Exploding Heart Quilt Along - Week 1

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Welcome to Week 1 of the Exploding Heart quilt along! I am SO excited that so many of you are going to be quilting along with me! (Over 2,000 of you!)

Exploding Heart quilt along

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking the links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you're new here, hello! I'm Laura! I design quilt patterns, and I'm a self-proclaimed deal hunter! Be sure to join the popular Quilting & Sewing Deals Facebook group where I post sales, deals, and coupon codes from all around the web!


I want you to know that this is my first time hosting a quilt along, so I'm asking for some grace. I'm still figuring out some behind-the-scenes things, and there may be a few hiccups along the way. My goals for the quilt along are for us to encourage one another, make a quilt, and have fun!! Which also means I'm hoping you overlook the technical difficulties I had with the video this week, and forgive me for not including it...

If you're just joining in, be sure to check out all of the QAL blog posts:


**The QAL has ended, but sign up if you want to be notified about the next QAL!


Week 1 / 6

This week we will cut all of the pieces for the quilt top. You can find the sizes and quantities needed on page 2 of the pattern.

If you don't yet have the pattern, you can purchase the PDF version here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/822272908/

You can also get a paper version that will be mailed to you here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/836168813/

Before you start cutting, share a photo of your fabrics and the pattern cover on social media so we can ooh and ahh over your choices! Use #explodingheartQAL in the text of your post so others can like and comment on your post! I'm using Confection Batiks by Kate Spain for Moda for one of my quilts.

Exploding Heart quilt pattern and Confection Batiks by Kate Spain for Moda

One thing I really love about quilting is that there are so many ways to do the same thing. None of them are right and none of them are wrong. During the QAL, I'll try to show a couple different ways to do each step so you can pick which way you like the most! I'll encourage you no matter which way you do it!

One example of that is that the pattern includes directions for both traditional cutting with a rotary cutter as well as using a fabric cutter. I have an AccuQuilt GO!, so I'll share how I use that for this quilt.

If you're using an AccuQuilt GO! cutter, you can use die #55708 (4" finished square) to cut the background squares, and die #55711 (4" finished quarter square triangle) to cut the triangles. Mine both came in the 8" Qube set. Personally, I prefer to cut the squares with a rotary cutter, but love using my AccuQuilt for the triangles! The AccuQuilt cuts perfectly sized pieces so that once sewn, you don't have to trim the blocks at all! It's a huge time saver!

***NOTE: Depending on which version of the pattern you have, the cutting chart for the AccuQuilt on page 2 of the pattern might show an incorrect total triangle count. The total number of triangles needed is 516.


Accordion fold fabric for AccuQuilt
Cutting quarter square triangles with an AccuQuilt cutter

The AccuQuilt GO! can cut up to six layers of fabric at once. I cut my fat quarters into 5 1/2" x 18" strips first, then I take two strips and accordion fold them on top of the die to make six total layers. I put the AccuQuilt cutting mat on top, put it through the cutter, slide the cutting mat off the top, and I instantly have 24 triangles cut!

Cutting quarter square triangles with an AccuQuilt cutter

Here's another tip that I use when cutting out a quilt. I use a Boogie Board to keep track of how many pieces I've cut. Of course paper and pencil work too, but writing it down after each cut really helps to not lose count!

Using an LCD writing tablet for quilting

If you're not using an AccuQuilt, you can layer 3-4 fat quarters together on your cutting mat, then cut the squares. There are many ways to cut with a rotary cutter, but I'll share what works for me.

I am right-handed, so I work from the right side of my cutting mat. I lay the fat quarters so they are 18" vertically, and the 21" side is horizontal. I lay the fat quarters just over the 0" line on my cutting mat on the right-hand side, then cut on the 0" line to get a straight edge to start.

I use the markings on my mat when cutting. I find that my Fiskars mat is very accurate, and this method allows me to cut any size I need. I know many people that cut by only using the measurements on their ruler (ignoring the measurements on the mat). Do what works best for you!

Cutting squares with a rotary cutter

Next, I move my ruler over to the left, lining it up on the mat where needed to cut the squares. I do not move the fabric. Only the ruler. After cutting, I move the ruler again to cut another strip. Repeating for the whole width of the fat quarter. Once all the vertical cuts are made, I walk around to the right side of the table. I still haven't moved the fabric! I turn the ruler now to make the cuts in the opposite direction. I make one initial cut to make the right edge straight (usually the 18" line, but sometimes it has to be 17 1/2"). Then I move the ruler to cut the size of squares needed. It doesn't take long to cut lots of squares!

