MSBHQAL – It Begins!

My glitter children, the day has come. All the way from Japan, it is time to officially kick off the Molli Sparkles Broken Herringbone Quilt Along. Yes, I am talking about the famous, hash tag friendly, #MSBHQAL. Grab that red lippy, put on the open-toed sling back heels, and let’s get this party twerking. First things first, this QAL is all about attitude. Nicki: Show us how it’s done.
You are who you are, so work what your momma gave ya! That goes for your boobs blocks as well, make what you can, and don’t worry about what you can’t. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Oh, yes, Sweet Sweet Brown. If you make a mistake, consider it a lesson learned, if you don’t like the colours, offer it up for a trade on the Flickr group, if you need more teal fabric, reach out! I want us all here to help, and to support each other. With the right attitude, we can do anything!

If you missed the memo, I’m coming to you live from Japan this week–taking this international party even more international! I’ll be here all week–there is a lot of fabric to buy–but will still be available for consultation. If there ever was a place for me to fulfill my dreams of being drenched in sparkle dust it must be Tokyo! 
Well, while I’m doing that, let’s see you get your broken herringbone groove on! This is a party after all! First up, you’re gonna need the tutorial:

That’s the one! Now this tutorial looks much harder than it really is. Even with all those angles, you’re still sewing and joining straight lines, and nothing on the bias. Anne has laid it out really clearly with step by step instructions and photos. 
A few pointers from my perspective though:
  • Now would be a good time to change your rotary blade and your sewing needle.
  • Use fat quarters, 1/2 yards, and jelly rolls which already have one side cut for you.
  • Cut out a stack of bars and WOF sashing first, then get your chain piecing self on!
  • No need to iron those strip sets until you’ve got a stack. Stay seated and join the chain gang.
  • When you do iron them, iron the seams to the side towards the coloured fabric, away from the sashing. Not too much bulk to worry about.
  • Make your blocks consistently the same way. Find the same line on your cutting mat and always position your bars and block on it. It will create a muscle memory and have you flying through them in no time.
  • Don’t let the angles scare you. Everything is at a right angle, which are the angles in a square. We’re all capable of dealing with squares, right? Right. Angles. Right, right, see, I was right. You can do this!
  • There are eleven possible spaces for fabric, so if you are using six fabrics for a completely scrappy look, one of them will only be seen once. See that odd pink out in the block above? Yep, only seen once. Consider it.
  • You can get away with a strip of fabric that is 2.5” x 16” if you’re crafty. Maybe try it around block 3 after analysing your scraps.
  • Save your scraps. (If you don’t want them, send them to me, I’ll take them!) You’ll have a great string collection by the time it’s all said and done. 
  • If you have a 12.5” square ruler it will help you, and curse you. When squaring up the width to 13”, and you are using said ruler, remember you’re squaring the width to 13”. Um, yes, that is in fact a half inch bigger than your ruler. My first block I squared up to a 12.5” width, from the right edge, which meant my top center triangle was off-center. Check twice, cut once!
  • Wait until your third block to get frustrated, and then if you’re stuck, let’s chat. No seriously, iMessage me, and we’ll make it happen.
  • After you’ve made a few, see if you can do it without looking at the tutorial, and only reference the blocks you’ve made. This will help your brain lock in the process.
If you’ve got some pointers to share, please send them to me and I will add them to this list! Now, I  just want to talk about fabric selection for a bit. I’ve already given you some major tips with this post but to reiterate, this block loves contrast. Don’t go putting white bars, next to white sashing, it just won’t pop. Play around with different colours within a block, or keep each block to one colour,  or work with your fave line of fabric–for the most part, it’s totally flexible! Y’all know I’ve been preaching on the solids train, so check it:

You can do each block a solid, or create a whole solid euphoria! A whole rainbow within one block, how could I not? Is it raining men, yet? 
Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but just to refresh you, this is where we are gonna wind up. It’s important to know where you came from, and just as important to know where you’d like to go!

