Sew Lets QAL: Block 11 By the Bolt

Hi! Welcome to Block 11 of the Sew Let’s Quilt Along!

You’ll find the details of the quilt along on the Sew Lets QAL tab above. Here’s the short version: we’re presenting the blocks for this quilt along in segments. To win a prize, make all the blocks from that segment, then upload a photo of them at the end of that segment.

This is Block 11 in the quilt along and the second block in Segment 3. There will be four blocks in this segment, released every two weeks. To enter for the Segment 3 prize, you must finish all four Segment 3 blocks and post a photo of them at the end of Segment 3. The prize winner for Segment 3 will be announced on September 10th. Click here to view the QAL schedule and to learn more about it.

To enter for the Grand Prize at the end of the quilt along, you’ll need to either make a quilt using all 13 blocks in the quilt along, or make one or more projects that together include all the blocks. The quilt along doesn’t end until September 10th, and you’ll have until September 23rd to finish your quilt top and projects. If you are making projects and want to get a head start on them here’s a link to my project suggestions for the Segment 1 blocks and the Segment 2 blocks. I’ll have more project suggestions at the end of Segment 3.

Block 11: By the Bolt

This week’s block is fabric bolts. The designer of Block 11 is Becca @ Pretty Piney Quilts and you can download the pattern there.

I’m not making all the blocks, but I am hosting and providing tips. Here’s my version of Becca’s block from Electric Quilt.

My Tips and Tutorials for Making This Block

Here are my tips for making the By the Bolts block.

Fabric Pull

Becca’s block provides you with a great opportunity to reuse the fabrics you’ve used in the other blocks so far, creating a cohesive look across your quilt or quilt projects.

For my block, I revisited the fabrics I’ve used in other blocks created in Electric Quilt. I would encourage you to do the same, and return to your other blocks and pull your favorite fabrics to put on display in this block.

You can choose anything for your background, shelf, and bolt fabric. I decided to use white for my bolt fabric because I work in a fabric store and that’s the color we often see on bolts.

For the background behind the white bolts, I chose a medium grey so there would be a lot of contrast. You’re going to do a bit of piecing to make those bolts and so be sure to choose a background fabric that contrasts well with the bolt fabric so you see them! Grey also also a good choice for me because it goes well with the fabrics I chose for the bolts.

For the shelf, I chose a medium teal, another color that went with the fabrics I’d chosen for the bolts.

SEW your strip set CAREFULLY

To make the bolts at the top of the block, you’ll make strip sets. With strip sets, you sew long strips of fabric together then subcut the strip set into smaller units that you’ll later sew into the block.

To succeed with strip sets, you should starch your fabrics well before cutting them. I like to use Best Press for starch, and my new wool pressing mat for precise pressing. (I spray Best Press on my fabrics off the wool mat in order to keep it clean.)

After you sew your strip set, check that it’s width is roughly 3”. In this case your strip set does not need to be perfect. Let me explain.

If you have trouble with precise piecing, a simple way to ensure you sew your strip set to the right size is to sew slightly larger strips to the sides, and then to trim the set after sewing. Becca’s pattern uses this exact technique so you don’t need to sew a precise strip set. Instead, in Step 2 after creating the strip set you trim off 1” units from the set. In Step 3, you take each of these 1” x roughly 3” units and trim their width to the size needed.

The largest size unit needed is 1” x 2-1/2” so your strip set will certainly be at least that size. I love how easy Becca’s made it for you!

check units as you go

This is a simple block and should go together easily, but it does have a lot of pieces. Regardless, I find that it’s a good habit to always check the size of your block units as you go so you can resew them if needed.

So, as you sew the top to each bolt of fabric and press, make sure each bolt unit measures 10-1/2” long.

After you sew all the bolt units together, that unit should measure 12-1/2” wide by 10-1/2”.

Trim Your Block

Assemble your block, press well, and trim to it’s final size—12-1/2”.

Thanks for the Tips! Where do I get the pattern?

Drop by Becca’s blog to download your free By the Bolts block pattern. Hurry! The pattern is only available for free until September 21st.

Here are the hosts for Segment 3. Drop by their blogs to view their versions of this block and to read their tips for making it.

Abbie @ Sparkle On
April @ JANDA Bend Quilts
Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting
Jennifer @ Inquiring Quilter (that’s me!)
Kathleen @ Kathleen McMusing
Karen @ Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats
Sherry @ Powered by Quilting
Becca @ Pretty Piney Quilts
Sandy @ SandyStar Designs

How Do I Enter the Giveaway?

First, you must be 18 years old to enter.

Unlike previous quilt alongs, you only need to make the blocks to enter the segment giveaways. Here’s how it works: First, make all the blocks in Segment 3 (there will be four blocks—this one is the second block in Segment 3). Then at the end of Segment 3, post a photo of all blocks in that Segment to enter the giveaway. If you want to see the schedule for the quilt along and the list of block designers, click here.

When it’s time, you’ll post a single photo of all the blocks in Segment 3 to one of the following places to enter the Segment giveaway:

  • On Instagram, with the hashtag #sewletsqal

  • In our private Facebook group

  • To the linky on any of the host’s blogs

Remember, you don’t have to get the blocks done until it’s time to post a photo of all the blocks in Segment 3 and enter our Segment Prize giveaway. Personally though I’d make the blocks when they come out so you don’t fall behind.

Here’s what you might win by making all the Segment 3 blocks:

Plus you’ll receive a free PDF pattern of your choice for each of these Partners in Design:

Plus this free PDF pattern from April!

Again to enter for the Segment 3 Prize Giveaway, you need only make the four blocks in the segment. Later, to enter our Grand Prize Giveaway at the end of the quilt along you’ll need to use all 13 blocks to make a quilt or a series of projects. For ideas on projects you might make with your blocks visit my Segment 1 Projects post and my Segment 2 Projects post.

Thanks for stopping by! The next block will be released August 13th. We’ll also be presenting more project suggestions at the end of this segment for those of you not making a quilt with our blocks. Don’t miss it!

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