We’re in week 3 of the Big Ocean Sew Along, and we’re ready to start sewing. All of your fabrics should be cut. Maybe you made a few edits along the way. I edited a few colors out of my pull and added others. Let’s sew some squares!
The Big Ocean quilt is all about design. When we sew our HSTs, we want to be sure to give ourselves a lot of color combinations to choose from when building our foreground and background designs. You can cut your squares on the diagonal and put them up on the design wall, but I like to grab squares and sew some HSTs before I start to design. I’ll start with color combinations that make me happy and go from there. As I’ve said a few times along the way, I know the fabrics I pulled and the color combinations I create will be a starting point. My palette and design will grow as I work on my quilt.
There are many methods for sewing HSTs in multiples. My two favorites are the two at a time and eight at a time method. Four at a time leaves you with all bias edges, which can really stretch and warp, so I avoid that method. Once you have a number of HSTs made, go ahead and press some. I set my seams by pressing the HST before I press it open. Open it up after setting your seam and press again. I like to use a tailor’s clapper to get my seams nice and flat. If you don’t have a tailor’s clapper, but you’d like to try to get the same result, you can use a dowel or the thick cardboard backing of a notepad to improvise. Trim your blocks to the size you need for the quilt size you’ve chosen. Accuracy in trimming is great, but inaccuracy happens. It’s okay! We’re not robots.
While you are sewing, you can start with a bit of designing. This will help you decide what HST combinations to sew next. Put your trimmed HSTs into like piles. This will help you identify any color themes that you’ve created, or color combos that you’re low on or that you’re missing altogether. You can put some of them on the design wall and assess what you have. Maybe you see a light or dark theme emerging. Seeing it laid out will help you edit as you go. This process of sewing and editing will also help you identify your background color if you haven’t decided on that yet.
Sew at least ½ to ¾ of the HSTs needed for the foreground. We’ll get most of our foreground designed next week, and you can fill in the rest of the blocks needed as the design evolves before we move on to sewing and designing our background blocks. If you cut some of your HST squares into triangles, set those aside until you know where you want to use those. They are perfect for putting into unique color combinations if you need them for laying out your design next week.
If you want more in-depth help with making your Big Ocean quilt every step of the way, check out my on-demand course here. I take you through each step of the quilt, and give you more comprehensive support as you make your Big Ocean quilt.