Monday, January 14, 2019

Hand Pieced QAL - Frequently Asked Questions

We've been getting lots of great questions about the Hand Pieced QAL and thought it would be helpful to gather them together in one place.  (I'll keep adding to this post as more questions come up.)

Need to get caught up?  Review the Hand Pieced QAL Kickoff and Reveal post.

Is there a charge to participate?
No. This is a completely free quilt along to spread the love of hand piecing.
How do I “join”?
Basically, just start sewing!  Tutorials will be posted each Monday with the instructions for a block. Consider signing up for the QAL newsletter and subscribing to our blogs - Elm Street Quilts and Simple Handmade Everyday - as a way to keep up to date on the QAL.  You can interact with other QAL participants by joining the Hand Pieced QAL Facebook group and visiting others through the weekly link-up.  (More on that later.)
When do we start making blocks?
The first tutorial will be on Monday, January 21, 2019.
Will you give instructions for all the blocks at one time?
We will post instructions for each block, once a week on Mondays, starting on January 21, 2019.  
 I've never hand pieced before. Is it ok to be a beginner?
Yes!  Our primary goal of the QAL is to introduce fellow quilters to the fun of hand piecing.  The basic blocks will come first and the skills used to sew a 4-patch, for example, will be used each week to construct the actual block.   There will be videos along the way too.  We've already published some basic tutorials that you can practice with right now - marking stitching lines, running stitch, and dealing with seams.
Are there tools or notions I should buy? 
You likely have everything you will need.  To see our favorite sewing notions, check out this post of Patty's and of Kristin's.
How much fabric do I need?
Fabric requirements are available as well as coloring pages you can download!

I love each of the quilts you made. Do we have to use the same number of fabrics and colors as one your quilts?
Absolutely not! Color choices are completely your own. Have fun with it!

Do I have to make the blocks the same way as you did?
The blocks need to be “visually” the same as the block posted, but you can use different construction methods to make the sub-units. For instance, if you would rather make a flying geese unit with two half square triangles, that’s fine.  
But does “visually” mean I have to color my blocks the same way?
No, you can vary your fabric placement as way that you would like.  Go completely scrappy. Make the quilt with just 1 color and a background fabric
What kind of changes can I make to my quilt?
It’s your quilt! Do whatever makes you happy! The only requirements to be eligible to win a weekly prize is that the blocks must be the same as a block from the QAL plus the block and the quilt top must be hand pieced. To win be eligible to win the grand prize, you need to have a completed quilt top with at least 5 QAL blocks.
Do I have to make all nine of the blocks?
No. Do as many as you would like and enter them in the link-up as you go. To be eligible to win the grand prize, you need to have a completed quilt top with at least 5 blocks.
 What if I want to substitute your 4 patch block with a 9-patch block in order to better use my fabric?
To enter the weekly giveaway, your block will need to visually match our block - which means no, you can't change it to a 9 patch if you want to enter that block in the giveaway.
However, it is your quilt and we want you to really like your quilt when you are done.  Make the substitution you want and just don't enter that block into a weekly giveaway.  There are 9 weekly giveaways so plenty of other chances to win. Just remember, to enter the grand prize giveaway, you will need to have 5 QAL blocks in your quilt top.

Will you give directions for blocks of different sizes?
No.  The directions and tutorials will be for 6'' finished (6 1/2 '' unfinished) blocks.  You are welcome to make them a different size but will have to do the math yourself.
I'm unsure of which layout I am going to choose.  Any advice?
You don’t need to decide now - just make sure you have ample supply of background fabric so you can play with layout options once your blocks are done. Block assembly is the same and the sashing is the same for both layouts. See fabric requirements for the requirements.
I love each of your quilt layouts but I think I want to do something different.  Is that going to be ok? 
Yes!  This is your quilt so please set the blocks in a layout that you want.  The only requirement for entering the grand prize drawing is that at least 5 of the blocks from the QAL are in a quilt top.  Just make sure you have the additional background fabric for your fantastic layout.  We can't wait to see it! 
What happens if I don't make all the blocks?
You can make as many or as few blocks as you want.  For a chance to win one of the wonderful sponsor prizes, enter the blocks into a weekly link-up.  If you don’t get the quilt top done during the QAL, don’t worry about it. We hope the QAL will spark an interest in hand piecing and you’ll get the quilt done in the future.
What happens if I am away and can’t make a block in a specific week?
Make the block when you can and enter it into the next weekly link-up.  There will always be a link-up open and you can enter any block into any weekly link-up.  For example, the very first block is going to be the 4-patch.  If you don’t get the block done - or maybe lose it in your sewing room - you can enter it into the link-up on week 5 or week 7. We know everyone is busy, so we’ve tried to make this easy as we can for you to catch up and still be in a drawing for prizes.  
Will there be instructions on how to quilt the finished quilt top?
No.  We will be only provide instructions and tutorials on how to make the blocks and assemble the quilt top.  We will certainly share how we are quilting our versions. and we’d encourage everyone to share their ideas for inspiration as well.
Do our quilt tops need to be finished for the grand prize link-up?
You will need to have just a quilt top - i.e. flimsy - with at least 5 blocks sewn together.  You do not need to have created an actual quilt - i.e. with batting, quilting etc.

How do I enter to win prizes?
There will be a weekly link up.
I’ve never done a link-up before.  What do I need to know?
You will need three basic things - a photo of your block a computer, and a place to share your photo - a blog, Instagram, Pinterest or Flickr.  We’ve written a step by step tutorial . 
Can I post my block photo in our facebook group and link-up from there?  
No, you can not.  Photos have to be shared in a place that is publically available to everyone for the link-up to work correctly.  Our Facebook group is private.
Can I just use my phone instead of a computer to join the link-up?
You really need a computer.  While it is possible with a phone, it can be tricky.
I’ve read the tutorial and I am still confused.  How can I enter the weekly link-up?
You can enter via email.   Send an email to and include your photo.  In the subject line write the block name and number.  Your photo won’t show up in a place that others can see but it will be entered into the drawing.
How will I know whether I won a prize?
We will send you an email!  And we’ll give you 72 hours to get back with us confirming that you are interested in the prize.  If we don’t hear back from you, we will choose someone else.  Our sponsors are awesome so don't miss that email!

For more information on the QAL including catching up with any tutorials you've missed, please visit the main event page - Hand Pieced QAL.   

You can also join our Hand Pieced Quilt Along Facebook Group and / or subscribe to our newsletter so you'll be among the first to know about new block tutorials.

Have a wonderful day! Patty


  1. Great FAQs. And whew that it doesn't start until next week ☺ I have all my fabric, but have a lot going on this week.

  2. I'm not sure this question is covered: for the final quilt, does the whole thing need to be hand pieced, or just the blocks? Meaning, sashing, etc?

    1. Good question! For the grand prize, everything about the quilt top needs to be hand pieced - so yes to the sashing etc.


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