Welcome!! It's finally the beginning of our Grow quilt sew along (#GrowQuiltSA on Instagram)! Click here to get your Grow quilt pattern and scroll to the bottom of this post for this week's prize details. If you are hearing about this sew along for the first time, I encourage you to read this introductory blog post on all of the details, prizes and schedule. If you would prefer a shorter, bulleted list, I got you covered:
- What is a sew along? A sew along is when a group of people get together virtually (a.k.a. online) and sew the same pattern over a set amount of time. The really exciting thing about a sew along is that with a potentially tricky sewing pattern (this one uses long strips), nobody has to muddle through alone. There will be lots of support via Instagram, Facebook and through this very blog (click the sew along drop down tab to always see the latest post).
- How do I join the sew along? There's no official sign-up and technically the only thing you have to do to participate is make a Grow quilt. Your level of involvement is completely up to you; however, there are some pretty sweet prizes to be won...
- Sew along perks!
- Prizes! Every week, by posting your progress to Instagram and using #GrowQuiltSA, you will be entered into that week's giveaway. Each week is sponsored by an amazing company, hand picked by me, to award one lucky person a free prize. See below for this week's rules and photo prompt.
- Support. This includes a weekly blog post explaining what we plan to accomplish, helpful tips, and what I’m working on. A new post will go live every Wednesday morning around 8:00am CT (I'm in Chicago...so that time zone).
- A weekly newsletter will go out the following Saturday morning reminding you about that week's prompt. If you're not already signed up for the SQ newsletter, sign up here! And finally, the Suzy Quilts Patterns Facebook group is available for questions that we can answer as a team or I can answer myself. I will also be posting videos and Live Q&A sessions in both the FB group and on Instagram.
- Can I miss some weeks and still participate? Yes! Every week we start fresh with prizes, so even if you miss a couple weeks, you're still very much in the game. To win the final prize of FREE longarm quilting, you must show a photo of a finished throw or larger Grow quilt top. Prize details and restrictions will be published in each week's blog post.
- When is the sew along? NOW! Today, April 1, 2020 is the first day! Below is the full schedule:
That yummy light fern fabric you see above will be my backing. Isn't it divine? It's called Dots Green Thumb Cream by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics.
Grow Sew Along Weekly Schedule
- Week 1, April 1: Task: Pick fabric, gather supplies and choose your pattern layout (if different from the original)
Optional Meditation: What is your intention for this time? To learn? To relax? To get your creative juices flowing? To work through some anxious energy? Sit for a moment and set a clear intention. This can change day to day!
- Week 2, April 8: Task: Cut all strips and borders
Optional Meditation: Hold some of your fabric in your hands, close your eyes, and feel its weight and texture. What do you love about fabric? How has that changed since you started sewing?
- Week 3, April 15: Task: Sew Blocks A-D
Optional Meditation: Before turning on your iron or sewing machine, pause for a minute to close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Listen to your body’s natural rhythm. How have you personally grown as a creative person? No judgement here. Only love.
- Week 4, April 22: Task: Sew Blocks E-H
Optional Meditation: Close your eyes. Let your shoulders relax. How have you grown as a friend to others? How have you grown as a friend to yourself? Remember, no judgement 😉
- Week 5, April 29: Task: Sew Fig. 6-12
Optional Meditation: Sit by your sewing machine. Breathe in with the count of one and out with the count of two. After counting to ten, start again. Do this a few times or until you feel relaxed. Think about how grateful you are for your sewing machine. What a blessing it is!
- Week 6, May 6: Task: Sew Fig. 13-18
Optional Meditation: After taking some breaths and feeling at ease, lift your heart up and picture warm sunshine streaming onto your face. Enjoy this sense of warmth and lightness. Enjoy the feeling of being happy in your accomplishments!
Welcome to Week 1: Let's Pick Our Fabric!
Hooray for pretty fabric! My guess is that when it comes to picking fabric, you fall on one end of the pleasure spectrum. You either love planning a quilt and sifting through fabric brings you immense pleasure OR the whole planning process makes you nervous and you wish someone else would just do it for you. You worry you'll mess it up somehow, and if you're being honest, you kinda hate the uncertainty. Am I right? Quilt planning is a polarizing point!
If you fall into the second category, I have a blog posts that will help you out, 6 Ways to Tackle Your Fear of Wasting Fabric.
Pages 15-18 of the Grow pattern include color variations. Remember, you don't need to use 100% of a color variation if you only like 75% of something. For example, if you like the block alteration design "Fun House" on page 18, but fuschia is not your color, substitute different shades of another color and get the same effect!
