Hey quilt pals! It’s week 1 of the Voyage Quilt Sew Along, and this sew along will be a little different. I’m Laura, Communications Manager and Creative Contributor here at Suzy Quilts, and I’m so excited to be your guest host!
Our regular leader Suzy Williams (known to many of you as Suzy Quilts) is just days away from welcoming baby #2 to her family - send her your well wishes in the comments!
We’ll be thinking of Suzy on her new family voyage while we make the Voyage quilt! And I know Suzy is so excited to see the creativity you all bring to this quilt. This is a particularly fun pattern because it looks complicated, but is actually beginner friendly.
A voyage is an exciting journey, a shared experience, and an opportunity to grow together. I’m excited to welcome beginners and experienced quilters along for the ride. I’ll do my best to live up to the fun and excitement Suzy brings to each sew along!
What's the Same and What's Different in the Voyage Sew Along
I’ll be sharing tips that Suzy and I have gone over before the sew along, posting my progress on the two - yes two! - Voyage quilts I’ll be making along with you, and adding some of my own flair to the sew along.
The biggest difference will be the quilt book of the week that I’ll recommend in each blog post. I hope you find something you’re excited to read!
During the Voyage Quilt Sew Along, we will be making a throw size quilt. Each week, you’ll get tips and tricks for one part of the process, starting this week with tips for choosing your fabric. We also have a fantastic line up of sponsors and prizes for you!
Here’s some information about how the sew along works before we dive into the week 1 assignment:
- Who: You! Us! Anyone who wants to participate can join. There is no official sign-up, but lots of different ways to participate. Read more details in the sew along introduction post.
- What: We will make a throw Voyage quilt. You can purchase the PDF pattern here.
- Where: Everything is online. Sew along updates will be posted on this blog, on Instagram, and in the Suzy Quilts Patterns Facebook group.
- When: March 30 - May 18, 2021
- Why: Follow along with the hashtag (#VoyageQuiltSA) on Instagram and see what hundreds of other quilters are making. It's really inspiring! Plus there are prizes... (more on that below).
Voyage Quilt Sew Along Schedule
- Week 1, March 31: Pick fabric and gather supplies
- Week 2, April 7: Cut fabric
- Week 3, April 14: Make HSTs - video tutorial
- Week 4, April 21: Make HRTs and finish HST overflow if more time is needed - video tutorial
- Week 5, April 28: Chain piece blocks together - video tutorial
- Week 6, May 5: Assemble blocks
- Week 7, May 12: Sew blocks into rows to make the finished quilt top; discuss quilting ideas
Week 1 Assignment: Pick Fabric and Gather Supplies
Choosing fabrics for a quilt can be the most fun part of the process, but it can also be challenging. It’s so hard to know how your fabrics will come together in the end, and it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out your own tastes. Check out this helpful post from Suzy with tips about cultivating a personal color and style.
For beginner quilters, there are helpful color options on pages 16-18 of the pattern. Those options can be a jumping off point for picking solids or prints in similar colors. Page 15 has a blank coloring page so you can experiment with your own color palettes.
Voyage comes in two color versions. The first is fat quarter friendly and requires ten colors for the throw, and the second is two colors that requires a foreground and background color. Here are some tips for picking fabrics in both versions!
Choosing Fabrics for the Multi-Color Voyage Quilt
Multi-Color Tip #1: Pick a Focus Fabric
If you’re not sure where to begin, choosing a favorite solid color or print is an excellent starting place. Once you’ve chosen your focus fabric, you can select the rest of your colors by either creating a gradient with it (see Tip #2), or you can use the colors in your focus print to choose everything else. Many prints have suggestions for colors that work well with a print on the selvedge!
Multi-Color Tip #2: Gradients are Great
Gradient color combinations work great for this quilt! Start with a color you love. You can build a gradient by using a swatch card if you have one. You could also choose a mid-value color (something not too light or dark) and pick darker and lighter values of the same color in either prints or solids.