I’m aiming for twenty-four blocks, so don’t let this little baby quilt fool you. I gotta have a rainbow blanket big enough to wrap up all my fabulousness. And there is a lot of it! I hope you’re measuring the same way!
Now, you’ve got what you need to get started: the tools, the tutorial, and the tips. But I want to give you … MORE, MORE, MORE! (<–lyrical reference!) It wouldn’t be a party if I wasn’t giving stuff away! So this is how it’s gonna shake down. I want you to spend this week making at least one test block. Be gentle on yourself, go slow, pay attention, and feel it out. If you make a mistake, don’t worry about it! This is just for practice. Hey, and if it turns out perfectly, you can include it in your quilt. If not, meh, use it for a label, or throw the sucker away.

Once you’ve made it, send me a photo (email’s in the sidebar, yo) and then comment on this post that you’ve done so. A bit trickier than normal, but I want to check up on you, and I want to give you something worth the effort. Next Monday, I’ll randomly draw a winner from eligible entrants, and I’ll be sending you a small MSBHQALB from Intrepid Thread. Oh, yes, honey, yes.
I just got mine this week, and had to shut the front door over how crazy fresh it is. It included some old favorites, and some new must haves. Oh, hey there Collage! Waterfront Park, nice to meet you. Constellations, the pleasure is all mine. Sketch, you’re totally invited. Posy, stop being a wallflower. Mr. Teal Ombre, I don’t know where you came from, but come lay yourself on my mat because I want to cut. you. up. Mmm. Hmm!

So that wraps up our kick off day folks! All MSBHQAL posts will be added in the top menu bar so you can easily find them. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions, and I can’t wait to see what blocks you make this week!

Oh, and one more thing: you’re gonna need a button. I’m wearing twenty-three of them right now. Of course I had mine custom made out of Swarovski crystals, but I’ll totally let you steal the idea. Put it in your sidebar, put in a post, show the world what you’re making, and tell them about your host!

Our loose schedule:
Week 01 – Sept 02 – Sept 08 – Introduction to the Tutorial
Week 02 – Sept 09 – Sept 15 – Suggested Blocks: Pink, Red, Orange
Week 03 – Sept 16 – Sept 22 – Suggested Blocks: Yellow, Green, Teal
Week 04 – Sept 23 – Sept 29 – Suggested Blocks: Blue, Blue-Violet, Indigo
Week 05 – Sept 30 – Oct 06 – Sashing, Sandwiching, Basting
Week 06 – Oct 07 – Oct 13 – Quilting
Week 07 – Oct 14 – Oct 20 – Binding & Label
Week 08 – Oct 21 – Oct 27 – Show & Tell

52 Responses

  1. Katy Cameron says:

    Heh, I knew there was a reason I had a 15 1/2" ruler ;o)

  2. The O's says:

    I'm ready but not IYKWIM… delivery of a wardrobe and the new kitchen being delivered (which has totally been modelled around Thermi) being delivered next Friday… TIMING!!!! eek!

  3. Jenna says:

    Block email sent! Very glad I am getting an early start. This is no joke, yo!

  4. Sooli says:

    Oh I like a loose schedule, lets hope its loose enough for me!

  5. I'm with Jenna on getting that early start. Block email sent!

  6. Rita says:

    OOOO! My fingers are all tingly with anticipation! I'm starting right now! Who needs sleep, right?

  7. God you make me laugh lol 😉

  8. Emily says:

    I emailed my first block to you 🙂 Happy Blogiversary!

  9. Julie says:

    The Teal yo wonder about is Lush Uptown 🙂

  10. Vera says:

    Oh my goodness what an organized B**** you are! Thanks for making this happen. I sent email as well. XO

  11. Anne says:

    You're bringing back my teen years listening to Alphaville's "Big in Japan" on repeat until my parents went insane.
    I can't wait to see what everyone makes!!

  12. memmens says:

    Can't wait to get started but will have to wait until tonight and children are in bed!
    I'd love to add a button to my blog but I think I need the html code – I can add the button but it doesn't link back to you…

  13. charlotte says:

    Love it love it love it!!! I am off on Mondays so I can get started right away!!! Sorry, just a bit excited here. Can't wait to see my first block!!! Keep finding that great fabric in Japan!

  14. audrey says:

    I pulled all of my hot pink fabrics last night, and I'm ready to go. I was seriously hoping you'd make a button, and it's even PINK! You are the best!