Cutting squares from yardage with a rotary cutter

Cutting the background fabric can be a bit awkward since it's one piece of yardage instead of fat quarters. A large table (I used my dining room table!) and a large cutting mat can help. I also like to double my fabric when cutting to make it go faster. To do this, find each end of the yardage and hold the ends together at the factory fold. Line up that factory fold edge as best as you can, then lay it on the cutting mat. The factory fold should be closest to you, along the 0" line on the bottom of the mat. Smooth out any wrinkles and adjust the fabric as needed to keep both folds lined up with the 0" line. Also be sure that all four layers of the cut edges on the right-hand side are just over the vertical 0" line.

Like before, cut on the 0" line to get a straight edge. Make the vertical cuts first, not moving the fabric. I cut several strips, then just fold the extra yardage back out of the way. I walk around to the right side of my table, cut off the selvage edge (usually on the 21" line, but sometimes 20 1/2"), then cut the needed pieces. I count these piles by 4s, make a note of the total on my Boogie Board, then gently move the yardage over to the 0" line to cut another set. I be sure to line up the folds along the bottom 0" line again, then cut a tiny bit off the vertical 0" line if needed.

Exploding Heart quilt along


Homework

  • Cut all of the background fabric and heart fabric into the sizes and quantities needed. Refer to page 2 of the pattern.
  • Share a photo of the pattern cover with your fabric so we can encourage you! Use #explodingheartQAL in the caption of your photo on Facebook or Instagram. On Facebook, you can share on your personal timeline, or you can share in a quilting group you're in! If the post is "public," then others sewing along will be able to find it and encourage you!
  • Search for #explodingheartQAL on Facebook or Instagram, and like and comment on at least three posts to encourage others that are sewing along!
  • Enter this week's giveaway at the end of this post!

Exploding Heart QAL


QAL Schedule


Next week, I'll be sharing lots of tips for sewing the blocks. I'll even show you several different methods so you can pick which one you like the best!

Oh, and the blog posts for the QAL will all stay up permanently, so you can come back to them whenever you need to! 

GIVEAWAY

Exploding Heart QAL Sponsors

Now for this week's giveaway! There will be a giveaway every week of the quilt along! This week's sponsor is Oliso, who is giving away one Oliso Mini Iron and silicone iron rest! Enter using the rafflecopter below.


Let's all quilt along!


Disclaimer: Giveaway is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Blogger. By entering, entrants confirm they are eligible to win. No purchase necessary to win. Open to US residents age 18+. Giveaway starts at 12:00am CST January 7, 2021 and ends at 12:00am CST on January 14, 2021. One winner will receive an Oliso Mini Iron (value of approximately $50). Odds of winning determined by number of eligible entries received. How to enter: complete a task on the Rafflecopter widget. Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter on January 15, 2021 from all eligible entries and notified by email. If winner can not be reached via email or prize is unclaimed after three days, a new winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter. Winner is responsible for paying any taxes related to the prize. By entering this giveaway, you release Slice of Pi Quilts from any liability whatsoever. Void where prohibited by law.

123 comments:

  1. I will be using gold fabrics,which I am still waiting for them to come in, so I will post a picture when they come in. Can't wait

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  2. I plan to use scraps both for the heart and the background, I am also excited to be using my new 8-inch Qube.

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  3. No idea how to enter the giveaway. But I'm really excited about this QAL. Thank you for the Accuquilt instructions! That's what sold me!

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  4. Thank you for this QAL! I am using a Riley Blake Midnight Rose fat quarter bundle I have been reluctant to cut - but it needs to be used so this is it!

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    1. The Midnight Rose fabrics are a beautiful line and I certainly can envision it in this pattern. It will be exciting to see your progress!

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  5. I have my background fabric, and I'm waiting on my other fabric to arrive. I bought this pattern a year or so ago and haven't made it -- so I love that you're having a quilt along to get me going.

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    1. I just received my background and backing fabric today (calling it close!). I have no idea what my fabrics are called or who designed them; I bought them a while ago on a FB live sale from a local store. I think they'll be perfect for my niece's wedding present!

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  6. I'm waiting for my pattern to arrive...I used my "ebay bucks" to get it free. My plan is to use up my large batik scrap collection in blues, reds, purples and greens. I will probably add an outer border to make the quilt larger---perhaps pieced hst's...perhaps plain batik. I am so looking forward to this. I left ALL social media so I can't post there.

