Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Chuck Nohara QAL

During the late winter I started following some posts on Instagram from people working on a quilt-along, or QAL.  I am loving Instagram anyway, and try to keep it 'quilty'.  For the most part.  The quilters I am finding there are doing some amazing work and inspire me so much!  The QAL I noticed was the Chuck Nohara Quiltalong, or #chucknoharaqal, if you want to look it up.

First, the book.

  Fabulous!!  I started to become obsessed, in the way that I do.  People said they could hardly find the book.  It is published by Quiltmania, and can be hard for those in the US to find.  So I happened to go to Quilt Festival in Chicago in April and was excited to see Quiltmania had a booth!  And the book! (and other great stuff as well, but I won't go into that now).

Purchased it, not intending to join in the QAL.  Figured, wow, it's gorgeous.  If all I do is just LOOK at it the rest of my life, I will be happy.  The patterns are black and white, you have to photocopy and then figure how to blow them up to the desired size.  There are no instructions!!!!  Intimidating!  You have to figure out how to piece them!

But as I looked on Instagram, at these FABULOUS quilters, I found one who had written a blog entry on how to do a block, how to approach the whole thing.  This was months ago, or I'd give you the link here.  The point here is, it gave me a way, an ITCH to jump in. Hmmm....I think I can do this.  At least SOME of the 2,001 blocks!!  You use many different techniques, regular piecing, paper foundation piecing, applique; the styles are endless.  And some are daunting.

So I did.  Pulled some fabrics, just to start with, by Denyse Schmidt.  These were a layer cake I loved, but hadn't dug into yet.  Added some browns.  Ok.  A starting palette.

The quilters running the QAL post an assignment (?) block or two every two weeks.  You can do one, both or neither.  It's up to you.  And you also do whatever else you want to do.  Photo them, post on Instagram using the #chucknoharaqal hastag, and also add the hashtag #cn and whatever number is on the block from the book, such as #cn765.  Those hashtags make it easy to look up either all the QAL blocks, or just a particular block, if you are interested in seeing what others do with a block.

I also found a use for this, my Quilter's Assistant.  You use it for enlarging or decreasing what you are photocopying.   Photocopy the page, cut out the one block you want to use, and put it on the copier.  You need to have custom' block size setting on your printer/copier. 

Measure the photo of the block (most of the black and white ones are 2.5")  With the 'Assistant',  turn one dial to the size of the picture.  Next, move that number to the size you want your blocks to be. Mine are 5" finished. Voila!!  The number in the box tells me the percentage of enlargement required!  Once you print an enlargement, double check it, measure right next to your copier, before using it, to be sure it is the size you want your finished block to be.  Sometimes you have to play with it a bit, the dial isn't as exact as it should be.

Soon, I was off and running, and posted my first blocks, #cn1029 on the left, and #cn969 on the right.

Others followed.  There have been quite a few more since then, I think my current count is around 28 blocks done.  Maybe, to keep me posting on a more regular basis (I just hate spending so much time on the computer!), I'll just post photos of a block or two once in awhile.

Meanwhile, I have enjoyed my Instagram friendships, looking at the work of these talented ladies, they have inspired me each and every day.  Maybe you want to hop on board?  I would encourage you---it's fun to have a longer term project, some handwork to tote around, stretch your skills a little.  But you can keep within your comfort level too.  It's a lot of fun!  Here's some eye-candy for you, with a few of my favorites, and a nice group pic of what I had at the time.......