew excited! It's raining here today..perfect time to Kwikt On! Thanks for inspiring me to try a QAL.

  2. PS. I had Aspen Frost F8ths so I am using that and cut 2 charms from 21 F8rhs...should still work ok.

  3. I almost missed this's been a crazy busy week...won't get anything sewn on this, but need to favorite it for later. =)

  4. I have a question.... My charm pack of In From The Cold only has 41 squares..... I've checked and rechecked and there really are only 41. I opened it in one spot and started to lay things out immediately and came up one short. Two are not stuck together... I've counted and sorted 4 times. My question is which border fabric from the kit (except the white sashing) could I cut an additional 5" square from? And is there enough fabric to cut 1-5" square out of it. I don't want to run out and could use some of my fabric stash to find a piece that would blend in OK if there isn't enough fabric. I'm not sure that I've ever had this happen.... it's all factory die cut, so I'm not sure how it could be one square short, but it is. Suggestions? Thanks!


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