Potter's Wheel Quilt Along WEEK ONE

Here we are at week one of the QAL! I'm thrilled we're here!

Here's the final palette!  Just as my last Potter's Wheel quilt, the prints are entirely a selection of Cotton + Steel.  I can't wait to play this out!

I'm a little tempted to take out the pink.  Quite often in my creative process I give myself some room to make choices once I see the quilt coming together.
Often that means:

  1. I have other prints that could be added, or 
  2. I have more than enough so that I can omit some prints, or 
  3. I go shopping to find fabrics I think the quilt needs.  

I almost always plan out the layout by using the colouring page or doing a rendering in Electric Quilt.  This always gives me a better understanding of how the quilt will come together.

Though I've organized the QAL to have a certain number of blocks completed every week, another option is to make the four quadrants of the block, and keep them separate until you finalize the full quilt layout.  In that case, I'd aim to have all quadrants made by the end of Week 5, lay them out Week 6 and work to have all blocks assembled by Week 7, and Quilt top together Week 8.

I'm considering these two layout options:
a diagonal gradient,

or a horizontal gradient.

I'm curious!  Which do you prefer?  
I'll likely do a poll on Instagram to get some help deciding.

Here's what you can expect from me this week:

  • You should have just received an email linking you to this blog post.
  • There's also a link to Crib, Throw and Twin Colouring Pages.
  • I'll be adding 3 video tutorials to this blog post through the week:  Curved Cutting, Piecing, Pressing.
  • I'll be sharing some information on the cool things I've gathered for the "My Favourite Things" Giveaway which will take place on Saturday!  
Here are our goals for the week:

Although you can definitely get a head start on sewing blocks, here are our goals for the week.

  • Introduce yourself online using the #potterswheelqal and tag me @briarhilldesigns.  I'd love for us all to make some new quilty friends! 
  • Use the colouring page (provided with your pattern, but also there's a link below to get Twin,  Throw and Crib layouts) if you would like to plan out colour placement in your quilt.
  • Follow #potterswheelqal and #potterswheelquilt, share pics using these hashtags, and cheer on your fellow QAL-ers!
  • Share your fabric palette using the hashtag #potterswheelqal!  (Guys, I CANNOT wait to see!)
  • Sew a few practice curves after watching the tutorial provided later this week.
Some housekeeping details:

  • Please feel welcome to contact me with any questions at any time.  I'm not often available on Sundays, so I'll likely return messages on Monday AM.
  • You will be notified via email every Monday of the week's blog post.
  • There will be only one blog post per week, but there will be weeks that I add more content to the week's blog post. In those cases you will receive an email linking you back to the week's blog post, and scrolling down will bring you to the additional content.
The Schedule

Week 1, Sept 24th:  Planning week - Show us your fabric palette.  Use the provided colouring page to consider colour placement, whether organized or random.  Introductions and the first giveaway for all participants.  I’ve gathered all my favourite things, and I’m giddy like a Mom on Christmas morning to share my favourite sewing tools and give them away.

Week 2, Oct 1st:  We'll be making blocks!  4 (Crib), 5 (Throw) 10 (Twin)

Week 3, Oct 8th: Sewing more blocks! 3 (Crib), 5 (Throw) 10 (Twin)

Week 4, Oct 15th: Sewing more blocks! 3 (Crib), 5 (Throw) 10 (Twin)

Week 5, Oct 22nd: Sewing more blocks! 3 (Crib), 5 (Throw) 10 (Twin)

Week 6, Oct 29th: Easy Week. This is a great week to catch up on blocks.  If you’re all caught up, prep for your last week of blocks, or make your binding, or prep your backing.

Week 7, Nov 5th: Sewing the final blocks, 3 (Crib), 5 (Throw) 9 (Twin)

Week 8, Nov 12th: Assemble your Quilt Top.  I’ll be sharing my favourite FMQ ideas, or my favourite pantos.  Those of us who have assembled quilt tops by the end of the week will take be entered in the final giveaway.

Finishing touches,  Though the active part of the Quilt Along will be over, we're hoping to see finished quilts at Week 10, Nov 26th.  We’re hoping to have lots of finished quilts to show off!  Also, I’ll be sharing some simple pattern ideas to use up those scraps left from the curved cuts.

Week 1 Blog Post Addition 1 

The Favourite Things Giveaway!

Like I've said I'm giddy like a Mom on Christmas morning about this giveaway!  I've gathered my favourite notions and tools valued at over $75 CDN, and now I get to share them with you, and mail them out to one of you!

I've shopped all over to gather up my favourite items!  I'll share what I love about them all, and show you mine, out of the packaging!

Glue basting is a method I find I'm using lots.  A little Elmer's school glue, once heat set is holds fabric together really well.  It's a temporary help, and washes out completely.  I use it to glue my Invisible Pieced Backing (I've also hear the method termed Pattern Matching), and similarly to close my binding.  I've used it to glue a zipper into place because pins were getting in the way, and really it's so helpful to use!  The Fineline brand tip is new to me, I like it because of the little needle on the cap.  This slides down into the tube and keeps the glue from drying, and doesn't change the colour of the glue.