Multi-Color Tip #3: Use Stripes Sometimes
Stripes may also be a challenge for rows that have HRTs. Because of the way the HRTs are constructed, stripes will be at a very slight angle in the finished block. If this would bother you, only use stripes for colors 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 10 in the throw as those colors do not have HRTs.
Multi-Color Tip #4: Directional Prints are a Don’t (Unless You Really, Really Love Them)
Directional prints will be a challenge with this quilt because of how the blocks are constructed. By directional prints, I mean something like an animal print where the animal is oriented the same way across the fabric. I’m using one directional print so I can pass on my tips to you, but if you want to avoid the challenge, it’s best to stick to all over prints or blenders. If you like the look of directional prints going in lots of different directions, go for it!
Multi-Color Tip #5: Try Being Bold with Bias Edges
If you’re bold about bias edges, this is an excellent project to experiment with textures. For my Voyage quilts, I’ll be using a mix of cotton, linen, and woven fabrics. Note that you will be sewing with bias edges throughout the quilt, and textured fabrics usually make that more challenging because of their natural stretch. So consider this an advanced tip.
Choosing Fabrics for the Two-Color Voyage Quilt
Two-Color Tip #1: An Excellent Choice for Beginners
Two-Color Tip #2: Any Color Works for the Foreground of Background
Two-Color Tip #3: Showcase Your Favorite Fabric
The two color version is an excellent way to show off your very favorite print. If you’re working with a print you love, make sure to pick a second fabric that will let it shine. This would most likely be a neutral that will fade into the background to let your fabric pop!
My Voyage Quilt Fabrics
I’ll be making two Voyage quilts during the sew along. The first is a blue throw quilt for myself, and the second is a purple baby quilt for my daughter. I just love this pattern so much that I wanted to make us matching quilts!
For both quilts, I chose to create a monochromatic gradient that is a mix of prints, solids, and textures. I recently took a color interaction class with quilter and textile designer Tara Faughnan. One of the lessons I’m applying to my Voyage quilts is about calm color combination. Tara says that when she asks people to choose colors that feel calm to them, they tend to be different shades of the same color. That’s exactly what felt calm to me!
With each fat quarter bundle, I started out with a focus fabric. Those are highlighted in the picture below. For the blue bundle, I knew that my focus fabric was on the light side in terms of value, so I added mostly dark fabrics. For the purple bundle, the focus fabric felt like it was right in the middle for value, so I added similar amounts of dark and light purples around it.
Because these are intended to match a little bit, but still have their own unique looks, I also decided to add a few coordinating fabrics from the same fabric lines to each bundle. You can see that in the picture below. I love that our different colored quilts will have these matching elements!
Both of these bundles are a scrappy mix of fabrics from my stash, Suzy’s stash (job perk!), and solids I bought at my local quilt shop. I’ll do my best to list the fabrics below, but note that many of them may be out of print.
Blue monochromatic gradient bundle, top to bottom in the picture above:
- Manchester Embroidered Cotton in Indigo, by Diamond Textiles
- Warp and Weft Flicker in Navy, by Ruby Star Society
- Polka Dot Chambray in Indigo, by Robert Kaufman
- Mystery fabric, but it's very similar to Night Sea PURE Solids, by Art Gallery Fabrics
- Swimming Pool PURE Solids, by Art Gallery Fabrics
- Spruce PURE Solids, by Art Gallery Fabrics
- Mystery fabric, but it's very similar to Essex Linen in Light Blue, by Robert Kaufman
- Speckled in Soft Blue, by Ruby Star Society
- Dobby Stitch Woven in Ocean
- Arroyo, by Cotton and Flax (out of print)
Purple monochromatic gradient bundle, top to bottom in the picture above:
- Cabernet PURE Solids, by Art Gallery Fabrics
- Polka Dot Chambray in Burgundy, by Robert Kaufman
- Mystery fabric, but it's similar to Kona Cotton Eggplant, by Robert Kaufman
- Essex Linen in Plum, by Robert Kaufman
- Alma She in Lilac Purple, by Ruby Star Society (out of print)
- Sweet Fig PURE Solids, by Art Gallery Fabrics
- Mystery fabric, it is a light lilac/pink shot cotton, possibly by Kaffe Fassett
- Balboa, by Cotton and Flax (out of print)
My background fabric for both quilts is Essex Linen in Heather, by Robert Kaufman.
