Mad Plaid QAL Week 3

So, life is a little weird right now....

And you know what, that's all I'm gonna say about that. 

We're now in week three of the QAL and we should be feeling pretty comfortable making HSTs and piecing your quarter and full blocks.

We'll be completing blocks 5-8 this week. If you are only using 3 colors, keep on keeping on.  If you're using FQs, time to pick two more sets of FQ pairs for your next four blocks.

Since there's really nothing new with this weeks sewing assignment, let's talk a little about Chain Piecing.

If you've never chain pieced before, let me tell ya, you're missing out.

This is an efficient and easy way to crank out some serious sewing while reducing your thread waste and helping with any issues of fabric snags.

If you're not quite sure what chain piecing even is, it's the continuous stitching from one piece to the next, without cutting your thread. So essentially, you just keep sewing your pieces without stopping.

If you've tried before, and weren't happy with the results, I urge you to try again.  Just like anything else it takes practice.

Chain Piecing

So, basic chain piecing isn't that difficult.  There's just a few things to keep in mind.  First you'll want to make sure you've laid out all your pieces in a way that's easy to pick up and move to the next piece.

You want to make sure you give yourself a few extra stitches between your pieces of fabric so that they don't overlap

If you've completed one pass of a chain of HSTs, and need to sew the other side of the line, start with the last piece you stitched.

Make sure to keep your chain untangled and all the pieces facing the correct way.  This helps with any pulling to one side or the other.

Now that you've created your chain, it's time to cut them apart.

I like to use the side cutter on my machine.  I have an automatic cutter so this is the only time it gets used.

You can also snip it with scissors, carefully cut with a rotary cutter, or get a stand alone chain piecing cutter/thread cutter.  The stand alone thread cutter is probably the fastest way to do this.

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 

Featured Sponsor and Prizes

Week 3

Lemony Quilts

This week's featured sponsor is Emily Jackson from @lemonyquilts. She's providing this great fabric bundle to a lucky winner.

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 look at chain piecing your blocks! 

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

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