The Xenia QAL Week 2!



QAL Started: June 1st, but you're welcome to join any time! 

QAL Ends:  in 9 weeks (Aug 3 is the final week)

Materials needed this week:
the Xenia Quilt pattern 
your fabric
Additional supplies:
Starch! I highly suggest ironing & starching your fabric before cutting!
Cardstock, cardboard, or acrylic for the templates 
A brand new, super sharp rotary cutter blade!

How to Participate:
This QAL takes place on Instagram - use the hashtag #theXeniaQAL in the caption for your posts we can all see your photos.

More Information:
This post contains affiliate links.
I'll send out an email every Monday with that week's prompts & information.
I'll also add a blog post here every Monday, too!
There may be more tips & tricks in the emails, though, so don't forget to sign up here!
Don't forget that Patchwork River is offering a discount & an extra donation to the family for every Xenia quilt top sent in before October!! 

Week Two!!

Before you begin, please measure your templates! 
There is a 1" square for measuring as well, but I've been told that some of the templates are not lining up correctly (this is usually for anyone with an A4 printer, but better safe than sorry!) 

I'd love to hear what your favorite tool or notion is this week!  Tell me about it or show it off in your Instagram post this week! <3

This week we are going to make a test block first before jumping in to the cutting.
Your test block can be from scraps (grab an 11x14" piece, or coordinating scraps in the sizes noted in your pattern) or from your quilt fabric if you're confident.  I made three test blocks out of scraps before my first quilt top!

I found that starching before you cut helps since we're working with bias edges & an odd shape.
I use Mary Ellen's Best Press & a wool pressing mat.  They make things sooo flat!

Once you've starched your fabric, measured & cut your templates out, and have a new rotary blade, you're good to go.

I'm a picture person, so I'll be sharing lots of images below with how I found it to work best. 
The images show cutting with a Fat Eighth.  I have used 1/4 yard cuts, Fat Quarters & 1/2 yards before as well. 

Template Cutting - 

You can use regular paper, but be careful you don't accidently trim it while you're cutting.  You can also trace the template onto cardboard, acrylic, or cardstock for a thicker & easier to follow template. 

Repeat trimming each template to size, being careful not to cut off the edges of your template.

If you're using a FQ or 1/2 yard cut, you can cut an extra piece for your HRT from the left overs around your squares (this is true for both the template & FPP cutting)

See how much extra fabric there is on the top?  If you're want to make each HRT slightly oversized & trim it down, I highly suggest cutting from here.
And for Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) it is nice to have some wiggle room.

Your background fabric follows the same templates.  I'm using a print for this one, so I'm following the instructions in the top half of the Background cutting chart. 
Remember that the pattern includes both print & solid, so make sure not to cut both.  You'll have way too many triangles & not enough left over for sashing! :)

Your templates pieces will look a little funny for HRT before sewing.  I have found it's easiest for me to lay them out how they will look, then flip & stitch each one in a row.  Your trimmed template corners will line up, which is why it is important to make sure you didn't accidently cut them off - which I have totally done. Thus the three test blocks ;)

Once they're sewed & pressed, it's time to trim!
I'm a "press to the dark" kind of quilter, but if you prefer to press open, that is absolutely okay!

I'm not sure why this one is sideways, sorry!
There are a few ways to trim once you've got your HRT units sewn.  
Using a ruler is one - this is a new ruler by Southern Charm Quilts that can be found here (not an affiliate link, just a useful tool)
Another way is to use the template on page 7 of your pattern.  Fold on the crease to make sure you're lined up while trimming.

Once your HRT is trimmed, it's time to cut out the small squares & snowball the top of your hearts!

Sew everything together & you've got a heart!  Trim to size, if needed (my top squares did need the slightest trim here) 
If this way made sense, made you happy & you're ready to go, then get to it! Cut up all the rest of your fabric & you're ready for week 3!

If you'd like to try the Foundation Paper Pieced way (referred to as FPP from now on) then print of the templates, measure & cut them & scroll on down for that. 
If you've not tried FPP before, this is a good place to start.

Foundation Paper Piecing - 

Again, your test block can be from scraps (grab an 11x14" piece, or coordinating scraps in the sizes notated in your pattern) or from your quilt fabric if you're confident.
The images show cutting with a Fat Eighth.  I have used 1/4 yard cuts, Fat Quarters & 1/2 yards as well. 

Starch your fabric, measure your FPP templates & let's get to it! 
If you're using F8 cuts, there's not much extra. 
If you're using FQ or 1/2 yards, scroll up to the brown fabric image - you can see there's extra above your squares that you can use if you like having oversized cuts & trimming down.

I've never tried explaining FPP before, so forgive me if it doesn't make much sense.  It takes some getting used to. There's plenty of videos on YouTube that can help if you're visual - or you can try it with scraps & work through it!

FPP is backwards - you put a small piece of glue on the back of your fabric, then stick the template to it, with the top of the template facing you.

This is unglued - just showing how it should be lined up.  I find it helpful to finger press my template on each line for a crisp & easy fold.  
You'll be stitching directly on the line once both pieces of fabric are ready - so when you trim this one, trim 1/4" away from your fold.

I line up my background fabric first, then trim it, so I can be sure that I will not be short.  Once you fold your paper template, it shows you the direction your fabric needs to be going in.  So in this case, I folded my template, lined up the fabric just beyond where the template ended, then trimmed my 1/4" seam allowance.

You can see my trimming here.

Remember - Right Sides Together!  Your template should be on the back of your fabric.

Before you sew, shorten your stitch length - anywhere from 1.2 - 1.8.  It will make the paper easier to tear off without removing any of your stitches.

Stitch down the line, press & trim any extra fabric off before removing your papers.

Tada!! Now you've got a heart.  
If this way made sense, made you happy & you're ready to go, then get to it! Cut up all the rest of your fabric & you're ready for week 3!

If your HRT are not the right size - 

First - check your templates.
Measure them.  If they didn't print right, try reprint it with "no sizing". 
If they're still popping out wrong, please email me with your pattern order number & I'll send just the templates.  For some people (1% of patterns purchased) the templates in the pattern are 1/4" too small once printed, even when the test square is correct & the correct paper size is used.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Second - check your seam allowance.  Try using a scant 1/4" instead.
Third - if you don't want to reprint or if you just can't make it work no matter what, then find your finished size & cut your top squares to match.  


Please remember that I sent out an updated version of the pattern over the weekend (the Big size cutting instructions had incorrect numbers) so double check before cutting.
Thanks for sticking around! That was a lot of information. 

If you're still having trouble or if you have any questions, please reach out to me!

Check out the announcement here
Week one here

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