Participating in a quilt along is a great way to build a community of fellow quilters as you work together on the same project. Hancock's of Paducah is a sponsor for the upcoming Quilt Concert 2022, and pattern designers Lovingly Lissa and Cassandra Beaver wrote this article to give some tips on how to make a quilt along (or QAL as it's commonly abbreviated online) successful. At the bottom of the post, you'll find information about their upcoming quilt along. There will be two opportunities for participants to win gift certificates to our store.
Have you participated in a quilt along?
Quilt alongs take a big project and break it down into manageable components so you can complete a quilt using a series of small goals. Many quilt alongs take the process further by adding community and learning opportunities. Some even offer a chance to win awesome prizes when you participate!
If you have ever joined in on a Block of the Month, you are already an experienced quilt along-er, but there are a lot more options out there to match your style of quilting!
Today we are sharing our top five ways to make the most of your participation in a quilt along:
1. Discover your quilt along style
2. Find a quilt along to match your style
3. Know the timeline
4. Create a plan
5. Participate in the community
["Seasons of Love: Halloween" by Cassandra]
Discover YOUR Quilt Along Style!
What would you like to get out of participating in a quilt along?
Some quilters love a quilt along because it helps them to break a project into manageable sections. Other quilters hope to learn or improve their quilting skills. The sense of community draws even more people. Most people find that they may try their first quilt along with one of these in mind, but they come back for more quilt alongs because all of these aspects combine for a terrific experience.
Quilt alongs come in many different forms. A few of the most common include:
A designer, fabric company, shop, or even a fellow quilter has a pattern that they want to share, and they decide to create a quilt along! Block of the month programs often fall into this category.
In this format a pattern is broken down segment by segment to create a series of easily completed tasks making a big project much less overwhelming. Regularly scheduled check-ins (sometimes with prizes!) can help you stay on track.
The set up of a mystery quilt along is usually similar to the pattern based quilt along. A new set of directions is sent out each day/week/month that builds on previous instructions. While you know what the final quilt looks like with a pattern based quilt along, the mystery quilt keeps you guessing throughout the project until the final set of instructions.
Often a more casual style of quilt along, the technique based quilt along gathers people together to provide community and support for each other as they work through similar, but not identical projects. Topics could include hand sewing, English Paper Piecing, embroidery, foundation paper piecing, etc.
Since participants are all working on projects of different types, this type of quilt along may be time based (such as one month, six months, 100 days, one year). Most of these sew alongs still have check in days for participants to share their progress.
Find a Quilt Along
Social media is a great way to find a quilt along! Search the hashtag #quiltalong and check out the recent results. You will find tons of posts from hosts, sponsors, and current quilt along participants. Some sew alongs are coming soon and others may have already started. Subscribe to the newsletters of your favorite quilt pattern designers and quilt shops. Follow them on social media so you will be among the first to know about upcoming quilt alongs.
Know the Timeline
Some quilt alongs run for a few weeks and others can be a year or more. Short quilt alongs tend to have more frequent check-ins and a faster overall pace. Longer quilt alongs may allow for a more leisurely quilting style.
Regardless of the time frame of the overall time frame, know the key dates of the quilt-along in order to stay on track. This includes knowing which day of the week or month instructions are released and when check-ins and community and educational opportunities occur.
Tip: If you are in a quilt along that only has instructions available for a limited time, add the release days to your calendar so you don't miss out! Then join the host's newsletter for an extra reminder!
Create a Plan
Now that you know the timeline, how do you plan to fit it in your schedule? Because the overall design is broken down into manageable segments, you can add this project into your sewing time.
But what happens if you are busy during part of the quilt along? Or you go on vacation? Or there is a freak week-long power outage? Knowing how you will handle each situation before it happens makes it much easier to get back on track something goes awry.
There are generally two options to get back on track: work ahead or catch up later.
Working ahead tends to be a great option for quilt alongs that you have the pattern ahead of time. You can do the work and take photos as you go, but wait until the check in dates to post your progress on social media.
Many free quilt alongs only have the instructions available for a short period of time. If this is the case, make time to download the instructions! Even if you can't get to the actual sewing part one week, at least you are ready to catch up later. Some free events also offer an option to purchase the pattern. If this option is available, you can work ahead or catch up even if you miss downloading a part of the instructions.
Participate in the Community
Quilt alongs are made for sharing! Most quilt alongs have opportunities to engage with other members of the community. Here are some common ways to participate:
• Follow the hashtag(s) on social media, comment on other participants projects, and post your own projects using the hashtag.
• Join a Facebook group if there is one for your quilt along. See other people's projects, comment, and get advice.
• Participate in meet-ups. If your quilt along offers virtual meet-ups, attend to meet your hosts, other participants, ask questions, and socialize as you sew.
• Check out any additional resources the host provides. Many hosts will share there favorite tips and tricks during a quilt alongs.
• Look out for prizes! Many quilt alongs offer prizes along the way. While we would never suggest joining a quilt along just for the prizes, it can be a fun way to motivate yourself to stay on track. Read and follow all of the rules for giveaways/prizes carefully and you might receive something awesome!
["Seasons of Love: Valentines" by Lissa]
Are you ready to join a Quilt Along?
Here's a great opportunity to try it out! Quilt Concert 2022: Seasons of Love is starting soon!
The Quilt Concert is designed to appeal to both Traditional and Modern Quilters, bringing these communities together. Your fabric selection will determine the ultimate style of your quilt!
Why a concert?Concert -- to make a concerted effort, work together. Thats what Lissa and Cassandra do to bring this quilt along to you!
Starting on Friday, June 3, 2022 a portion of the pattern is released. It is free Friday through Sunday, and then it switches to a paid format.
There are lots of amazing sponsors, including Hancock's of Paducah, offering great prizes. If you post your progress by the following Thursday (and follow the rules!) you have the chance to win!
On Friday nights, Lissa and Cassandra host Pajama Jam Zoom session where we meet, chat, sew, and sometimes play games (with more prizes!)
The fabric requirements are available now so you can be ready to go on June 3rd!
Would you like to get a head start? The full, downloadable, PDF pattern is available for purchase from Cassandra and Lissa. Use the code HANCOCKS22 to get 20% off your pattern now through August 31, 2022.