Welcome to my quilt along and some tips and tricks that hopefully will help you make these blocks a little more easily. They aren’t challenging to make, but sometimes there’s a little tip or trick that can make things that much easier, and who doesn’t like that?!
First I want to talk about the fabrics I am using in my quilt. They are what inspired me to design a pattern that allowed large florals to be showcased and wouldn’t need to be cut up too much. They’re the gorgeous Barkcloth fabrics by Gertrude Made called “Outback Wife”. They are rich, lush, beautiful, and a bit thicker than quilting weight cottons. I wanted to use a background fabric that had a bit more substance so it would play nicely with the barkcloth, so I chose Robert Kaufman Fabrics gorgeous Essex Linen Homespun. The particular color I’m using is Silver, but I know for a fact that every shade these fabrics come in are wonderful for so many projects. I have extensive experience using Essex Linens alongside quilting weight cottons in both quilts and bags, and I can honestly say they bring a special quality to every project.
I am stitching up my blocks with a Janome Skyline S5. I love this machine, but because of the dense layers of barkcloth and Homespun Essex Linen, I discovered that the factory setting of “5” on the pressure setting for the presser foot is a bit tight. I found that moving the knob to “3” makes stitching those two layers as smooth as stitching quilting weight cottons on level “5”. Check your machine, as all machines are different, and do a test run with the fabrics you’re using if they are new to you and aren’t traditional quilting weight fabrics. It will make for smoother sewing, nicer seams, minimal to no shifting of your fabrics, and a more enjoyable assembly all together.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram for even a hot minute, you know that I am an Aurifil Artisan. I have been a lover and exclusive user of Aurifil Thread since 2012, but only an Artisan since last year. I believe in the quality of Aurifil and I use it in every project that I stitch up. Quilts, bags, pillows, and I never have an issue with it in my machine, in the projects when they are machine washed and dried, and used and loved. I stitch everything with their 50 weight thread and I’m using that thread weight in this quilt and a stitch length on my machine of 1.8. That’s generally the stitch length I use when piecing. It makes for tight stitches that aren’t too hard to rip out if needed. Yup! I rip out seams! I’m not perfect and I don’t usually mind those moments where things don’t work out perfectly. I learn and move on. So, there’s my little preach about Aurifil.
Now to the pattern tips. I upped the size of the squares that are used to make the Half Square Triangles (HSTs). I wanted to make sure that even the most novice of quilters could get a precise size after trimming. I can’t emphasize pinning enough. I’m a very experienced quilter and I still pin. It doesn’t really take that much additional time, and when things turn out perfectly the first time, isn’t it worth it if it does?
Remember to measure twice and cut once. I did make a HUGE mistake when making one of my blocks using that precious Outback Wife fabric. I was not paying attention to the print on my cutting table and I cut the accent squares instead of focus fabric rectangles out of a big, beautiful floral. Omgoodness, I was sooo mad at myself! In the end I’ve decided to make that my center of the nine blocks in my quilt layout, because I had to use the intended accent print (a small floral) as the focus print instead. Oh well! That’s the way it goes sometime when you don’t have more of one particular fabric.
I’ll have some more tips and tricks for the assembly of these blocks later today. I hope you’ll reference these throughout your #ElegantOasisQAL no matter when you make your quilt.