Backyard Chicks QAL - Week 1

Welcome to Week 1 of the Backyard Chicks QAL!

I'm so excited to kick off this quilt-along today! In this first week we are planning our quilt, selecting our fabrics, and cutting the pieces.
  • Plan your quilt. You can make any size quilt as part of this QAL, though the pace is based on the medium (throw size) quilt. If you intend to make the smaller or larger sizes you'll need to adjust your pace accordingly by making fewer or more blocks over the next three weeks.
  • Download the printable colouring page if you would like to plan out your colour placements. 
  • Get your fabrics together - feel free to share your fabric pulls on Instagram with the hashtag #backyardchicksQAL if you would like to! The material requirements are at the bottom of this post and also in the pattern.
  • Purchase and download the pattern if you haven't done so already.
  • Cut your fabrics following the cutting directions in the pattern. Tip: Starch your fabrics before cutting for more precise results in your patchwork! Using a can or bottle of spray starch, first spray your fabric lightly then press it with a hot iron till the fabric is dry and the starch has set. Take care not to scorch the fabric! The fabric should feel stiffer following this process, and your cuts (and subsequent piecing) will be a lot more precise. 
  • Share your cut pieces on Instagram tagging them with #backyardchicksQAL!
  • Go ahead and sew a test block if you are an overachiever! ;-) 

This week's prize:

On Sunday evening I will randomly pick a winner from all the entries on the Instagram hashtag #backyardchicksQAL. The winner will receive:
  • 3 fat quarters of quilting fabric (from my own fabric collections)
See you back here next week, below is a recap of all the details for the QAL!


Backyard Chicks Quilt Along Details

Dates: 16 September - 27 October 2019 (6 weeks)
Block size: 10" finished
Finished quilt size: 60" x 80" (throw)
Experience level: Beginner


Week 1 - Planning, fabric selection, cutting
Week 2 - Make 16 blocks 
Week 3 - Make 16 blocks
Week 4 - Make 16 blocks
Week 5 - Sew the quilt top together (+ catch up!)
Week 6 - Quilting and binding


Here are the fabric requirements for the quilt:
You will also need the pattern!

Follow Along

  • You can follow the QAL via my Instagram account here. Use the hashtag #backyardchicksQAL to post pictures of your progress and to see how others' quilts are coming along.
  • Sign up to the weekly QAL emails here
  • I will share a new blog post every Monday so feel free to check my blog each week for updates. 

Backyard Chicks Quilt Along!

Hi dear friends! I'm thrilled to announce the quilt along for my latest quilt pattern, Backyard Chicks, kicking off on 16 September. I hope you can join me and other quilters to make this fun and beginner friendly quilt!  You can sign up for the weekly QAL emails here.

Backyard Chicks Quilt Along Details

  • Dates: 16 September - 27 October 2019 (6 weeks)
  • Block size: 10" finished
  • Finished quilt size: 60" x 80" (throw)
  • Experience level: Beginner


Week 1 - Planning, fabric selection, cutting
Week 2 - Make 16 blocks 
Week 3 - Make 16 blocks
Week 4 - Make 16 blocks
Week 5 - Sew the quilt top together (+ catch up!)
Week 6 - Quilting and binding

Please note that whilst the pattern provides three different size options, the pace of this quilt along is based on the throw size quilt. You can absolutely make any size quilt as part of this sew along, although you will need to adjust your pace accordingly (e.g. make more blocks per week if you are making the bed size quilt).

The main quilt block for this quilt is super simple and comes together fast, so this is is a really slow and leisurely pace - most quilters will have no trouble keeping up! If you fall behind you can also catch up during week 5.

Follow Along

  • You can follow the QAL via my Instagram account here. Use the hashtag #backyardchicksQAL to post pictures of your progress and to see how others' quilts are coming along.
  • Sign up to the weekly QAL emails here
  • I will share a new blog post every Monday so feel free to check my blog each week for updates. 


