Saturday, January 30, 2016

welcome to the gypsy wife quilt along 2016 & link party

we've pulled lots of fabrics, we've got our pattern book and pencil ready, and some of us are kinda nervous. i hope everyone is excited! this is an epic quilt make. i'm doing a lot of explaining up front, so bear with me and the wordiness of this post. first, let's see who's with us.

quilt along sign up

since this is the kick-off of the quilt along, i'm going to introduce some of my methodologies to you and give more information about how the quilt along will function. don't worry, international copyright police - i'm not going to be publishing the pattern in entirety on this blog! but i will be showing bits and pieces to make a point and to explain a few missing links for those of us who need more help.

the pattern booklet is composed of several pages of block assembly instructions (pg 3-24), section assembly diagrams (pg 26-31), and the layout of sections for construction of the top (pg 32). because the section assembly diagrams are mostly graphics and only a few measurements, the maker must  identify the blocks by sight and do some math to figure out which blocks are in each section. but don't despair, that's been done for you!

section 1 - click to enlarge

blocks in each section

i've identified each block and it's instruction page. this information for each section will be published at the first of the month, each month. also, i've noted the number of blocks per section and loosely ranked them by complexity. for example, section one has 5 blocks: two large, two medium, one small. the size isn't measured by inches but rather by how complex it is/the number of steps involved and how much time it might take. you'll see it's all relative and rather subjective, but i've done the best i can! this is to give you an idea how much work might be involved for the month.

although the book breaks up the quilt into sections, they are not equally divided. some months are bigger than others. section six, for instance, could actually be a two month project relative to the other months. it involves a lot of square in a square blocks. you might want to make some of these ahead of time. i'll give you a heads up when bigger months are coming so you can plan accordingly.


in addition, i've numbered all the strips, from left to right (which is opposite to order of assembly, i now realize - but too late!), identified where it is in each section it runs through, and how long it is in total. this was important to me to figure out because i wanted to make sure i had enough fabric to carry a long strip into it's other sections. also, the assembly diagrams aren't always lined up precisely and it can be confusing where a strip picks up again. this information will also be shared each month. for planning purposes, i'll note now that the strips vary in length from 65.5" to 12". there are at least 11 strips that are longer than 42", which is the standard wof length. these strips will need two wof cuts to complete. each strip is divided into as many as 5 sub sections. all this will be shared monthly by section.

detail, section 7 - click to enlarge
section seven is the bottom right hand piece. if you look here you can see how i numbered the sections all the way across the bottom (and gave letter designations to the 1" strips, represented by the dark strips in the diagram). next, i worked my way up through the sections and found how long each strip was at each of it's sections, and figured the total. the strips on the outer edges of the quilt have the longest total pieces.

if you want to play along so you know exactly which strips i'm referring to, you can mark your pattern like i did by just placing the number in the very bottom of the strips in the lower sections (ten, six, seven). start in section 10 with the farthest left strip and move right. grey strips get letters instead of numbers. each month i'll show where else the strips fall. 


the schedule megan and i have agreed on is this:

february - section one: 5 blocks (1 sm, 2 md, 3 lg); 19 strips (2 - 1")
march - section two:  6 blocks (2 sm, 1 md, 3 lg); 6 strips (2 - 1")
april - sections three and four: 6 blocks (1 sm, 1 md, 4 lg); 10 strips
may - section five: 6 blocks (3 sm, 3 lg); 9 strips (2 - 1")
june - section six: 21 blocks (13 sm, 5 md, 3 lg); 25 strips (2 - 1")  this is a big one! you might want to get a jumpstart or leave some for july
july - section seven: 7 blocks (4 sm, 2 md, 1 lg); 14 strips (2 - 1")
august - section eight: 4 blocks (1 sm, 3 lg); 11 strips (1 - 1")
september - section nine: 5 blocks (2sm, 1 md, 2 lg); 11 strips (4 - 1")
october - section ten: 11 blocks (6 sm, 2md, 3 lg); 22 strips (5 - 1")
november - quilt and bind

monthly posts

on the first of each month, i will post the section specifications that include blocks, strips, and any special instructions/tips. megan will also be posting her section and thoughts.

for those who want to work ahead, i will also post brief info for the next section or optional work ahead ideas.

there will be a link party at the end of each month where participants can link up blog or instagram posts about their sections.

other things to note

the instructions give the finished measurements for each block. this means what it will measure once it's been sewn into the quilt. if you want to know the unfinished measurement, which is what i use most often in these posts because i want to know how big the block is supposed to be before i attach it to anything, add .5" (1/2 inch) for the seam allowance that hasn't been taken in since the block isn't sewn into place yet. finished size + 1/2" = unfinished size

what the pattern calls "square in a square blocks" are also commonly called "economy blocks." i've previously written about making them here. links to tutorials for sq in sq/econ blocks are included in that post. there's a tutorial for a different method than our pattern uses, here.

some thoughts on pinwheel blocks are here.

some of the 1" wide strips are paired together (B&C, F&G, H&I). yes, when sewn these do equal the same as the 1.5" wide strips. so technically you could just use a 1.5" strip in place of these. however, it gives added interest and variety to the quilt to vary the width occasionally as the pattern does.

there is a partial seam between strips 50 and 51. you could avoid this by converting the 6.5" strip into one 4.5" strip and one 2.5" strip. i realize these two numbers don't equal 6.5", but you have to factor in the additional seam allowance by adding 1/4" for each side of the cut, which is 1/2" total. (and i hope i've done that correctly!) where ever this occurs in the pattern, i will try to make note for you and give alternate measurements.

i've previously shared thoughts on optional cutting tools that are helpful for this project here.

section six (june) has several square in square blocks that will fall below sections 1 - 4 in the same strips. because june is a large month, it might be helpful to make a few of those sq-in-sq blocks ahead of time as you work on the other sections. on the months we are working with sections above section six, i'll let you know which strips will have section six sq in sq blocks below them so you can get a head start.

if you have any questions, please ask in the comments. if you are a no-reply blogger, please email me directly instead.

#GypsyWifeQuiltAlong2016 on instagram


  1. i just wanted to let you know that I am seriously thinking about joining the QAL. But, it most likely will be done at my own pace. :-) I haven't linked up yet due to this reason (my own pace).

  2. You have done so much work to make this easier for the rest of us! Thank you!
    I can't start on this wonderful project yet as I have a granddaughter's quilt to finish first. But then...look out!I have either bookmarked or printed your info so far but do not have section 2.
    How can I get the info for that section? Thanks again, your work is so appreciated!


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