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  7. Counting on my stash to get me through this QAL.
    Can't wait to get started

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    1. Me too!! Probably enough in my stash for 50 of them if I wanted to! LOL

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    2. Same with me. I'm looking forward to seeing what you pick. I'm hopeful I have enough bright fabrics in my stash to make this for a gift.

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    3. I'm using my stash too! Do you think it will be okay to use a variety of white on white for the background? I don't think I have enough of any one print and I would like to see how far into the year I can go using only my stash! Anyone have any ideas or suggestions on this?

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  8. I am still waiting on getting my pattern and fabrics!! Hopefully I will have it by next week, so I can start sewing along when you start actually sewing! Looking forward to this!

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    1. I got mine this week and am beginning today!

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  9. Waiting on my pattern. Hoping to go with a purple background abd fabric from my stash

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  10. I'm choosing a variety of colors from my stash, muted blues, reds and greens. This will be a totally scrappy adventure.

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    1. I used from my stash also, sounds really pretty

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  11. I am so excited to get started with this project. I started with my stash, but of course had to buy more fabric.

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  12. Ready to get started today! I love to see the variation of colors that everyone picks.

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  13. I haven't even picked my fabrics yet...Bought and printed out the pattern a while ago, but was just too lazy to go through all my fabrics. :-) My 4-year-old grandson spent the night, so we're watching Paw Patrol now. After I take him home this afternoon I'll be able to finally get to work! I also have other sewing I promised would be done by Saturday, so that needs to be done, as well. I AM excited to get going on this Quilt-Along, but also excited to have the grandson here, so he always comes first! :-) I'll post a picture of my fabric pull when I figure it out later today!!

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  14. Will 2021 be the FIRST year I complete a QAL on schedule? Every quilt starts with great intention!! Good luck to all, looking forward to viewing the eye candy on IG ! #explodingheartQAL

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  15. I am going to use some Kaffe fabrics. It should look stunning when complete.

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  16. I am going to use some Kaffe fabrics. It should look stunning when complete.

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  17. I am going to use some Kaffe fabrics. It should look stunning when complete.

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  18. This is my very first QAL. Excited to see what fabrics are chosen by everyone. I am waiting for the die to arrive. (I am not a fan of the draw the line technique). I'll be a little bit behind and I'm okay with that.

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  19. I had the pattern and have been wanting to make this quilt for awhile. Kismet. I also have been wanting the 8" cube, so ordered it for this QAL. I'm going thru my stash while waiting for the cube to arrive this week. Looking forward to seeing the fabrics everyone picks.

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  20. This is my first ever quilt a long. I'm so excited!

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  21. I will be using pink, purples and teals with a white background. This is my first QAL as I am a new quilter. Was able to borrow my daughter-in-laws Accuquilt to cut out my fabric, didn't even know she had one! So thankful.

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  22. It has been fun choosing my fabrics from the leftovers of another project. Excited to get started

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  23. I'm making this as a wedding gift for one of my best friends. I can't wait to start!

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  24. Haven't picked out fabrics yet. Have time to get to the store tomorrow. I'm so excited about this.

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  25. Took forever to choose fabrics. Ended up with the total opposite of what I started with but cant wait to start to cut... cut....and cut some more.

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  26. I’m planning to use Pindrop fabrics.

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  27. I picked up yesterday some blues in my LQS, I plan to add to them if I find the right shade on Saturday when I do more shopping. The choice of white fabric is still up there.

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  28. Waiting on pattern and plan to use vibrant fuchsia colors.

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  29. Ready to get started but can't start til Sunday evening. Should be fun. Using scraps for colors and a beige background

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  30. I am excited to QAL with you all! I plan on doing a scrappy red to pink version using what I have on hand!

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  31. I'm using a red & white polka dot for my background and various shades of red

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    1. Your fabrics sound awesome.

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    2. that sounds very interesting, can't wait to see all of them.

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  32. I am using purples and greens for my Exploding Heart. I'm excited to do the QAL with everyone!

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  33. Island Batiks "Hugs and Kisses" also Using my new 8 inch Accuquilt Cube. This quilt is for the youngest grand daughter

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  34. I have the pattern, and I really want to do the QAL! We are prepping for an international move this month, so I am just going to watch everyone’s beautiful work.

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  35. I am using a variety of batiks in reds, pinks and purples. Hoping this gets me out of my "quilting blahs" I have been in. Making it for my 12 year old great-granddaughter.

