Welcome to Week 2!!
Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway and used the hashtag #gatewayqal2021 and congratulations to @sara.rose.sews – the lucky winner of the Artisan Cotton FQ bundle from Windham Fabrics! We can’t wait to see what she does with it!
Despite the technical difficulties (again!) on both FB Live and IG Live, we had a record amount of live viewer on both. We pinky-swear we’ll have it figured out this week! So be sure to join us this Wednesday and bring your sewing questions! We’ll be happy to answer anything you need clarification on. We want this to be fun for you while you’re creating your quilt.
By now, you “should” have all your blocks cut, but this really is an artificial deadline. Life takes precedence, so if you’re not there yet, your fabric will wait patiently until you can get back to it! We’re just glad you’re here and have allowed us to be part of your quilting life!
Let’s get going with Week Two!
The Sewing Begins!
Week 2 is when we start sewing the blocks. A few things to keep in mind…
1. As always when you start a new project, it’s a good idea to do a little machine maintenance if you haven’t done it in a while. Also treat her to a new needle while you’re at it!
2. If you still have questions about cutting directional fabric, Trisch made a short video about how to handle a bunch of situations surrounding directional fabric and fussy cutting. It’s good information to know for other projects you’ll make in the future! View it here.
3. If you’re doing the bonus pattern – Happy Scrappy baby quilt – make sure you have your squares in a comfortable place to the side of your machine. This makes them easy to grab and sew leader-and-ender style when you’re sewing the Gateway blocks.
The Happy Scrappy pattern is available for free download either by using the QR code in your pattern or clicking here.
This week and next week are for sewing blocks, so make a plan on how many you want to sew each week. Splitting them in two makes a good goal, but do whatever works for you.
The first step is to determine which background goes with which arch. This is a fun part – you can be super controlled or randomly scrappy! You might want to plan out each block ahead of time, or you might want to let fate determine your pairings. Either way is fun and remember: if you liked your pull, you’ll like the finished quilt!
There are only two seams in each block so sewing goes relatively fast, especially after you get the curved sewing part down. Muscle memory will kick in and you’ll fly through them!
Something important to note: When sewing, the important parts are the beginning and ending of each seam – that’s where you need to concentrate most. You want a 1/4″ seam allowance at the bottom of the arch so they will join together perfectly and you want the seams at the top of the arches offset 1/4″ so they press open correctly. The pink vinyl strip that came with your template set helps with this. There’s more on how to use this in this week’s video, below.
Don’t forget to use your small squares for Happy Scrappy to sew off onto after each chain-pieced string of blocks. Building a second quilt as you’re making the main one is very satisfying!
Pressing: As noted in the video, there are multiple ways to press this block depending on how you like to piece.
Option 1. Press both seams TOWARD the arch. This will alleviate bulk at the 1/4″ seam allowance on the bottom of the arch, but it also means you have to pin to get the blocks to join perfectly. If you are comfortable pinning, this would be no problem. It also makes the arch seem more like appliqué, “lifting” it slightly from the background. (This is what’s recommended in the pattern.)
Option 2. Press the first seam TOWARD the arch and the second seam AWAY from the arch. This gives you opposing seams so when you join the blocks, you’ll have the exact placement aligned automatically. But, you’ll have more bulk to contend with on the seam allowance on the left side of the bottom of arch.
Pick a way to press that suits you and be consistent throughout.
Week 3 is a continuation of sewing to allow for those who work or are homeschooling – or just those who have busy lives – a chance to keep up. But don’t worry, if you’re plugging along fast, we’ll have some things for you to do next week to keep you going too!
Week 2 Video
Click here to see the week two video. We step you through aligning the backgrounds to the arches and sewing the seams, cutting off the triangle at the top of the first background, and finishing the block. We also talk about leaders and enders and pressing.
While you’re on YouTube watching, make sure to hit subscribe to get announcements when our videos go live.
Our QAL Progress
Jenifer’s Version: I’m doing mine fairly controlled – half my fabrics are prints and half are coordinating solids so I’m doing half with print arches/solid background and half with solid arches/print background. This is also how the original Gateway is done. I like the calmness the solids bring to the craziness of the prints.
I have all my arches and backgrounds stacked in two piles – solids and prints. Then I more or less randomly match them together about 5-6 at a time. Sometimes I edit the pair if it really doesn’t look as good together as I want, but mostly it’s a random process.
Then I chain piece them in the small groups. I need instant gratification and sewing them in small groups gives me that! After sewing I set them aside and start the process over. When I get enough sewn – maybe half – I’ll start arranging on the design wall. I don’t want to start that process too soon to save a lot of rearranging later – but it’s hard to wait!
In case you’re wondering, I am making my throw-size Gateway with Malibu by Heather Ross and Ruby + Bee Solids from Windham Fabrics.
Trisch’s Version: As you may recall, I just recieved my fabric about 10 days ago and I’m sticking with that excuse! I have all of my cutting done with a little set aside since I still haven’t decided exactly how large I am going to make this. I’m going completely random – well, mostly. I will try to avoid having one block with two of my Ruby Star basics prints and I am going to avoid pairing the same colors together; I have to have some control! This week is going to be pretty busy for me, so I will probably be doing most of my stitching next week!
How to Enter the Week 2 Giveaway
For the Week Two giveaway, post a photo of your cutting so far – even if it’s just one block – and tell when your favorite time of day to sew is. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #Gatewayqal2021 so we can all see!
The drawing will be Wednesday, January 20. We’ll draw a random winner during the Facebook Live session at 10 a.m. central. Two lucky quilters will win a fat quarter bundle. Winners will be notified by email or direct message.
Weekly Live Q&A
Each week we host a live Q&A Session on both Facebook (10 a.m. CST/15:00 UTC) and Instagram (7 p.m. CST/Midnight UTC) if you need just a little more help or clarification on anything at all – or maybe you just want to spend some time with like-minded quilters. You can submit questions ahead of time here or post them during the live session.
It is important that you follow us on FB and/or IG to see these events. If you haven’t done so, here are the links:
We hope to see you then!