It's Week 1 of the Gather quilt sew along and I'm so glad you're here! This is an exciting quilt pattern because it uses a well-known quilt block, the half square triangle, but in a fresh new way.
During this community sew along we will make the throw size Gather quilt. With each passing week I will dive into detail on the making process of one specific section of the pattern, but for now, rest assured that I, along with the hundreds of others participating, will be here to answer any questions you have along the way. That's the great thing about a sew along!
How does that work, you may be wondering? For the full explanation, check out the original Gather sew along post here. And below is a quick recap before we jump into our Week 1 assignment:
- Who: Anyone who wants to participate in this sew along can join. There is no official sign-up, but lots of different ways to participate. These sew along posts will always be here on the SQ blog, so you can work at your own pace and also revisit these different posts as you need them.
- What: We will make a throw-sized Gather quilt. You can purchase the PDF pattern here. You can still participate and make any size from the pattern, however, if you would like a chance to win weekly prizes, for the final week's grand prize you must show a finished quilt top that is a throw or larger.
- Where: Everything is online. Sew along updates will be posted weekly in the SQ newsletter, on this blog, Instagram and in the Suzy Quilts Patterns Facebook group. Any questions you have can be posted in the blog comments, in the Instagram comments and in the FB group. Live video events on both Instagram and Facebook will be on Wednesdays at 7:30pm CST for the duration of the sew along. This week, our live video will be on Thursday Thursday because of Inauguration Day on the 20th.
- When: January 20 - March 9, 2021
- Why: Follow along with #GatherQuiltSA on Instagram and see what hundreds of other quilters are making. It's really inspiring! Plus there are prizes... (more on that below).
Gather Quilt Sew Along Schedule
- Week 1, January 20: Pick fabric and gather supplies
- Week 2, January 27: Cut all fabric
- Week 3, February 3: Sew, trim and press HSTs for Colors 1-5
- Week 4, February 10: Sew, trim and press HSTs for Colors 6-9
- Week 5, February 17: Sew HSTs into rows
- Week 6, February 24: Sew strips as needed and assemble the quilt top up to row k
- Week 7, March 3: Assemble the rest of the quilt top and trim
Week 1 Assignment: Pick Fabric and Gather Supplies
It's fabric time, friends! If you find yourself struggling to make a decision on what fabric to use, I have a blog post that will help you out, 6 Ways to Tackle Your Fear of Wasting Fabric. This post includes practical tips for taking the fear out of fabric. Plus there's an old pregnancy pic of me from 2018. haha!
Pages 16-18 of the Gather pattern include color variations. Page 15 has a blank coloring page if you would like to play around coloring your own. I find that can be helpful the first time I make a quilt.
Picking Fabrics For The Gather Quilt Really Is Easy.
Picking fabrics and colors for this quilt pattern really isn't hard and I'll tell you why: there are clear parameters. Yes, of course you can throw them out the window, but if you're at all worried about scale or composition or color theory, just stick to these three tips and you'll strike gold every time!
Tip #1: Pick a low-key background fabric.
You don't have to pick a solid. You don't even have to pick a light color like white or gray. You do want to pick a "boring" fabric, though. This is the fabric that will fade into the (yes, you guessed it) background so that your other 10 fabrics get all the glory.
It may feel like your background is a throw away fabric, but that couldn't be further from the truth. This fabric truly is the foundation of the home you are building, and a quilt home needs sturdy infrastructure.
Tip #2: Pick two color families and stick with them.
Fire and ice. Night and day. Warm and cool. Wet and dry.
Thinking about the two sides of the Gather quilt as opposites will make your color family selection even easier. In this design you have 5 colors on one side, 4 colors on the other, and a 10th color that blends it all together. Below is a screenshot from the Gather pattern with 4 different color examples.