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  36. My heart explodes with joy when I think about my three grown kids. Their favorite colors are black with fire (he's a firefighter), bright green and yellow. I'm going to use white as the background.

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  37. I'm super nervous about joining this QAL, but I have all the material and am ready to go. I'll be using a Paris theme print (pink, black, gold, light blue mostly). I've only done two other quilts - one start to finish in a class and the other I completed mostly in class, until covid hit and then just winged it to the finish. I've never done something this complicated before.

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    1. one seam at a time, Kari. YOU can do it. 💗

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    2. Kari, I'm feeling super nervous too! This is my first QAL and seems like an undaunting challenge but we can do this!

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  38. Anxious to start quilting with everyone! My fabric was delivered just as I sat down to write this. Will have to open it up and get a photo to post. Can't wait to see everyone's beautiful quilts! Thank you, Laura for hosting this!

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  39. This is going to be so much fun!

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    1. I still have to cut my background fabric, but I'm eager to get started!

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  40. I am glad we are starting the QAL today. I even learned how to post a picture on Facebook. Thanks for sharing.

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  41. Fabric is all from my stash, Kona solids and various fat quarters from some mystery bundles I received. This is my first QAL, only been quilting since March.

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  42. Fabric is all from my stash, Kona solids and various fat quarters from some mystery bundles I received. This is my first QAL, only been quilting since March.

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  43. I thought I would use purple and pink Batiks I have collected from several manufacturers. Not sure on the background color, but maybe light gray.

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  44. I like red and blue. Working now this month so I may be late starting

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  45. I’m going to use my stash of batiks, but I think I will use reds and pinks. The background will probably be white.

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  46. I am going to use Tula Pink fabric, but not sure which ones yet. I have had this pattern for about 4 months. Hoping the QAL will motivate me to start. Glad I own a GO cutter!

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    1. Can you post a photo of your fabrics? My niece loves Tula Pink (I believe she is a personal friend of the designer).

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  47. I am using the Exploding Heart quilt kit I purchased from The Quilt Place that also included the pattern. My color way is teal and pink. I’m excited to be joining all the fun!!!

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  48. I am using the Exploding Heart quilt kit I purchased from The Quilt Place that also included the pattern. My color way is teal and pink. I’m excited to be joining all the fun!!!

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  49. I'm quilting along! I'm pretty new to quilting, but I have an accuquilt cutter that is SO fun and is taking care of all the scary parts that I have previously messed up on before!

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  50. I'm using a FQ bundle ranging from gold to brick red. It's going to be a wedding present. I want so much to buy an AQ for this, but I promised my husband I would restrain myself. Luckily, I have a weird love for cutting. But maybe not after all this. Hahah!

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  51. I enjoy these quilt alongs. Its like a worldwide virtual class. Fun making new quilts with so many other great quilters!

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  52. I will be using Riley Blake Singing in the Rain bundle and my Accuquilt 8" qube!

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  53. I pulled some very old colorful florals from my stash. My version will be very scrappy.

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  54. I got my pattern when you did Pat Sloan's fabric "Tour" I am making this for a wedding in April! Glad to have the tips!

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  55. All fabrics cut and ready to sew

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  56. Will dive into my stash this weekend and hope to pull pinks, blues, lavenders and greens as well as a cream background. I made a promise to myself that I would use only my stash fabrics. I am excited to get a real chance to use my Go too!! just haven't had enough ambition with Covid to do much so this will give it a whirl.

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  57. Question...do ya'll iron your fabrics before cutting? I noticed in Laura's pictures that she did not. There are folds in the fat quarters prior to cutting, with the die and the rotary. This certainly would save a ton of time not to iron, but, I've always felt the pieces would be off if not flat when cutting. I appreciate feedback! Thanks.

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    1. I will be pressing and starching before cutting.

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    2. Most people definitely iron, but I do not unless it's a significant fold that I think will not make it cut correctly. I'm okay if mine are off a little, and I'm not willing to add all that extra time. ;)

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  58. Couldnt figure out how to enter the raffles. I will continue to like posts on the Facebook page and will upload pics as I progress. Hopefully things will work out for the video. I really needed that cutting video and a squaring one!

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  59. Waiting for my fabric (impatiently)

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  60. Pulled a couple different color ways. Not sure which way I’ll go but I have a couple days to decide. I lent mom my accuquilt cutter since I roped her into this QAL too!

