Norah Quilt Sew Along - 2022
It's that time of year again! The official start to the Norah Quilt Sew Along!
Here is a little recap of the origins of the Norah Quilt and how she got her name. Several years ago, I made a baby quilt for my friend Janelle (you may know her as @NanandNorah on Instagram). She was expecting a little girl, Norah! Fast forward a few years later, I decided to make another and several friends wanted to sew along. The sew along was born and, of course, it had to be called The Norah Quilt!
The Norah Quilt is more a process than a pattern. You can customize your Norah to be any size, any width strip, square or rectangular. The two design elements that make the Norah unique is the off-set center and the color blocking.
I made my Norah with an off-set center. A traditional log cabin begins with a center block and that center is often red, to represent the fire in the home. To off-set the center, I began by adding "logs" to only two sides of the center block. You can choose to two, three or more "logs" to two sides. It's totally up to you!
Once the off-set center is complete, I wrap a neutral color once around the entire unit. Begin at the top of the off-set unit and wrap the neutral strips around counter clockwise. I consider this entire unit the center of the Norah Quilt.
Here is a diagram to illustrate the steps in which to stitch the strips for the center unit. My dear friend, Jenni (@sewlavenderstitches) created this diagram to assist in her Norah sewing. Jenni used 2" wide strips for her Norah. If you use different width strips, your length for the strips will be different. For instance, if you have chosen to cut your strips 3" wide. Your center (#1) will be 3" X 3". The next log (#2) will be 3" x 3".
I've made about 5 Norah Quilts now and I usually choose red or pink for the center. And then I add logs that are darker, often navy or brown. This gives the Norah a very distinct center and adds a bit of drama!
Once you have your 4 colors decided (a color for each of the 4 sides) and your scraps sorted, it's time to begin building a Norah. If you are making a large Norah, my recommendation would be to make all your strips wider. I stitched a larger Norah using 3" strips rather than 2" strips. This allows you to grow the Norah faster and with less trips around the center. The Norah can get a bit puffy in the center with added trips around and around the center in the same direction. I have had a couple quilts which didn't lay completely flat, but I haven't had trouble spray basting them smooth.
My tips for keeping everything smooth and square:
If you are making a large quilt, choose to cut wider strips. Or increase the size of your strips as the quilt becomes larger. Don't cut all your strips at once, in case you decide to start increasing the width after you have started.
Cut your strip to the exact length needed before stitching to each side.
Pin, pin, pin! Once your strip is cut to match the length needed, find the center of the strip and the center of the quilt side and pin. Pin at the ends and, ease in any fullness, and pin between.
Let your machine do the work! Don't stretch or pull as you stitch. The pins will also help avoid stretching.
Square up each corner before adding the next strip.
Starch can help! I like to use Faultless Premium starch.
Cut straight strips and use a consistent 1/4" seam allowance.
You can find more tips by reading through last year's post HERE
Each side of your Norah will have a designated color. Choose a variety of shades for each color to keep it interesting. You might want to plan each side so that you have an ombre effect! Starting at the top of the center unit, cut a strip the length of the center unit. Pin the center to the center of the quilt, pin the ends and in between if needed. Stitch using a quarter inch seam allowance. Square up the corners. Contine measuring, cutting, pinning and stitching and squaring up the corners, in a clockwise manner around the quilt.
It's a pretty simple process! You can see more Norah Quilts by visiting the hashtag #norahquiltsal . So much inspiration! We will be posting more inspiration and tips from guest Norah stitchers in the weeks to come. Look for those on Instagram.
Lastly, be sure to hashtag your Norah posts with #norahquiltsal.
I will be sharing the a fun little Norah Quilt Pinnie this week. It's a simple Foundation Paper Pieced Norah and perfect for those Norah scraps! Stay tuned for the template and instructions!