Not long to go now and we’ll be starting on our fabulous creative adventure, #100Days100Blocks2018. I’ve been getting lots of questions about how to make the most of this event and so I thought I’d take the time today to share some information that you might find helpful. If there’s anything not covered remember to check out the event details and FAQs. If it’s still not covered there, then shoot me an email or leave a comment and we’ll get it sorted.
Preparation for the Event
Lots of people are pre-cutting and pre-sewing for the event. You don’t have to do that, you can do as much or as little as you like. Here’s how I prepare for the event.
- Get all my fabrics together in one spot. I like to be able to just work from the one box so I store the fabrics in an under bad plastic storage tub while I work. These are great because they’re the right height for FQs and then have a lid which means they stack if you have more than one and they keep things neat. Another alternative is to use the plastic shoe boxes (same principle, just smaller.)
- I use the Riley Blake Bee in My Bonnet Design Boards by Lori Holt (18″ x 18″) to help keeping my pieces in order while I work. They have the added benefit of helping me keep my order right for block assembly. If you don’t want to pay for these, there is a free tutorial on how to make these found here.
- I use Flatter by Soak for a starch while I iron my fabrics – it helps keeps them crisp and from not warping while I work with them.
- I haven’t done it with this book (I did it with my Farmer’s Wife 1930’s book) but you could have the book spiral bound, this makes it easier to keep them flat while you work. However a recipe stand also works a treat for keeping your book open while you work.
Here’s some things I’ve seen others do:
- Pre-cut the blocks and bag them up. You can use either brown paper bags (my favourite as they’re better for the environment) or plastic click bags. I’ve seen some people cut the blocks and use paper plates as a way to store and stack them.
- If you know you’re going to be busy or away, you can pre-sew blocks. I’m a big fan of this as it can help remove some of the pressure and stress.
Helpful Tools + Books
The blocks are super simple (which makes them great for beginners) but if you’re looking for something to help you keep them square and accurate then I use and recommend the following tools:
- Bloc-loc Rulers: These rules are used to hold and straighten your half square triangle and flying geese while while you trim them to size. They’re brilliant tools and I’m a big believer of making blocks larger and then trimming them to size to help with accuracy.
- Marti Michell Patchwork Templates and Rulers: Marti has put together the following information to help you get together tools you might need.
- 6-1/2” Squaring –Up Ruler, Product #8973 – The perfect truing-up ruler for this quilt. Every block in the sew along should be 6-1/2”, including seam allowance, when finished.
- 3” x 18” My Favorite Ruler, Product #8972 – It is so much more convenient than your 6” x 24” ruler when making small units.
- Multi-Size Square Fussy Cutter, Product #8297 – 5 finished size squares, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 inches in one ruler because Tula’s fabrics beg to be fussy cut!
- For the blocks with half square triangles and flying geese: Our basic template sets A, B, and N contain most of the squares and half-square triangles used in the book. Because our templates are designed to be usable for many patchwork designs, both traditional and modern, we named the sets alphabetically in the order in which they were introduced instead of limiting your imagination with block-specific names. Click here for Basic Template Set A, Basic Template Set B and Basic Template Set N.
- “More Bang for the Buck!” Product # 8352 was written to help you adapt our templates to other quilt patterns and design your own quilts.
- If you choose to ruler-cut the right triangles instead of using templates, we suggest our Product #8064 Corner Trimmer. You can trim off the corner on any size right triangle to duplicate our engineered corners as well as confirm that your diagonal cut was accurate.
I highly recommend investing in the “More Bang for the Buck!” booklet if you purchase template sets as it gives you all the information you need to be able to use the templates with other quilt patterns (and even design your own). I use the book all the time to work out which templates can be used to make blocks I am working with.
- Books: Here’s some of the books I recommend for those needing a little more support:
- Fussy Cutters Club by Angie Wilson – this is my book (yay!) and I recommend it for those of you looking for some support to pick fabrics, use tools (like Marti Michell’s templates and rulers) to fussy cut and how to make the most of your stash. You can find out more about it by clicking here.