- Succulents: Background - light gray, Colors 1-5 - green color family, Colors 6-9 - purple color family, Color 10 - green
- Beachy Vibes: Background - white, Colors 1-5 - neutral/yellow color family, Colors 6-9 - blue color family, Color 10 - medium gray
- Twilight Skyline: Background - dark teal, Colors 1-5 - cool color family, Colors 6-9 - warm color family, Color 10 - dark purple
- Vintage Vase: Background - black, Colors 1-5 - warm color family, Colors 6-9 - cool color family, Color 10 - sienna brown
Tip #3: Consider the scale of your prints, but don't worry too much about it.
For the throw Gather quilt your HSTs finish as 5 1/2" squares. If you are wondering if your favorite large-scale print is going to cut up well, just take a ruler and place it on top of the fabric. Move it around a little bit and see what a 5 1/2" triangle looks like.
There is a lot going on with this quilt, so as long as you followed Tip #1 (and get that boring background) I'm 95% sure whatever fabrics you pick for Colors 1-10 will be great.
My Gather Fabric
I've made my share of Gather quilts, so I'm ready to branch out of quilt-weight cotton and add some various substrates to my pull. I decided on a selection of linen, quilting cotton, lightweight denim and a linen/cotton blend.
If you didn't already know, at the time I'm typing this, I'm 7 months pregnant. So I spend a lot of time relaxing on the couch, which has created the habit of looking at beautiful fabrics online. Of course, looking leads to buying (oops!) which makes my fabric stash out of control, but is also pretty awesome for creating quilts from my personal collection.
However, all of this buying, collecting and stash pulling makes it tricky for when I sit down to type a list of the fabrics I'm using. Also, a lot of this beautiful fabric is not labeled on their selvages. Come on, fabric! So, I'm going to try my best to remember. Here we go...
Oh! And to make this even more confusing, I don't have these fabrics pictured in order. Sorry! I will list them in the order seen in the picture below from top to bottom.
From top to bottom based on the photo above:
- Color 8: Watercolor Linen in Smoked Rose
- Color 9: Belgian Linen I purchased at Purl Soho. It isn't currently listed, but hopefully they restock it because it's a fabulous color and an amazing texture.
- Color 7: Watercolor Linen in Monarch Gray
- Color 6: Strawberry Fields in Blush by Rifle Paper Co.
- Color 1: Light-weight denim. I can't remember where it's from, but I'll guess that this is pretty close.
- Color 2: Strawberry Fields in Navy by Rifle Paper Co.
- Color 3: Daily Linen in Night Sea
- Color 10: Add It Up in Copper Metallic
- Color 5: Watercolor Linen in Rain Cloud
- Color 4: Essex Yarn Dyed Linen/Cotton Blend
- Background: (not pictured) Kona Snow
Gather Your Supplies
Aside from a handy HST ruler I've recently discovered, you don't need fancy supplies to make this quilt. All you need is:
- The Gather quilt pattern
- Fabric as required by the pattern (see below)
- Basic Quilting Supplies
- (Optional) Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmers ruler – Click here for a tutorial plus video on using this ruler!
- (Optional) rotating cutting mat
- (Optional) tailor's clapper
The Week 1 Sponsor & Prize
Kicking off our first 2021 sew along is one of my longtime favorite fabric shops – Fabricworm! Fabricworm is the retail shop of Birch Organic Fabrics and is giving away a Gather quilt kit based on this quilt I made below. All of the fabrics are Birch Organic poplin solids or basics.
Use coupon code GatherSA for 10% off $35 or more at Fabricworm! Valid through February 3rd, 2021.
And that's my son Desi posing on top for scale. Ok ok you caught me! He's posing for cuteness. Isn't he adorable?? Turns 2 on February 1, and I still can't believe it!
How to Win
- Post a pic to Instagram. The photo prompt for Instagram this week is to post a picture of either your fabric and/or mockup OR an introduction photo telling us about yourself. Use #GatherQuiltSA in the caption.
- You must have a public Instagram profile to participate.
- Each photo posted is an entry and you can enter as many times as you want in a single week. Once the week is over, those posts do not count in the next week's giveaway. Every week we start fresh.
