Pumpkin Picking Quilt-Along: Week 1 Tips
Week 1 of the 2020 Quilts & More Quilt-Along starts on 8/17. The assignment is to plan and gather fabrics. Below you'll find some helpful tips for planning your quilt and choosing and preparing your fabrics. See more about the Quilt-Along here.
I want to plan my quilt's design, so I can picture what my fabrics will look like in this quilt.
Download our helpful coloring diagram here. You can color it in to help plan your colors/fabrics or get creative with the design.
I noticed you called this quilt a sampler quilt. What fun options are there for switching blocks out?
We took this quilt to another level by offering more block designs to play with depending on what fall or Halloween motifs you love most. The original quilt pattern has small blocks in stars, leaves, and pumpkins. We also have alternate designs available for an acorn and cat. Since all these small blocks are the same size, you can mix and match the designs as you wish.
To help you plan, we have the alternate blocks on the second page of the coloring diagram for you to cut out and play around with on the quilt design on the first page!
The optional blocks may slightly alter the fabric requirements from our Materials list, so keep that in mind when purchasing or gathering fabric. It also may alter the colors needed slightly (for instance, you may want to make the cat block and will require black fabric.)
You can find instructions for the alternate blocks here. (We made them into coasters.) But we'll also be releasing a handy cutting list for each small block in Week 2 of the quilt-along that you can print and refer to when needed.
I want to make my quilt a different size. Can you help with the math?
We've had some questions about adjusting the size of the quilt! For the purpose of this quilt-along, our schedule and all our tips/tricks will be following the pattern exactly as printed (that pattern has been technically edited and gone through a quilt tester, so we know everyone will have success making it). If you choose to alter the pattern for your own purposes, that's fine -- but we, unfortunately, can't help if things go awry! Sometimes, though, the easiest way to alter a quilt's size is to leave off borders or add more borders.
Should I prewash my fabrics?
Prewashing your fabrics is a personal choice. Prewashing is not required, and you can use a Shout Color Catcher when you wash the finished quilt if you're concerned about colors running. If you're using colors that are prone to running, such as reds, you can test the color fastness by soaking a 2" square of fabric in soapy water for 30 minutes, then checking to see if the water is clear. If it's clear, rub the wet fabric on a paper towel to see if dye comes off. If the water is colored or the paper towel is colored, you'll want to prewash your fabric until it doesn't bleed anymore. Prewash in cold water and dry on low heat.
How should I prep my fabrics and tools before we start cutting and piecing?
Change your rotary cutter blade if you haven't done that recently. That will make the cutting process much easier. Clean off your cutting surface and have a bin handy for the trimmings. Make sure your ironing board and iron are clean.
Clean your sewing machine, change to a new machine needle (did you know you should change your needle every 8 hours of sewing?), and wind bobbins in the color you plan to piece with.
Iron your fabrics using the right heat setting for the type of fabrics you're using (consult your manual if you're not sure). You can use steam or no steam -- it's up to you! Iron your fabrics flat (mist with water if you have a stubborn crease), then lay flat to cool. You can also choose to use starch to keep fabrics crisp while cutting.