Monday, January 4, 2016

January Quilt-Along Challenge

Sharon here, and I am excited to announce that this year Whimsical Fabric is having a year-long scrap quilt sew-along challenge!! 

It's simple to join in, all you need is your fabric scraps and your creativity.

On the first Monday of each month, I will teach one quilt block pattern. You have until the last Monday of the month to sew your quilt block(s) and enter them into the album in our Facebook group, Whimsical Fabric & Me, and/or blog about your quilt blocks and link up your blog post in our link party (see below). 

Each block that you sew and enter into the Facebook album, will count as one entry into our monthly drawing. If you make two blocks, that is two entries.  Make four blocks, that will be four entries, and so on and so on. There will be a prize drawing each month. 

In addition to the prize giveaway on the Facebook group, we also have a monthly Link Up Party.  Blog about your entry and link up your post and you will automatically be entered to win a second prize.

Note: You CAN enter both giveaways to increase your chances of winning!

 This month's prize will be a

Each month there will be a new tutorial for a new quilt block and a new chance to win prizes! All of our quilt blocks will be the very same size when finished so they can be sewn into one big quilt. (Or if you are me it is already looking like it will be as least two quilts!) At the end of 2016, I will show you how to finish your quilt: adding batting and backing, hand or machine quilting, and binding.

I am so excited about this sew along!! 

Supply list:
*quilter's mat
*rotary cutter 
*quilt ruler
*your scrap fabrics 

Let's begin this month's block! 

The Nine Patch Block
1. First we will begin by cutting our fabric into 2" squares. Cut the fabric into 2" wide by the length of the scrap fabric. Since it is scrap fabric some strips will be longer and some shorter than others.  Now we will  cut the strips into 2" squares. This is where a quilting mat and rotary cutter come in handy. It will make cutting the blocks a breeze! 

You will want to cut many different fabrics for this block. You can make a certain pattern or mix and match like I did. The more different fabrics you have cut the more mix and match your blocks will look. If you decide you want a pattern look to your blocks, it helps to lay out your squares in the pattern you want before starting to sew.  Since I didn't want mine to be a pattern I just grabbed whatever square looked good to me at the moment. This way it looks like one of my great-grandmother's scrap quilts.  

2. Now we will sew together our squares. Take two blocks and place them right sides together. If you are sewing from a pattern that you have laid out, be sure to place your left side square on the bottom and the center square on top. 

Sew these together with a 1/4" seam allowance. If you never have quilted before I will tell you do not lock your stitches! Yes that is right. In quilting there are not many places you will lock them.

Take your next set of blocks and sew them together just as the first set.  Do not cut off your first set of blocks. Continue sewing your blocks just like this until the first part of your Nine patch is sewn. You will have what looks like a "chain" of blocks now. 

By sewing our blocks together like this it will save a bunch of sewing time. You will be surprised at how quick these are to sew compared to the cutting time. 

3. Take your blocks and cut them all apart. 

4. Take your blocks and press the seam to one side. I always press to the darker fabric. As you are pressing, some blocks need the seam pressed to the left and some need the seam pressed to the right.  This ensures that we have nice matching corners when our blocks are sewn together. 

Here is a picture of the two different blocks. If you look, you can see the direction the seams are pressed. Look at the left block; the top and bottom row seams are pressed toward the edges.  This means the center row seams will need to be pressed toward the center.   However if your if your top row seams are pressed to the center square, then press the center row seams towards the outside. You will want half of your blocks pressed and constructed each way.  This ensures that our seams will all line up when we construct our quilt.

5. Now we will sew our third square onto the row of two to finish up the rows of three.  Lay the third square on top of the center square with the right sides together.  

Then stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance. Do not lock your stitches or cut the first set of squares off. 

Repeat for all your rows. After you have all your blocks sewn together, cut the "chain" of rows apart and press as before, being careful to press so that both seams on a row either go toward the center block or away from the center block (if you're making more than one block, you'll want about half of each direction).

6. Now we are going to take our rows and make our Nine Patches! This part is why we pressed the seams the way we did. I like to take my different rows and see which order I like best and then place them down as I would like to sew them together. 

Here is the back side to my layout. Look closely at the direction of my pressed seams. The center row should be opposite of the top and bottom rows.  If for some reason the seams are pressed in the wrong direction, press them in the correct directions now before continuing.

Now take the top and center rows and place them right sides together, matching up the seams. I like to place a pin where the two row seams meet. As you can see one seam will be facing left and the other will be facing right. This is so that while we are sewing the two seams will "lock" together and give us a nice looking corner. 

Sew them together with a 1/4" seam allowance. I like to sew multiple sets at the same time on this step as well, so I continue sewing until I have all my top/second row set all sewn together on a "chain" just as with the other two steps. 

7. Press your seams.  Remember some will be facing up and some will be pressed to the center.  Do half of the blocks you make each way.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 with your last row of squares. 

9. After we have all our blocks sewn it's time to square these all up! It is important that we square our blocks up so that when we sew our quilt together everything will line up nicely.  

To square up our blocks we will need to give each side a nice level straight edge. To do this I take my ruler and using the bottom of the center square, I make it level and then trim the top down just enough so that the top line is even.

I flip the block over on each side and repeat. As you can see from the photo below, we are not taking much off, just enough so each side is level. The finished block will measure 4 3/4". This number is very important because we want each of our blocks to be this size for when we sew our quilts together at the end of the year. 

Here are two blocks that I have made. On my quilt I do not want two blocks to be the same, but if you would like to you can certainly do just that on yours. I think quilts are just like sewing clothes, it's a great way to express yourself, so have lots of fun with this one! 

Facebook Group
After you have sewn all your blocks together for this month please go over to our Facebook group and share in our January Quilt Along Album each of your blocks for a chance to be entered into our monthly drawing! You have until January 25 at 12:00 pm CT to enter your blocks. 

Link Up Block Party
In addition, if you blog, write up a short blog post about your quilt-along block(s) and link up your post in our Link Up Party.  The button is located below. In addition, 
1. Grab the January graphic, share it in your blog post, and link it back to this post here to let all of your followers know you are partying with us.
2. Share about your blog post on all your favorite social media outlets.
Note: We will be sure to visit and comment on your blog. We love interacting with our followers!

Remember, there is no required amount that you need to make.  Make as many or as few as you would like. I am swimming in fabric at my house, so I hope to have lots of these Nine Patch Blocks made up by then. We sure are excited to see what you create with this sew long!!

Happy New Year and Happy Sewing!! 


  1. This was fun and I may have to make a few more blocks. I just love the way they are turning out! Thanks for hosting!

  2. Yes, I'll quilt along with you all :-) that will be nice to have at least one block using fabrics from any new projects plus I have a bag of scraps so another block from the depths of that bag!! I'm in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia so January is a hot month for us (not perfect sewing weather) but I'll still play!

  3. I cut my squares today!I'm SO participating!

  4. I did my first one last night.. this was fun..Now if I could only cut straight