- Your photo must be posted between 12:00 a.m. CST on Wednesday, January 20 and 1:00 p.m. CST on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.
- This prize is open internationally.
- The winner will be picked randomly from all qualifying posts and announced at approximately 4:00 p.m. CST on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.
19 thoughts on “Gather Quilt Sew Along: Week 1: Pick Your Fabric”
I’m so excited for this sew along! I’m new to this prewashing thing. How much sorting does it require? Can prewashing be done by hand? Would you recommend prewashing half yard cuts? Sorry to be so needy!
Also, I just found my new favorite quilt marking tool, at least for dark fabric—an old sliver of dove soap! Wipes off with a damp cloth!
Great questions and you’re not needy at all! Asking questions is what this sew along is all about 🙂 Some of your prewashing questions are answered here, if you haven’t seen this article yet – https://suzyquilts.com/should-you-prewash-fabric-before-quilting/
You don’t have to do too much sorting, however I do like to separate darks and lights whenever possible. Yes, you most definitely can prewash by hand. If you would like to prewash pre-cuts (that anything the size of a fat quarter or smaller) I recommend either basting or zig-zag stitching the edges or hand washing them. Otherwise they fray too much and you lose inches when you didn’t have much to begin with. I have become a consistent prewasher, so I would say yes, you can definitely prewash 1/2 yd. cuts.
I have prewashed all of my fabric here, mostly because I’m mixing various substrates and they shrink at different rates. Prewashing will ensure that my seams are safer because they are not trying to hold together different fabrics pulling at them in different ways.
Thank you! Prewashing now, some by hand and some by machine. I always appreciate that you pay attention to questions and comments and answer them. And I love your patterns! This is the third one I’m making, but I have many more printed and waiting for the right fabrics and the right time. ❤️
I made several attempts to get this ordered and it would not go thru…….any idea why??????
Attempts to order the Gather pattern? Oh no, I’m sorry! If you send an email to me at email@example.com and I’ll get it sorted out.
Hi Suzy, after prewashing, is it a good idea to starch and iron all fabrics or is that not necessary since we’ll be ironing during/after the sewing phase? Thanks!
This response won’t win me any friends, but yes, I do recommend ironing your fabric before cutting. I like to iron it all right before I cut so I don’t deal with any creases leftover from the fabric being folded. Starch is optional based on your fabric, your preference, and the pattern you’re sewing. Here’s a post on that – https://suzyquilts.com/starch-quilt-fabric/
Thanks for the quick response! And I’m pretty sure everyone wants to be your friend (and do exactly what you say) 😉
Hi Suzy! I just purchased the Gather pattern and have been reading up on your HST tutorial. One question I have for you is if this pattern is fat quarter friendly? I purchased a Rifle Paper Company Strawberry Fields fat quarter bundle (qty. 20) that I think would be super cute using the Gather pattern. Will this be enough for the throw size? Obviously, I would still need to purchase the background fabric.
You could make your HSTs from the fat quarters, but for the throw there are longer strips that need to be cut from yardage. If you want to make it scrappy, you could use the fabric like that!
oh my that watercolor linen is going to be so dreamy! (Stepping away from website so I don’t order….)
I admire your restraint! When I see fabric I love, I dive deeper…. then 😬 oopsie, I’ve ordered it, and additionally even more lovelies found while online 😩😍
I was up til 1 am ordering from threadworm…think I might have found a mistake in the twin size coloring for the strips…
Talk to me. What did you find?
I will have to get my pattern which is not beside me to tell you. Found succulent color in the post, same as what I was looking at, but no info on kind, color, etc. will let ya know tomorrow..
Total newbie here – how do you know what colour thread to buy?!
Pick something that blends well with your lighter fabrics. For example, if you have a cream background fabric, use a cream thread for quilting. When it comes to piecing, however, I typically always stick with light colors such as gray, white and cream.