Mad Plaid QAL Week 2 (and 1 again)

Here We Gooooo.....Again

So, as I had mentioned on IG and in the email yesterday, we have slightly altered the QAL.  We are extending Week 1 and its prize to be included in this week as well.  This past week (or month) has been a little alarming and overwhelming for most world-wide.  And last week, for the U.S., was more than most anticipated. So, in light of all of that, we're being very flexible with this QAL.

I want everyone to participate as much or as little as they can.  Any participation by posting your progress will enter you into that week's prize.  It doesn't matter if your two weeks ahead or just pulling fabric at Week 4.  The whole point of a QAL is to share with and encourage each other.  So let's make this as fun and stress free as possible and just go with the flow.


And now, let's get to the good stuff......QUILTING!!  

This week we will be featuring the first 4 of 12 full blocks for the Throw Size pattern. 

If you're using Fat Quarters, grab two pairs of cut pieces (4 FQs) and the Background pieces as well.

If you haven't already, you will need to pair up your  FQ fabrics to have a good contrast with each other.  If you need help with this, there's more information in the Week 1 Blog.

Half Square Triangles (HSTs)

If you've never made Half Square triangles, or want to read up on how I make mine, this section is for you.  If you're HST pro, go ahead and skip on down to step Quarter Block Layout and Construction.

Step 1: Prepping your Pieces for HSTs

First, you'll need to grab your 4" Background squares and draw a line from one corner to the other on the backside of each square.

I use a Frixion Pen, the ink disappears once ironed or heated.  There are lots of other ways to do this, including a pencil.  Be wary of any pen that may be permanent or bleed through.

Step 2: Sewing Your HSTs

So, just so there's no confusion, we are sewing "Two at a Time" HSTs

Place a Background 4" square on top of a Color 2 or 3 -4" square, right sides together.

Sew a ¼" seam on either side of the drawn line, corner to corner.

Turn the piece around and sew ¼" seam from the other side of the drawn line.

Cut your sewn pieces right on the original line you drew. This will render 2 HSTs.

I always press the pieces closed prior to pressing them open, this is called setting the seam.

I then press my seams open. I find this gives a flatter more managable piece to trim and sew later on.

Step 3: Trimming Your HSTs

When trimming your HSTs, it's important to be careful while cutting.  You should never cut towards yourself or crossing over your other hand. (Don't ask me what I actually do, I've got some bad habits) You'll want to trim one side and the top and then turn the block to trim the other side and bottom.

I used a ruler the size of my finished piece.

You can also use a larger ruler and tape off the correct size so you can easily see where you need to measure from.

Place your ruler on top of your HST and be sure the 45 degree line is exactly on the seam.

Make sure you've centered the ruler as much as possible. Even overhang on all sides is not as important as the 45 degree line being centered. However, you don't want fabric to be under- hanging either (that's a word, right)

It may not look like much, but that's about all you should be trimming off your HSTs

But once you've trimmed all of your HSTS, you can see those tiny trimmings add up.  And if you don't trim your HSTs, this pile is a small representation of how off you piecing would be in the long run.

Quarter Block Construction 

Now that we've got our HSTs completed, we're ready to start our Quarter Block Construction.  

If your using only 3 colors, your Quarter Blocks will be exactly the same for the entire quilt. 

If you're using FQs, you will have Quarter Blocks A and Quarter Blocks B.  Each pair of FQs will render 4 Quarter Block As and 4 Quarter Block Bs. Blocks A and Blocks B will be the inverse of each other.

Lay out your pieces

Sew them into rows (for tips on sewing points, see the tips section at the end of the blog)

Sew your rows together to make a Quarter Block

Quarter Block A

Quarter Block B

Full Block Construction

Now it's time to make the final Blocks.  Once again, if your only using 3 colors, all your blocks will be the same.  For FQs, just like the quarter blocks, your full blocks A and B will be the inverse of each other.  

Step 1

Lay out Quarter Blocks A by rotating each block a quarter turn to line up as above

Step 2

Sew two blocks together and then sew the other two blocks together.

Step 3

Sew the two rows together to make a full block.  

Repeat for Block B.

Tips and Tricks

I've listed some of my go to tips in the pattern but I'll reiterate them here and post them every week.


  •  Read the entire pattern before you ever cut anything: This will help ensure you understand the plan and reduces confusion.
  •  When cutting different size pieces from the same piece of fabric, cut larger pieces first: Cutting larger pieces first helps ensure you'll have large enough pieces to cut from. The smallest pieces get cut last and you can usually save fabric by using the scraps of the larger pieces already cut off.
  • Starch and Press your fabric before you cut: This helps stabilize the fabric and give you more accurate cutting.
  •  Start your project with a new needle: You'd be surprised how often the source of your stitching and tension frustration is due to a dull or bent needle. You should use a new needle for your quilt top and a new one for your quilting.
  •  Press Seams Open: This helps reduce bulk especially since this quilt has so many different blocks, you won't be able to plan your directions.
  •  Label your Pieces: Labeling is the easiest way to keep organized and not get confused.
  • Sewing Points Together:

Place a needle right at the intersection point of the seam for the top piece

Push the needle through and match up to the intersection point of the bottom piece and pin together

When sewing the pieces together, make sure the needle goes through this intersection

This Week's (and last week's)

Featured Sponsor and Prizes

Week 1


This week's featured sponsor is Erin from The Blanket Statement. She's providing three of her patterns to one lucky person. Be sure to share your pics this week and tag #madplaidqal for a chance to win.

Hi! I’m Erin. I am a modern quilter and pattern designer from Winnipeg, Manitoba where I live with my husband, two kids and a dog. After many years of quilting just for fun, and more importantly in an effort to stay warm in our subarctic climate, I started The Blanket Statement in 2017. When I’m not quilting, I like to hike, camp and spend time in the great outdoors. 

Week 2

Schneider House Quilt Studio

I'll be offering up a surprise fabric bundle/jelly roll/etc.  

Be sure to share your pics this week and tag #madplaidqal for a chance to win.

That's all for this week. Next week we continue piecing and learning about chain piecing! 

Be sure to tag pics of your fabric pulls and progress on Instagram with #madplaidqall and #madplaidquilt.

A little FYI for next week. If your Instagram account is private, we will not be able to see your pics, even if you tag them. Some options are to create a separate account for your quilty fun, or make your current account public.

Our Sponsors

The Blanket Statement


J. Coterie Quilting


Lemony Quilts