Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Against the Grain Quilt Along - Fabric Prep

 One of my favorite things about a quilt along is picking out fabrics. It's also the most difficult!

For Against the Grain you will only need three fabrics, though you could go with just two if you would like. What I love about Against the Grain is that it really does work well with so many color combinations. In this Fabric Prep post we will talk fabric combos, but we will also talk about how to prep your fabric for a quilt along. Have I mentioned this is my favorite part of a quilt along? Let's get started!

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For this quilt along I have chosen to make a quilt for my husband. I have never made one for him and it's probably time. I've chosen to go with light grey for the background, dark grey for main signature blocks and my splash color will be yellow. He is colorblind and yellow is the only color he truly "sees" so I think it's fitting that it is the pop of color for his quilt.

                                                            Aquarius Batiks Seamist Big Tropical

When choosing colors for a three color quilt I tend to go the safe route and choose a neutral and two coordinating colors. While the above fabric is gorgeous, I don't recommend large prints for this pattern as it becomes busy and your eye doesn't have a place to "rest."

Bella Solids Bluebell

If I am stepping out of my comfort zone I will use a "color" as my neutral. This tends to be a light blue or green for me, but recently I was drawn to a light orange for a background color.

Whether you choose to make this for an infant, toddle, child, tween, teen, young adult (hello school colors and graduation!) or adult, the color combination you choose will make it uniquely theirs. See below for the fabric requirements.

You've chosen your fabrics, now what? It's time to get them ready for cutting.

Washing fabric before hand is always a topic that creates discussion. I feel it is truly up the the individual. Everyone has their reasons to wash or not to wash, and it comes from their experiences. For those who would like to know, I don't prewash. I've even stopped washing flannel *IF* I know all of th flannel I'm using has not been washed. If I think it may have been washed then I wash it all to keep the shrinkage the same. Whether you wash or not, pressing the fabric is the next important step.

Best Press

I starch every piece of fabric before I cut. I like the added accuracy it gives me when cutting and stitching. I use Best Press because that's easiest for me. I also use a spray mister. I love my mister. It gives me more control on how much starch I am using and where it's going.  With the mister I no longer over use the starch and I've had the same gallon of starch for 2 years now, and like I said, I starch everything. Don't use the starch on pieces you have already cut and/or stitched. Starch tightens up the threads and can change the size of the unit you just worked so hard to piece accurately.

I recommend using a hot, dry iron for pressing. If you have creases that are tough to get out, spritz them with a bit of water, press, then starch and press again. I don't like to use steam, especially on units and blocks that have already been pieced, because it can distort the pieces.

Once you have starched your fabrics and they have cooled, you can go ahead and fold them and get them ready for the next step. If they end up sitting for a few days, or even a few weeks, just hit them with a hot, dry iron again. No need to use more starch, it's already in the fabric and it will press neatly without much effort.

Once you have your fabric prepped, take a look at your bobbins. If you are running low on full bobbins take a few minutes and fill them now. You will love having full bobbins while you stitch and stitch and stitch! I usually have 10 - 20 filled at one time. When I run out of top thread, I will take some time to wind bobbins again, so I never have to stop and wind bobbins while I'm piecing because I ran out. I piece everything using grey polyester thread and I love my Bobbinsaver for holding my bobbins. 

Next, check your rotary blade. When was the last time you changed it? There is nothing more frustrating than trying to cut fabric with a dull blade and having to go over the cuts again and again. Change it out before you get frustrated! I bought these over 2 years ago and still haven't had to buy another set.

Last, clean your machine! Grab that craft pipe cleaner and give a good cleaning. Change out that needle that has been thumping through your fabric for months now and start your quilt along with a happy little machine.

Now we are ready for the Against the Grain Quilt Along! Come back March 10th to get started and for cutting tips.

Haven't picked up your pattern yet? No problem, you can find them here:

Printed - Etsy

PDF - Etsy

PDF - Payhip

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