- Piecing Makeover by Patty Murphy – a great book for those of you looking for assistance with accurate cutting, piecing and sewing.
If you’d like to see what else I recommend you can check out my Amazon page by clicking here.
Block Photography Tips
The biggest thing about participating in an event that’s hosted on a social media platform is getting the photography right. I’m not talking about taking photo’s to rival Annie Leibovitz, I’m talking about taking photos that clearly show your blocks and helps you to engage with the community. You don’t need expensive equipment! Seriously, in this day and age your phone will take photos that are perfect. You just need to be mindful of a couple of key things (that aren’t that complicated so don’t panic!). Here’s my top tips for helping you to get photos you’ll be proud of:
- Lighting: This is the most important thing for good photos. You don’t need a light box or studio lighting, you just need some bright indirect light – think light coming in from the window so it’s diffused a little. Not out in direct sunlight in the middle of the day as it may cause your photo to be too overexposed. Here’s two articles that should help you understand lighting for photos if you want more details: 10 Tips for taking the Best iPhone Photos in Different Lights (I know this is for the iPhone, but the principles are the same for all phone cameras) and The Top 10 Photography Lighting Tips You Should Know.
- Iron Your Blocks: Seriously, don’t underestimate how much of a different to the appearance of your blocks ironing them when you’re done makes. It takes 2 minutes to do and makes your blocks look a million dollars. So many times during these events I see great blocks that look shocking because they haven’t been ironed. Iron.your.blocks.
- Trim Loose Threads: Another action that takes 2 minutes but makes a massive difference. Use a sharp rotary cutter to run around the outside of your block. Do not trim your block fabrics, you’re just trimming the threads.
- Get Lint and Threads Off Your Block: Run your eye over the block and check to see if there’s any lint or loose threads on there. Loose threads and lint can be distracting and may cause optical illusions depending on the fabrics you’ve used.
- Think about Styling Your Block Photographs: You don’t have to do this, but a lot of people get a kick out of thinking up new and interesting ways to photograph their blocks. (You won’t be penalised with the prize allocation if you don’t style your photos!) Styling the block photos can add extra personality and interest to your photos and help you convey to your new found audience who you are. I wrote an article about how I colour blocked my Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt blocks back in 2016 to help people think about how to add interest to their block photos and you can find it by clicking here (please note the challenge has now ended and so there’s no prizes, etc.).
Get Amongst It
The greatest thing about the #100Days100Blocks events is meeting new people, finding new accounts to follow and connecting with people. I strongly recommend surfing the hashtag, #100Days100Blocks2018, and connecting with people. It’s super simple to put a like on a photo it’s much more rewarding for you and the other participants if you take the time to leave a positive and uplifting comment on people’s block photos.
For lots of participants this is the first time they’re participating in a sew-along, or they’re new to quilting or they’re afraid of sharing their work with an audience. Help break down those walls and squash those fears by getting out there and leaving positive and uplifting comments on people’s photos. Use this as an opportunity to spread happiness. You never know how much your encouraging comment might mean to someone.
Host Your Own Party
Lots of people love to sew in groups. There’s Guilds and LQS (Local Quilt Shops) that run sit and sew days as part of this event. Look for the details on social media. If you can’t find one, why not start you’re own. They’re super simple to run and people love getting together. Take a leap and be that person that brings others together.
Ask the Questions
If you’ve read the event details and FAQs and you still have questions, let me know. If you’re not sure about fabrics, etc. ask in the community on social media. People love to give their opinions about colour and fabrics (or is that just me??). Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re looking for a specific fabric, ask if you can swap or trade with someone.
I hope you’ve found these tips and tricks helpful. I can’t wait to see everyone’s blocks when the event kicks off on July 7 2018!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a very small commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link, in fact in some cases I can offer you a better price via an affiliate link. I will not recommend something that I do not use myself. These commissions help me keep being able to provide you with great content for free. Thank you, in advance for your support!
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