Gather Your Supplies
You can make the Voyage quilt with notions that you already have on hand, but we’ve identified a few handy supplies that might make the Voyage quilt smooth sailing. These are not required to make the quilt, but are added tips from us! If you plan to purchase any new supplies, I recommend ordering them this week so that you have them when we get to future weeks when we’ll reference them!
- The Voyage Quilt pattern
- Fabric for the multi-color or two-color version as required by the pattern (see below)
- Basic quilting supplies
- Optional: The Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmer was a hit during the Gather Quilt Sew Along, and you can use it for Voyage as well! This ruler allows you to trim your HSTs before pressing, and to trim your dog ears and edges at the same time.
- Optional: Nesting seams can be tricky, and Suzy has found a tool to help. These fork pins help hold your seams in place as you sew. Read all about them in this post - Fork Pins: The Best Way to Match Seams Perfectly
- Optional The tailor’s clapper is a Suzy Quilts favorite! If you want help keeping your seams extra flat, we can recommend purchasing a clapper from Voyage Quilt Sew Along sponsor Modern American Vintage, co-sponsor of week 3.
Quilt Book of the Week
If there’s one thing I love as much as quilting, it’s reading. I love curling up under a quilt I made to read! As a historian by training, I read a lot of history and non-fiction books, including books about quilt and textile history.
Each week during the Voyage Quilt Sew Along, I’ll be sharing a book that I like which fits well with that week’s theme. Some will be about quilts specifically, and some will be about topics related to quilting. One week I’ll even be recommending a children’s book!
This week, I’m excited to recommend a beautiful and fascinating book called The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair. In this color-coded book, St. Clair shares the hidden histories of 75 different colors. You’ll also learn about the ways that color is seen and perceived, which is very helpful to understand for choosing quilt fabrics!
Each color has a short 2-4 page history that makes The Secret Lives of Color fun and easy to digest. Written more like an encyclopedia, you could skip around and just read about your favorite colors, or the colors you choose for your Voyage quilt!
Week 1 Sponsors & Prizes
The first week of the Voyage Quilt Sew Along is co-sponsored - that means one lucky quilter will win two prizes!
Our first sponsor is one of our very favorite online fabric shops, Cottoneer, which has a lush collections of fabrics, including prints, solids, and gorgeous textured fabrics. Cottoneer is giving away a $50 gift card.
Our co-sponsor is Noodle and Bee, a new small business that makes adorable quilt themed t-shirts. My best friend recently gave me Noodle and Bee's "Quilty Mama" shirt, and it's one of my favorite tees because it's so soft. Noodle and Bee is giving away a quilt themed t-shirt of your choice.
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 #VoyageQuiltSA in the caption. Make sure to use the correct hashtag! Remember that the quilt is called the Voyage Quilt, not the Voyager Quilt.
- 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. Central Time on Wednesday, March 31 and 1:00 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
- This prize is open in the US only.
- The winner will be picked randomly from all qualifying posts and announced at approximately 4:00 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.
26 thoughts on “Voyage Quilt Sew Along Week 1: Pick Your Fabric”
Thanks Laura, I’m excited for what new ideas you’ll bring to this SewAlong.
With love and very best wishes to Suzy and the Quilts Family for a wonderful birth experience. Enjoy this very special time together. Xx
Thanks so much, Robyn! I’m so happy to be on this quilting voyage with you 🙂
Is there a coupon code to purchase the Voyage Quilt Pattern for the QA?
Not at this time 😉
I downloaded the audible version of The Secret Lives of Colour soon after I watched the IG Live last night. I am already loving Kassia St. Clair’s melodic narration of her own book. Just like how you said, this is a non-fiction, so I don’t have to listen to the book in a chronological order. I can jump to whichever colour I am interested in learning.