I bought mine here, but I think next time I'll order the next size up.

The best thimble ever!  This is a rubber thimble that will stick to your finger.  You place it right over the spot that your needle hits, and it works like a dream.  It feels like it's part of your finger.  There are 24 thimble dots in one tin, and they can be used over and over again.  I know I've used one a dozen times because I counted, but the tin will easily last me a full year of handsewing, and has saved me from sore fingers.

Here's where I ordered the Poke-A-Dots from!  I couldn't find them in Canada.

I really like these ruler grips.  You can use the larger ring size or the smaller circle inside.  They stick well, and are perfectly clear so they don't block your sight.

You can order True Grips from the USA, or from Canada.

I love these thread snips.  They have a place on my sewing machine, to the far right of the needle, so I can grab them at any time to snip threads or fabric.  Before these I had a teeny pair of scissors, but these snips save me time because I can grab with one hand, snip, and drop them faster than I could with any other snips.

These snips have a dull point, which I like and they look almost exactly like the snips from Tula's line of notions, without the price point.  I tried to find these online with no luck,  they're hard to search because there are several types of blades, and under several brand names.  I bought mine at Fabricville, and I can only find them in store, but here are some close alternatives in Canada, and USA.

Aurifil!  Love it all!  This is my most used colour, 2615 Aluminum!  The best!

These Monkey Jacks or Bobbinis have been really helpful saving me time looking for the right bobbin.  I only have a handful that I use with my most commonly used colours, but I find they save me time, so I love them!

I bet this colour of Aurifil thread is in your local quilt shop, but just in case, Canada and USA.

Monkey Jacks/Bobbinis can be found in Canada, and the USA.

Photo Credit, Heather and Megan of Quilt Story

This little thing is a game changer!  I love it!  It's a Stringblade!  Mount it onto your sewing machine or on the wall by your iron (for example) and in moments you can separate miles of chain piecing.  I've tried other brands and believe me, this is the best.

Here's where you can order Stringblades.

Lastly, this pattern is my favourite recommendation of what to do with the curve pieces leftover from cutting the pieces you need.  Later on in the QAL I'll share some ideas of what to do with those pieces, and refer you to a few different patterns! Also, Glimmering has been on my mind lots because I've just completed pillows made out of my two test blocks for this pattern, and really I just wanted to add something else to the giveaway pot!

Glimmering is available in stores or in my Etsy shop, but psst!  Hold off for a bit, because mumble mumble coupon code, mumble mumble, just for QAL, mumble.

Week 1 Blog Post Addition 2  

Giveaway is today for the "My Favourite Things" goodies! I've just drawn a name from the entrants, and want to wish huge congrats to,.........
Yo Warden !!!
I'll be in touch to get your mailing address!

Here are the tutorials including how to cut, piece and press curves, and some pressing accuracy tips! 

I'll add a little spoiler, while I'm pointing at things in the videos my fingers get close to the blade of the rotary cutter, and it looks especially risky in the videos, but just so that I don't give you a heart attack, and so you can watch the videos without biting your nails, no injuries happened.  Not a scratch! ;)



Trimming with the True Up template:

Adding the String:

Here's something I wanted to expound on in this video, I find an easy way to ensure I have all the strings needed in all the colours needed is to cut my outside corner piece 1" inch wider, then cut off a 1" piece and use this as the string.  This makes my string 1" x 8 1/4" instead of 7 1/2" .   It just saves effort, though it wastes a little fabric.  You can choose either option!

Because I was focused on other things, like pressing accuracy and not tripping over my words, (which I did a few times anyway), I pressed the seam in the wrong direction for this take.  In the pattern the string seam will be pressed towards the circle, not the string.

Week 2 QAL email and blog post will drop on Monday!


  1. Wow those are great products a few I have and a few I will need to get.... Thank you for showing us these wonderful products.

  2. Love the diagonal gradient -- much more visually interesting!

  3. I love the post about invisible pieced backing. I can't wait to try this technique. I'm away from home, so I will be delayed in beginning the QAL, but I'm excited!

  4. I like the diagonal layout better. I have never used a colouring sheet to plan a quilt. I just dive in and hope for the best. I have always loved piecing and cutting fabric the most. But now you have me thinking about design...color and placement changes the total look of the quilt. Poke a dots...I have never heard of these and I love them already. Now I have to go back and reread your post as there are a few favourite things there that are completely new to me.

  5. Hi everyone! I just joined the Potter's Wheel quilt along and am so excited! I have to wait for my ruler to get here, but will be collecting my fabrics and coloring my design.

  6. looking good.... can't wait to clear up my schedule a bit and make a few blocks! Love all your favourite notions!!

  7. Hi Julia, before you sew the string do you square the other two sides of the curved piece. I assume you do.