Desert Cove Quilt-Along: Weeks 1 & 2
It’s here! The start of the Desert Cove Quilt-along! I’m so glad you’re here and I can’t wait to see all of the gorgeous quilts we make!
Welcome to part one of a three-part blog series as we dive into the Desert Cove quilt. This blog series can be referenced at any point and serves as a guide for all things Desert Cove!
But first, a couple refreshers…
Don’t have the pattern yet? You can get your copy here.
Do you have your Desert Cove progress tracker handy? This free download helps you keep track of what you’ve completed. It’s formatted to complete the quilt in five weeks, but really, you can use this tracker and still go at your own pace.
Want to learn more about the inspiration behind the pattern? You can read more about it on the quilt pattern release blog post.
Okay - now let’s dive in and get started. We’re going to be talking about weeks 1 and 2 which will get you from fabric selection to having sets of sub-blocks.
Week 1 - Select, Cut, & Mix your fabric
Do you have your fabrics selected for your quilt yet? If not, don’t fret - there’s still time to pick some out and join us. These blog posts will always be available to return to, and if you’re sewing live with us in January and February 2022, you’ll be able to enter for the quilt-along prize no matter where you’re at with your quilt — watch for those detail on instagram on February 21, 2022!
Once those fabrics are selected, its on to cutting them out! If you’ve been following me for a while, you might know that cutting is one of my least favorite parts about quilting…. BUT…the initial cutting for Desert Cove is pretty easy and you’re on to sewing fast!
Following the cutting instructions in your pattern, cut your 2 1/2” strips and set them all aside.
Once all of your strips are cut, it’s time to have some fun mixing them up into sets of three! Really have some fun here! There’s no right or wrong way to do this and we’ll mix the fabrics up again next week so there is a lot of color and print diversity in this quilt!
When I’m mixing my fabrics, I like to try to make sure that I don’t repeat the same sets. I also like to make sure my groups have a good mix of different colors or different prints depending on the fabrics you selected.
And that is it for week 1! Pat yourself on the back and make yourself a celebratory chai tea :)
Week 2 - Strip piecing, Cut & Mix your sub-blocks
Are you powering through weeks 1 and 2 together? Feel free to keep on reading or take a breather and pick back up here next week.
Week 2 is when we get to sit down at our machines and sew! And it’s a lot of easy, straight line sewing of long strips. This is the step of this quilt that I find so incredibly therapeutic to sew. One you find your way of keeping your sets organized, you can really sew these strips together FAST!
A quick note on pinning during this step. In my opinion, it is optional at this step depending on your comfort level with sewing. If you’re newer and this is one of your first quilts, I highly recommend that you pin your strips together until you get the hang of it. You’ll notice in my video, however, that I don’t pin during this step.
The method that works for me is to sew them in groupings of six at a time. Here’s a quick time lapse of what I mean…
I sew the first two strips together setting the third to the side and repeat this step for all six sets of three - keeping my strips to the side in the same order so that I don’t accidentally mix up fabrics.
Then after I have chain stitched all of my sets, I come back through and chain stitch my third strip. Once all six sets are sewn, then I press all of my seams. I prefer to press the seams open, but you can also opt to press your seams towards the darker fabric.
We’ll repeat these steps until all of our sets are sewn together and pressed. You can really find your rhythm and this is a great quilt to work on with an audio book or podcast on in the background - or just completely zone out!
Then, once all of your strips are sewn together, it’s time to cut your sub-blocks! I like to save a bit of time and energy and place as many as possible on my cutting mat at a time, then cut using the instructions in the pattern.
Eeeeps! Now it's time to mix and match again! Yes!
Okay, this time around you should think about whether you’d like a scrappy look or if you are going to a specific look. You’ll want to have that in mind as you mix up your sub-blocks into sets of four.
NOTE: If you are making the small throw size, you will have four sub-blocks left over after this step. These can make a cool set of quilted coasters - check out that tutorial!
So, after you’ve mixed and matched we are all done for Week 2 - yay and congratulations!! You are well on your way to having a beautiful Desert Cove Quilt before too long! And time, to take out those progress trackers and fill in some bubbles!!
The next time we meet, we’ll start sewing our blocks. Happy sewing until then.
If you’re sharing on Instagram, I’d love to see it! Use #nolliebeanpatterns and/or #desertcovequilt and/or #desertcoveqal if you share on Instagram.