Here are the fabric requirements for the quilt:

You will also need the pattern!


Every week I will randomly select a winner from the entries on the Instagram hashtag, who will win 3 fat quarters + 3 patterns of their choice from my pattern selection. On week 6 I will select a winner from amongst the finished quilts for the GRAND PRIZE bundle of 5 fat quarters, a zakka notion set, and their choice of 5 patterns from my pattern collection. I will also share the winner's quilt on my social media feeds! Please note that your quilt needs to be finished and bound by 27 October to qualify for the grand prize.

I'm looking forward to sewing along with you all - please email me at if you have any questions!

Backyard Chicks Quilt | Riley Blake IG Takeover

Some of you may remember by Backyard Chicks mini quilt from early 2016. Well, over the years I got so many requests for a larger version that I finally decided to release a full size quilt pattern. What's more, it comes in three different size options: baby (40" x 50"), throw (60" x 80") and bed (80" x 100").

The design for this quilt was inspired by my own chickens, one of which you can see in the above picture (that's our alpha rooster, Randy, and yes, he is a busy boy worthy of his name). We have over 30 chickens, all mixed breeds, and a Pinterest-worthy coop built by my super talented husband. Looking at the feeding photo below I think you can see how this quilt came about - it's total feeding frenzy when it's kitchen scraps time!

I've decided to hold a quilt-along for this quilt - the details for which are coming next week. You can BUY THE PATTERN HERE - use the coupon code TAKEOVER to get 20% off for the next 48 hours! The fabric requirements for the three different quilt sizes are shown in the table below so if you wish to join the QAL you can get planning and sourcing your fabrics rightaway.

And here's my original mini version - the pattern of which is also available in my shop. Use coupon code TAKEOVER to get 20% off on that one also, and in fact ALL my patterns! Valid for 48 hours only.

There is a special reason for this 20% sale on all my patterns, and that is the fact that today I'll be taking over Riley Blake Designs' Instagram stories. I have lots of behind the scenes footage to share with you, including a tour of my sewing room, which I've never shared before! So keep an eye on your Instagram stories if you would like to follow along!

Patchwork Picnic Sew Along

Today I'm joining the sew-along for my fellow Riley Blake designer Gracey Larson's new book 'Patchwork Picnic', published by Martingale. This is a super fun book containing 30 'outdoor inspired' blocks, each coming in two different sizes - 6" and 12". You can create a fun sampler quilt featuring all 30 blocks, or just choose your favourite block and turn it into one of the seven companion projects!

I chose the acorn block and turned it into a potholder - which was one of the seven projects included in the book. This sweet pot holder will make a lovely thank you gift for a dear friend who has been a pillar of support for me during the last two weeks after my mum's passing. My friends, family, and of course my beloved sewing machine have all been great sources of comfort for me during this tough time. Sewing really is the best form of therapy!

The Patchwork Picnic sew along is currently taking place on Instagram - follow the hashtag #patchworkpicnicsal and join in on the fun!

New Quilt Patterns!

It's June, which means my Rhapsody collection for Riley Blake Designs is about to hit the shelves! So it's finally time to release the two new quilt patterns that I designed to accompany this line. First up is 'Floral Rhapsody' which is a fat quarter friendly pattern that requires 20 fat quarters for the quilt top, and is traditionally pieced. Finished quilt measures 70" x 87.5". Fast, fun, and easy!

My second pattern 'XOXO' requires 18 fat quarters and finishes at 56" x 76". This quilt contains half rectangle triangles, which are super easy to make once you know how! The pattern contains clear step-by-step illustrations to make both the HRTs and the angled binding.

Wait! There's more. For one week only when you buy one of my new patterns you will also receive my new baby quilt pattern, called 'Pinkylicious', as a free bonus pattern! How's that for a good deal? This quilt was named after my daughter's nickname as a baby, and is the ultimate super-fast baby quilt as you can cut, piece, quilt, and bind it in a day - easily. The perfect pattern for a last minute baby gift! Special bonus offer ends 8 June.

