Welcome to the Winter Walk in the Woods Sew Along!
Thanks so much for joining us as we work our way through this Winter Walk adventure over the next six weeks.
I am so glad you have joined us during this “in between week” between Christmas and the New Year… to me, it always feels like a great time to clean up our sewing space a little and start something wintery and new!
My friend Susan Vaughan has graciously agreed to lead us on our winter sew along journey for a second year in a row, so let’s get started.
Last winter, I designed Winter Solstice, a chambray and cream two color quilt. Its simple, Nordic feel was perfect for the cold winter nights and the feeling of uncertainty we all felt. Joanna graciously agreed to host a sew along, where we could share the pattern and a bit of sewing solace with all of our Fig Tree Friends. So many of you joined us, stitching away to find your own sense of wonder and peace. We loved seeing all of the versions pop up in our Facebook group or on Instagram.
This year our family enjoyed keeping up with some of the simplicity we had adopted during 2020, and a highlight of the year was a camping trip to the California Coast. I love to hike, go to the beach, visit the mountains, and to be outside…but I don’t camp. I like warm showers and air conditioning and sleeping in a tent, outside, with animals nearby, was going to be a stretch for me. We had a fun-filled day and as I was tucked into my sleeping bag, I had a hard time falling asleep. It was almost too quiet and peaceful. There were a few critters roaming about but mostly it was still. I started thinking about a quilt block I had designed the year before and how it reminded me of my time in the woods. I knew I wanted to expand upon that idea and turn it into a brand new quilt. Before the sun rose, I had a rough sketch, and as soon as I got home, finished plotting it all out (after a hot shower!).
A Winter Walk in the Woods is a mystery companion quilt to Winter Solstice. The format of the sew along will run much the same way. Each week for six weeks we will be sharing a set of instructions and at the end, you will have a generous sized throw quilt. I feel this quilt is technically easier than Winter Solstice and a confident beginner would be comfortable working through the steps.
We are using the same Moda Chambray in Royal as the background and will be playing around with a version using Robin Pickens’ Thatched fabric in Scarlet to see how the quilt might look in red.
I feel a solid, woven, or near-solid would work the best as the background. You basically want something that will create a woodland background to this project and not compete with the light colored blocks. We do not recommed using more than one fabric for the backgroiund.
We are pairing it with eight different small-scale cream prints and a solid ivory. The background is pretty defined but you will have a lot of flexibility in how you use your cream prints, so feel free to go scrappier with more prints.
We have offered as many kits as we could based on the backgrounds we had and we have also made as many STARTER KITS available as we could. The initial offerings of both of the above have now sold out. HERE are some more of the STARTER KITS and we will keep making these while supplies last for those of you who would like to join in a bit late. EDIT: We will try to do a new set of starters on Friday for those still interested.
Both of us really enjoy sewing with wovens, but we know they can be intimidating to some people. As a general rule, neither of us wet starch our fabrics, but we have been known to give woven fabric a spritz of Flatter or a bit of spray starch to help stabilize the fabric. I would definitely recommend a light starch spray if you are using a Cross weave or Chambary like we are. I also find the best remedy to prevent fraying of fabric is to cut with a new rotary blade and with a mat that is in good condition. I also recommend cutting the pieces as directed in the instructions and minimize handling to keep them fray-free.
FABRIC COLOR FASTNESS
I have received a few questions about this already so thought I would give you guys our thoughts on pre washing fabrics. As a general rule, we never pre-wash our fabrics. We work almost entirely with high quality MODA, or other hhigh quality fabric manufacturers and have not had any incidents of fabric bleeding. Having said that, please do whatever you feel comfortable with in terms of fabric color fastness. If you are at all worried about the black, blue or red [or any other color you might be working with] background fabric, then test a small piece and make your decision based on that. My favorite method is to boil a small cup of water and put a a few scraps of the fabric in the water. Let it sit for a bit and then take it out and wipe it on a white paper towel. If you don’t see any bleeding inside the cup or on the paper towel, you should good. If you do see some, you can then make the decision if you would like to pre wash your background or at least wash with several color catchers after the quilt is done.
AGAIN, the decision to pre wash or not is yours and please do whatever works for you.
Unlike Winter Solstice, Winter Walk in the Woods has many moving parts and organization is going to be key. The quilt is not going to come together until the final week, and many blocks will be similar in size and shape. Don’t worry, we have you covered! Susan designed a few printable labels you can pin on your pieces and units to keep track of similar-sized pieces. It is our hope that this will help make the final assembly week a breeze!
This week, if you have your fabric (requirements can be found HERE) and want to get a jump start, there are a few things you can do to get yourself prepared.
FIRST: Pull out your stack of creams, pick your favorite six, and label them Cream 1-Cream 6. These will be your main creams and the others will be for accents along the way.
SECOND: Grab a few things around your house to help you stay organized. I keep a stack of Ziplocs in my sewing room that I reuse from project to project as well as a few storage containers. We will be accumulating pieces from week to week and good organization will be key.
THIRD: The third thing you can do is to print out and cut up all of your organizational labels. Since many of these pieces will be similar in size it is VERY important that you label them when we cut them. Download and use our printable labels for easy organization HERE!
If you’re sewing along, be sure to tag us in your posts on Instagram [@figtreeandco or @thefeltedpear] or in our Fig Tree Quilts Facebook Group [tag Joanna and Susan in the group] so we can cheer you on!
We are using the hashtag #winterwalkinthewoodsquilt
If you are looking for last year’s quilt, check out #wintersolsticequilt
A FEW MORE BITS OF INFO
Many of you have asked so we will offer backing options in January once we have started the Sew Along! As usual, our backing options will be limited so if you see something you like, grab it up.
For those of you who ordered in the last round of red kits, the last set went out yesterday as they red was delayed last week in its Christmas travels.
Several of you have asked our thoughts on other colors [ so far we have envisioned the project in blue, red and silver]… so I wanted to add that a hunter or deep green would pair wonderfully with this quilt… it is after all a WINTER WALK IN THE WOODS :-)…
See you all next week with the first set of cutting info!
Susan and Joanna
Find all of the Winter Walk in the Woods posts here: