I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long: Reflections

QAL Journey

Earlier this week I had a flurry of work finishing the last block and posting my layout tutorial for the I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long. Now I want to take time to share my reflections on the QAL journey. It started in spring when April of JANDA Bend Quilts suggested the idea of hosting a QAL to the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop group. Fourteen of us joined in with April as designers and/or hosts and began making plans. The first block was released on August 1 and the final block was released on December 5. The QAL will wrap up on January 15 with a grand prize drawing based on finished quilt tops. We structured it as a mystery QAL with new blocks released every two weeks. Almost 4,000 people joined the I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long Facebook Group and hundreds of people posted photos of their completed blocks after each block release date. I was amazed and gratified that so many people followed our QAL! It was such a treat to see how all those quilters made our designs their own. I was also tickled by the fans who counted down the minutes to each midnight block release. I thank all of our followers for your enthusiasm and creativity! If you would like to revisit any of the steps in my journey, here are links to all of my I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long posts.

Things I Learned

I learned new techniques from each of the blocks designed by my creative colleagues. Fusible appliqué was a totally new thing for me, one I got to practice on several blocks. As each designer shared their pattern, and the hosts shared their tips, I picked up so many new ideas about design, color, and block construction. The quilt along experience was like taking an amazing quilting class with a whole panel of teachers. I had never participated in a quilt along before, much less helped plan and host one. I learned so much from my colleagues about structuring a quilt along, getting the word out, managing a Facebook group, and keeping up with deadlines. We worked collaboratively using the Slack team platform to communicate, share files, and make decisions. We had been introduced to the Slack platform during the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers experience and it worked really well for our purposes. In fact it was somewhat amazing that fourteen people could move a project along collaboratively without getting bogged down. Quilters are the most wonderful colleagues!

Designers and Hosts

Speaking of wonderful colleagues, if you aren't following these talented women yet, you really should visit their blogs. We come from many parts of the world ... all across the United States, Ireland, Wales, Nigeria, and South Africa. A passion for quilting ties us all together.

2018 QAL Announcement

We're excited to announce that we will be doing a Fall themed quilt along in 2018! We're still ironing out the details, but we'll let you know more as soon as we do. Announcements about the 2018 quilt along will be made right here on my blog, as well as in the I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long Facebook group so stay tuned. ~ Sandy Day 9 of The 2017 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge (Yes I skipped a few days. I'm ok with that if you are.)