I hope you love my new patterns as much as I do! If you like the Rhapsody fabrics I've used in these three quilts look out for them at your favourite fabric store. Not long to go now before you can add them to your stash!

Leaf Coasters - A Free Tutorial!

I think you all know by now how much I love anything 'zakka' - I even wrote a book about it! Today I'm a guest blogger on Amy Smart's blog Diary of A Quilter, where I'm sharing a tutorial to make these quilted leaf shaped coasters. Pretty, and useful - that's the essence of 'zakka'.

I love these sweet floral 'pops' of colour on the table - perfect for summer parties or as a thoughtful gift. The black quilting in 12wt Aurifil thread adds an interesting decorative dimension as well as giving the coasters structural integrity. If you would like to make them too you can find the tutorial here.

The fabrics I used for these coasters are from my Rhapsody collection for Riley Blake Designs, which will be available in stores any day now! Look out for it at your local quilt store, or your favourite online fabric store. I also have a new Aurifil thread box which accompanies this collection, and contains a lot of my go-to designer colours - a must-have for anyone who is a fan of my fabrics.

Thanks for visiting today and if you make these coasters please tag me @downgrapevinelane on Facebook or Instagram as I would love to see them. Happy sewing!

New cutting table | Crochet makes

My incredibly talented husband built me a fantabulous cutting table and I cannot be happier with it!

It's based on these free DIY plans by Ana White - though hubby changed the dimensions for me to the precise size I needed for my space. I bought these white containers from Kmart Australia which are a steal at $4 each, and I love how neatly they fit into the shelves. There is more shelving and white containers on the window side of the table, and the opposite long side is empty in the middle so I can use it as a sewing desk when I'm quilting a big quilt. It's also on castors so I can move it out of the way if I need the floor space. This desk is seriously a dream come true - it's transformed the way I work already!

When I shared the pics above on Instagram yesterday it broke my all time record in terms of number of likes and comments received by a post! Everyone loved it! This morning I told my husband: 'Oh my goodness, they like what you've made more than they like what I make!". He replied: "It's understandable - they're only human." Oh he does have a cheeky wicked sense of humour sometimes - seriously though, he is a keeper!

To show you the other side of the room, I have a long desk that's a computer desk on one side  and sewing desk on the other. The desk and drawers are from Ikea, so are the glass cabinets on the other side of the room. This picture was taken a few months back whilst I was still using the desk for cutting too - the mat is now on my new cutting table in the middle of the room, and I've moved the sewing machine to the middle of that leg space on the right. So much room now for everything, and I can just scoot on my chair between my computer and sewing machine as I need. The chair is white leatherette from Freedom and about 2 years old, and still looks brand new! It's wearing so well even though I'm on it most of the day, every day. Any stains wipe clean and no sign of yellowing - highly recommend.

I love how white and clean the space is - and very minimalist (though of course it doesn't always look as tidy as this!). I realised that as a designer I work much better in a neat and clean environment with as few visual distractions as possible.  A big contrast to my old sewing room where the walls were covered in mini quilts. It was sad packing them up into storage but they simply had to go! The only decorations adorning my walls now are a framed watercolour picture and my Scandinavian style wall clock (both from Temple & Webster).

In other news, I realised there were a couple of crochet things I made recently that I haven't had a chance to share here on the blog. I discovered the whole world of crocheting with packaging twine, thanks to Wendy @sewknotcrochet on Instagram. I simply had to drop everything, go to the hardware store to buy some twine (cotton variety, not the rough jute variety), and make the same basket and bag that Wendy had made!

Wendy has now published the pattern for the basket which you can purchase from her Etsy store. The bag pattern is from a YouTube tutorial by Fiber Spider - I made my handles longer to use it as a market bag. The basket and the bag both cost just a few bucks each, and they feel so strong and sturdy, and I'm sure will last a long time.

Thanks for visiting today and hope this post gave you some sewing room and crochet inspiration! 
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