Saturday, 12 March 2011

QAL - some questions answered

Is this QAL suitable for a beginner?

If you've done a little bit of quilt-making and have a cutting mat, cutting ruler and rotary cutter.  If you know how to sew in a straight line and can get a relatively accurate 1/4" seam then give it a go.  If you don't have any of these and haven't attempted any kind of quilting yet, this may not be the QAL for you as I will not be taking you through the 101 of quilting but will be assuming a little bit of knowledge.  Having said that, please ask as many questions as you like, either in comments to this post, email to me or in the Flickr group, as stupid as those questions may sound to you, and I will try to answer them.

I designed and made this block for a BOM I am doing where I, for some odd reason, don't always follow the patterns or use the fabrics sent to me.  Either way, this block was a starting point for me for the QAL quilt.

Amitie BOM block

What is a QAYG QAL and why did you choose to do that?

QAYG (Quilt as you go) means we will make six blocks for the quilt, baste each block to a square of batting, quilt that block and then assemble the blocks into a quilt.  This method gives sewers (!) with ordinary machines the chance to try some really fun and adventurous quilting if they want, like the spiral quilting on my QAL sneak peek.  Even if someone is going to quilt it in a very simple way, perhaps with some straight lines, it is much easier to quilt a 30" block than a 60" X 90" quilt.

The reason I decided to use the QAYG method was that Ethne Flaming Stitches suggested to me that the size of the blocks would make this a perfect QAYG project and beginners could have a lot more fun with the quilting and build their confidence without having to wrestle a full sized quilt through their machine.

Which QAYG method will you be using?

I will be using the method popularised by Penny Sewtakeahike.  This is explained in step-by-step detail in this series of posts which you may wish to read through a couple of times when we get to that stage so you understand the process.

Can I make this QAL with a jelly roll?

 I haven't done the math to work out whether you will be able to make this QAL with a jelly roll so you'd have to be prepared to be a bit more adaptable in your approach and perhaps use some stash for the skinny strips if there weren't enough fabric in the jelly roll but, that aside, it could work.  You'd have to sew jelly roll strips into pairs as the dresden template is 4 1/4" at its widest point.

Can I make this QAL with a charm pack?

You should be able to scale the template down either on a photocopier or a graphics program until you can fit three of the templates onto a charm square.  You will need to be a slightly more advanced quilter if you use a jelly roll as the size of the inner and outer circles of the dresden will need calculating and smaller circles are harder to piece.  You will also have to make the skinny strips that border the big circle using a smaller seam allowance so your piecing will have to be very accurate.  Alternatively, you could use stash fabrics for the skinny border or leave it out altogether.  Again, please feel free to ask questions as we go along, if you get stuck or can't calculate something.

This was my first trial dresden for this QAL quilt using an old Odyssea layer cake.  I didn't like the central circle so big so shrunk it for the QAL version.

Want to Quilt-a-long with me?

How many FQs would I need to make this QAL?

I would suggest buying 12 FQs.  Although 10 should in theory be enough, you will get more variety of fabric if you buy 12 and will have waggle room if the FQs are not cut perfectly square.  You will still also need 3 yds background fabric.

How much fabric do I need for backing and binding?

5 yds for backing and 1/2 yd for binding.

Do I need to buy a dresden ruler?

No, I will be providing a pdf of the dresden template and inner and outer circles.

Why does your sister read and comment on your blog even though she knows nothing about quilting?

Partly as moral support because she was, for a time, my only follower, reader and commenter.  Partly because it makes her laugh, especially when she doesn't understand a word we're saying and she likes to leave comedy comments to make me laugh.  And partly because she thinks I am a quilting genius.  OK, so I made the last "partly" up just to see if she had actually read through to the end of this very long and boring post.


  1. I love that you wrote that whole last part for your sister. ;) And you ARE a quilting genius. I'm sure she recognizes that. Let the comedy ensue!

  2. I am not your sister but YOU made ME laugh. I am sister jealous, and I think I might give this a go, never done one before, better go and read those instructions!

  3. the last FAQ ist hilarious, Lynne :-)
    sorry, i am not sure i did get the needed width of the strips right: 4" wide and 14" long, right?
    still thinking hard about joining, i never did a QAYG, so that´s really tempting..
    happy saturday,

  4. You make me laugh - only Chris Evans can normally do that at 8 o'clock in the morning! WOuld love to have a go at the QAL but have too much on and no sewing machine worth speaking of. And the garden will start to grow soon - hopefully. But I could just to one block and make a cushion?

  5. Ok, I want to make your Moda Bakeshop quilt and now I want to do your quilt along. I just need time. (I don't have a lot of it).

  6. I suddenly realised I'd bought several metres of Kaffe Fassett fabric recently, 'just because it was cheap' (as if!) and some of them were his multi-pattern-in-one-fabric- design, so that gives me 12 designs. Yay! So I went and bought some white for background. Because I was feeling rather 'puritan-ish' I went for some cheapish white cotton; it was as stiff as a board, but I thought it would be fine after I washed it. So I washed it and it's still as stiff as a board. So now I'm telling myself it will be fine once I start handling it. Watch this space.

  7. Ha ha, this is hilarious!

    Amanda, if you're reading this - don't use the cheap cotton, you'll regret it!!

  8. Love what I'm seeing! And I love that your sister leaves comments for you!

  9. I can't wait to start, where's the template already. Ha ha ha.

  10. I said before, I'm in. Now I've read this post, I'm definitely in! I was concerned about the end size and not being able to man-handle it all through the sewing machine to do it any decent quilting justice... I've never done a quilt in parts, and I love doing stuff I've never done!

  11. Hee, that's an awesome FAQ!!

  12. Looking forward to it and have the button pride of place on my blog so I can check in!

  13. LOL - As I read along all I could think of was "Green Eggs and Ham." Can I quilt it in a box? Can I quilt it with a fox?

    Everyone should have a sister that is willing to read through their ramblings and leave appropriate commentary.

  14. Confused. If the pieces are to be 4 x 14" how will a Layer Cake work??

  15. Cindy - you def. made me smile this morning. I'd say yes you can quilt it in a box with a fox - lol. I can see you now sitting in a box quilting with a stuffed fox by your side. LOl I'm going to try this QAL as I've never tried this method before and have always wanted to learn as I go along with other's just in case I need to ask some questions. : )

  16. Great to see this picking up momentum - JG has been given a selection of fabrics from my stash to work with (and there's more, plus the scrap bag) for her if necessary - she's looking forward to getting started

  17. I just now saw this QAL and might have to see if I can do this. No promises but I have loved the Dresden since I saw the first one. It sounds good so far. Thanks for putting this together.

  18. I am a self-taught hand quilter with nearly a dozen double bed to king-sized bed quilts under my belt so far. I do the entire process by hand. Since I've never had training, a lot has been left to common sense or the make-it-up-as-I-go system. My question is: What is the maximum area of a fabric piece within a block that can be left unquilted? I am working on one now that contains 24 pieces that measure 3 1/2 inches square. I free-hand quilt. How much does this area need to be filled in? (I thought it would be an easy question to ask, but I don't seem to have expressed it very well. . . .)

  19. Your wadding will tell you on the packet how far apart you have to quilt but it will tend to be something like 8-10" max apart so you should be totally fine.


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