Finding Balance in Your Grow Quilt
The Grow quilt plays on positive and negative space, bouncing back and forth from one to the other in harmony. If you feel unsure about your fabric choices, I have a few tips that will help when pulling fabric for your first Grow quilt.
- Choose your lightest and darkest fabrics for Colors 1 and 7. In the quilt I'm making for our sew along, I originally chose a dark fern print, but after laying out a few strips next to my other fabrics, I opted for a solid charcoal (more on that later...) With a dark charcoal as Color 7, I picked a light cream polka dot print for Color 1.
- Find the best contrasting combinations for your blocks. Lay Colors 1 and 7 next to the other 5 fabrics. Which combinations contrast the most? Blocks A-F (found on page 4 of the pattern) incorporate Color 7 strips. Blocks G and H use Color 1 strips.
- Sketch a mockup. Even if it's as simple as snipping a couple inches of each fabric and laying them out in the same order as the blocks in the pattern. Visualizing the placement of your fabrics will help you feel confident that you've made good choices.
Below is my original mockup and fabric selection. Since making this I have substituted the dark fern fabric for a solid charcoal. I ordered this fabric online, and once I received it I noticed that the dark fern fabric pulled lots of gold and moss tones which wasn't what I wanted. Even though I really wanted that fabric to work, I knew forcing it would be a mistake.
- Color 1: Ballerina Fusion Dotted Veil
- Color 2: Art Gallery Fabrics in solid Dried Carrot
- Color 3: Leo's Orchard Cream
- Color 4: Art Gallery Fabrics in solid Patina Green
- Color 5: Art Gallery Fabrics in solid Peach Sherbet
- Color 6: Art Gallery Fabrics in solid Spruce
- (old) Color 7: Evelyn's Green Thumb in Forest
- (new) Color 7: Art Gallery Fabrics in solid Magnetism
I'm jumping ahead of myself here because cutting doesn't happen until next week, but after slicing a few strips and laying them out I knew for sure that I needed to make the switch...
See what I mean?
Prep Your Fabric to Make Life Easier
I'm not a stickler for prewashing fabric, but if you are worried about cutting straight strips, PREWASH.
Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to shout. Please, prewash. 🙂 Woven fabric is made by weaving threads together both vertically and horizontally. (For a detailed description on how fabric is made, see this post How is Fabric Made?) Those threads can be stretched and distorted after living life on a bolt. Prewashing your fabric will help those threads figure themselves out and settle into their proper vertical and horizontal weave.
Extra Sewing Supplies
I filmed an Instagram LIVE a few days ago covering my favorite extra tools when making the Grow quilt. You can see that video in the Suzy Quilts Patterns Facebook group (I know, confusing, but it's there.) The list includes:
The reason I like these extra notions is because when strip piecing, it's nice to sew a little, press a little, then get back to sewing. If you have a pressing station set up right next to your sewing machine, you don't have to go anywhere to do it! Your Fitbit won't like you, but you'll probably have a better time.
Oh, and the scissors are needed in Week 2 for cutting. There's a cutting tip we'll cover next week, but if you just can't wait, I cover it here too.
The Week 1 Prize
We have TWO prizes for Week 1! A wonderful fabric shop is kicking off this sew along with a large and fabulous prize! Fabric Stork is giving away this full Grow quilt kit with backing AND binding included! This prize is worth of $100!
Since I love to use my Oliso mini iron when sewing my Grow quilt I asked Oliso if they would donate one for this giveaway. You know what they said? How about we give you a mini and a large smart iron! I said, well, if you twist my arm. 😉
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 #GrowQuiltSA 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. CT on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 and 1:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
- These prizes are only open to those living in the continental USA (that does not include Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico.)
- The winner will be picked randomly from all qualifying posts and announced at approximately 4:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
Sew Along Coupons
- Oliso - 20% off all smart irons with coupon code SUZYQUILTS20 - an awesome ongoing deal!
- Eleventh House Quilt Studio - 15% off longarm services if you mention this Grow sew along. Expires May 12, 2020.
- Modern Makes Box - 15% off your first subscription box. Coupon includes monthly, 3 month, and 6 month subscriptions. Enter SUZY15 at checkout. Expires May 12, 2020.
- Handmade Longarm Quilting - 20% off longarm quilting services for all Grow quilts. Expires July 31, 2020.
- Sweet Little Quilts - 20% off longarm quilting for all Grow quilts. Must mention this sew along on order form. Discount does not apply on return shipping. Expires May 31, 2020.