  15. I'm going all blue! My first block has been emailed.

  16. Leo says:

    Yeaha! (my) button is there (?here?) and I will make an excuse for you and allow something glittery on my blog. I'm not much use anymore.
    I will start pulling the fabric – but I feel too stupid to interprete the tutorial right now … to much McLuhan and greatly confusing English (Canadian) sentences.
    [That first moving picure/miniclip is really really scary – going to give me nightmares]

  17. Longvacation says:

    I've emailed my first block.

  18. memmens says:

    I've made my first one and I love it – emailed a photo just now. Enjoy Japan

  19. RobinSue says:

    So much fabric to choose from – I must decide on something so I can catch up with the others!

  20. So, I already have a plan for the quilt fabrics I want to use, but I want to buy that fabric bundle just for fun. AH-mazing. I can't even handle it.

  21. Deb says:

    Just sent my e-mail with my purple block – LOVE it! This is going to be really fun, and I LOVE the bright fabrics. I don't have a blog, hope you'll still let me participate!

  22. Muttmomkay says:

    hey nolli

    sent you an email. I have my first block done. See my blog

    love you, kay

  23. Allison C says:

    Just sent an image via email of my first attempt. Went well and I'm excited to try more.
    Have fun in Japan!

  24. Kathy S. says:

    Love love love this block! I sent you an e-mail of my "test" block — which came out great due to all of the awesome instructions. Don't worry about doing too many pictures for me. That tute rocks. Happy traveling!

  25. Jenny says:

    I'm on board the MSBHQAL train, tossing glitter out the window as we roll. Emailed you.

  26. JillB says:

    This is my FIRST QAL!!! With all of the FABULOUS info you have given us throughout you blogs – I can't go wrong!!! (At least I am going into this with HIGH confidence….)

  27. Sent you an email! These blocks are additive! I didn't believe it at first but man, I couldn't stop thinking about them. I might end up making all my blocks this week if someone doesn't intervene. Thanks for all the fun!

  28. Sooli says:

    First block done and dusted and emailed to you in a special sparkly email, hope it doesn't all rub off before it gets to you!

  29. Janet M. says:

    First block has been sent your way via email. MSBHQAL rocks!

  30. Suzanne Webb says:

    I made three blocks, one was a flop because I did not center the little triangle and centered the big triangle making one side too short and one side too long. Live and Learn! I will send you an email with photos of all three blocks.

  31. Theglasdiva says:

    I had a great time making this block. I am making several to use in a sewing challenge. I have emailed a pic and posted on the flickr group! Thanks so much for the chance to enter for the prize. I'll post my finished project too when it's completed.

  32. Lisa Marie says:

    I've just emailed a photo of my test block. Can't wait to make more! So cute!

  33. Connie says:

    What a great block! I just emailed you a photo of mine and I would love to win those fabrics!

  34. rappy says:

    I emailed a link to the flickr photo of my block–hope that's ok? Can send a file if you need :). Whee! Loving the herringbone!


  35. Shantelle says:

    I emailed you my block! And I added it your Flickr group. 🙂

  36. Mina says:

    There is no way I'd miss such a sparkly QAL. My blocks are in the Flickr group.

  37. I sent you an email with my Green block.

  38. lynnepusscat says:

    Bonjour and Gruezi from Switzerland!
    I'm in – my first ever QAL – can't wait! Just emailed you my yellow batik practice block. Fabric's hideously expensive here, so thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  39. Jan Barnett says:

    I sent an email. Not proud…:-((

  40. Sam says:

    Hi Molli
    Just emailed photo of test block, which can also be seen at
    Looking forward to the fun of my first QAL.

  41. Paula says:

    Well as you know from Flickr my practice/test block was a bit on the broken side but I've mailed to it you anyway. The rest will be better. I hope.

  42. Green says:

    You've got mail – and it's my test block. smooches!

  43. I sent it in the nick of time. This first one was a bit shaky. Now, for the rest to go smoothly. A girl can dream, anyway.

  44. I know I'm late, since it's Sunday night here in Canada, and probably already Monday there, but my test block is finally done. It took me awhile to decide which layout I wanted. It may look like an odd colour scheme with just the one, but it's gonna be fabulous!!!


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