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  61. Just finished cutting all my triangles with my Accuquilt. Continue tomorrow on my background fabric. I’m looking forward to participating in the project with everyone else.

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  62. I am using Kona white for the background and Riley Blake Design's Gem Stones for the heart.

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  64. Laura Beth ThrasherJanuary 8, 2021 at 8:58 PM

    I'm using fabrics from an Andover Collective fat quarter bundle for the colors, and the background is white on white dragonflies from my stash. :)

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  65. I am going to use my stash, all batiks I think

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  66. I’m going to use my stash, all batik I think!

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  67. I’m going to use my stash, all batik I think!

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  68. I paid for the pattern, but have not received instructions on downloading it...Please help me

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    1. Please email me at Laura (at) sliceofpiquilts (dot) com or send me a message on Etsy so I can help!

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  69. I got my background fabric and am ready to start cutting! Looking forward to this!

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  70. I got the Late night Love kit from Hartland Quilt shop. AWESOME fabrics, very fast shipping.... I am anxious to start. 🖤❤💗🖤

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  71. I want to use only stash as far as I can go this year. Do you think it will be okay to use different white on white for the background????

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  72. Excited to start! I'm using some of my stash from Tula and then adding in some solids and going with a grungy grey background.

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  73. Probably using my stash, but not sure yet.

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  74. I prefer cutting squares with my ruler rather than the Accuquilt. Hoping I can keep up with piecing.

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  75. All of my fabrics are from my stash of valentines fabrics. The only piece I need to pick up is the background. I am thinking pure white.

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  76. Jumping in a little late. Bought fabric yesterday and using my Accuquilt Go to quickly get pieces cut.

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  77. Looking forward to seeing all the exploding heart goodness on Instagram. Just today chose my fabrics, so I need to get busy cutting!

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  78. I am using a selection of Tula Pink fabrics with a black background.

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  79. I’m using a variety of reds, creams, and whites from my stash,

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  80. Can't wait to get started! Just printed the pattern and picked out my fabrics! I'm going to use my Accquilt to do all the cuts!

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  81. I finally have all my fabric pulled! I am using primarily Tula Pink fabrics and will take the white out as I am using a white background. I usually use pre cuts so this is a challenge for me! Can't wait to start!

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  82. Can you tell me how to post a picture of my pull on Instagram?

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    1. I'd search YouTube for a video on how to post on Instagram. It's not difficult, but definitely helps to watch someone else show you!

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  83. I am using my husband’s old shirts and making it for his birthday, February 14

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  84. How perfect! A true display of 💘.

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  85. Thank you for the sew along, got good tip on fabric cutting. Hope this turns out well, as I want to give to my daughter for her wedding shower

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  86. I have the printed pattern and my background fabric. I'm waiting for my 15 fat quarters to be delivered. I'll post a pix on instagram of what I have now and will post another pix when the rest of my fabrics arrive. Not on FB so this is where I'll look for updates.

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  87. got all my colored blocks cut, using from my stash of teals, purples, pinks and reds, tomorrow will get the background cut.

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  88. I am expecting my pattern book today. And I have a bunch of wonderful batiks. So looking forward to getting my material cut into required sizes before the weekend with any luck.

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  89. I am so excited to start! I am thinking of making this pattern into a memory quilt for my Mom with my Dad's shirts after I do one with fat quarters!

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  90. I finished my cutting today and I have to say, I LOVE that you give directions in your pattern and on this post for using the accuquilt!! Made this process so smooth!! Ready for week 2

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  91. I got all of my cutting done last night. I never used my Accuquilt for so much cutting and I love it. Should have been using it more beforehand!

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  92. I bought this pattern and material last Fall and this QAL is just what I needed to jump right in! I'm using Tula's True Colors by Free Spirit. I bought it for a gift that'll be given in about 4 years from now so figured I had time. No time like the present - right? :)

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    1. I bought it as a kit from JK Quilts in Meridian Idaho. Thanks JK! Lynae

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  93. I’ll be using Tula Pink true colors. Saw Rhen on jkquilts on Instagram and has leftovers from unicornabractions there I usel them.

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  94. Just found this today and bought the pattern. I am excited I haven’t picked my fabrics yet. Catching up though. Ellen

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  95. I see in the pattern the block layout for a 3 color quilt. However, color options are shown for 5 color quilts, but no quilt block layout is shown. Is it possible to get a picture of the block layout for a 5 color quilt?

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