That’s so neat, Anita! I might just have to download it so I can hear Kassia St. Clair’s voice after this wonderful description!
Just an FYI – the link for the clearly perfect slotted trimmer brings you back to this blog post- not to the trimmer.
Thanks so much for letting us know Jenny, it’s fixed now!
Thanks for a great start to the sew along. Can you explain what a woven is and how it differs from a quilting cotton? Thanks!
Sure, great question! Wovens are different from printed quilting cotton that you see most often at quilt shops. In a printed quilting cotton or standard weight solid, the fabric is made using a tight plain weave (the standard over/under/over/under pattern we all learn as kids). To make solids, the fabric is dyed, and to make printed quilting cotton, ink or dye is applied to a neutral base. With woven fabrics, the design is in the texture. Often wovens deviate from the standard over/under/over/under weaving pattern to make interesting designs, like you can see in several of my blue choices. Instead of dots being printed onto the fabric, they are woven into it.
Wovens are often made using a looser weave than printed or solid quilting cotton, and that gives them a little more natural stretch and movement than quilting cotton. That’s the big reason that it’s an advanced tip to try using them – it can take a while to get used to working with naturally stretchy fabrics, and it takes more prep work like pre-washing (note: don’t pre-wash fat quarters for the Voyage pattern!) and starching them. But I’m a sucker for texture, so it’s worth the extra effort for me! Hope that helps, Nancy 🙂
Excited for this sew along! Laura- just wanted to let you know that the link above for the slotted trimmer doesn’t work.
I just fixed the link 🙂
I’m obsessed with all the speckled. I love that that was your focus print. Genius 🥰
That whole line is incredible! I’ll be using the pale blue speckled as my backing fabric too, I just love it.
I’d like to use one directional print in my Voyage so I’ll be watching for your tips on that!
Thank you both for remaining so engaged with your followers. I know that takes a lot of time and effort, but I so appreciate your likes, comments, and answers. Laura, I looked up Tara Faughnan’s work, and what she does with color is amazing–thank you for sharing. Suzy, best of look with the arrival of baby #2….we will miss you during the sew-along, but you’ve left us in good hands!
Thanks for the kind words, Carmen! It’s much appreciated on our end!
I’ll be following along this Sew Along although not sewing with you 😒 I bought the Voyage pattern as soon as it came out; I am obsessed with how gorgeous it is! And I have my fabric; it’s just that my hubby and I am building our house and the weather has turned perfect so I have to be “working” instead of “playing” / sewing. I look forward to each week’s tips and I’ll use them when I can get back to sewing again! Thanks!!
Well, that sounds like an excellent reason to delay the sew along! These blog posts will always be here, so you can start any time from you new house!
I have Secret lives of Colour waiting on my kindle to read! It’s moved up my reading list now, thanks Laura. Also thank you for sharing Tara Faughnan! I think I need to take one of her classes.
I hope you love the book, it’s so interesting!
From Pattern:Fig. 13 shows what the blocks in quilt row a will look like for the Baby, Throw, and Twin sizes. Parts A and B use Color 1, Parts C and D use Color 2, and Part E uses Color 3. Press the seams in parts B and D in the opposition direction of parts A, C, and E so your seams will nest when sewn together.
——So should the pressing directions for the C2 block be opposite of C1 block?
If all the blocks seams are pressed the same I am not able to sew and nest the C1 & C2 blocks
together neatly? Please advise
I’m going to be honest with you, there are a lot of seams in this quilt. 😉 Ideally you would press your seams so that they all nest well with their neighboring seams, but that can be a lot to think about. If you can remember to press the blocks in the opposite direction in every other block, yes, that would allow you to nest them perfectly. When sewing these blocks into rows, I recommend pressing the seams open to alleviate extra bulk.
I’m not prewashing my fat quarters. But I was going to prewash the background face since it is more yardage. But then I was wondering if I should also not prewash the background fabric? So they don’t shrink at different times.
I’m not prewashing my fat quarters. But I was going to prewash the background fabric since it is more yardage. But then I was wondering if I should not prewash the background fabric? So they don’t shrink at different times.