Make sure you have all the basic equipment for patchwork assembled and in working order. New blade on rotary cutter. Check. Machine threaded. Check.
Here are some organisational hints from the 2016 group:
Where Do We Begin?
We begin at the first dark border of our quilt. It’s made of 3″ blocks. These are the blocks we will make during January – March. There are 96 of them!
I hope this gives you an indication of where the current set of blocks are placed in the overall scheme, and assist you to choose your fabrics. If you are following my scheme, keep the fabrics dark.
Just a note: I have changed the blocks from the original drawing. As I was putting together the instructions, I realised that I needed to present the blocks in gradually increasing difficulty, methodically introducing and practicing various techniques. Not all of us are used to piecing such tiny blocks! I had to find new blocks to give extra practice, or to illustrate a technique, and delete others.
So, because I’ve changed blocks, I can’t pinpoint on the drawing where a specific block is located. Even if I could, you will want to exercise artistic control on their final placement.
I’d recommend laying out all 96 3″ dark blocks when you’re finished them; that way you can shuffle them to evenly distribute: your contrast colour, blocks that read lighter or darker, different background fabrics, and complicated blocks with simpler ones.
During April, you’ll be able to assemble the centre of the quilt and this first dark border … so it won’t all be left until the end!
To Cut or not to Cut?
In the first three months we will be primarily using our dark fabrics, so concentrate on having these on hand.
Cutting Strips. You may cut some strips to get a head start, from your DARK DARK (background), DARK, MEDIUM DARK and MEDIUM fabrics. Cut strips across the width of your fabric or fat quarters from the most frequently required sizes: 1¼”, 1½”, 1¾” and 2″. There are also some 1″ strips.
Some people found this handy in 2016, others preferred not to cut their yardage until they had to.
Feel free to substitute the given block with the birthday block on your special day! (Except perhaps if it’s the central medallion, centre borders, or the corner flowers). Or, use it as a BONUS block to practice before you begin, or to substitute when I give you something horribly difficult which you would prefer to avoid, or as the label on the back of your quilt!
Choose the light or dark version and the size according to where in the cycle you land.