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Fair Isle Sew Along, Part 4: Reindeer


Welcome back to the Fair Isle Sew Along! It’s Reindeer Week! Kind of like Shark Week, but more festive. : ) (I promise these reindeer won’t eat you alive!)

When I designed this quilt, I wanted the reindeer blocks to be very pixelated, because I felt that was the most Fair-Isle-ish look. But pixelated quilts are a huge pain—it takes forever to sew all those tiny little squares together. And I find it especially frustrating when you’re sewing dozens of tiny squares together that are the exact same fabric! So I’ve incorporated some short cuts into this pattern that could potentially save you days of your life, but we’ll still end up with something that looks like a pixelated quilt. Or as close as we can get to fully pixelated without pulling hair out. : )

My number one tip this week is consistent seam allowance. Say it with me: Consistent seam allowance. An accurate 1/4″ seam is soooo important when you’re making something with so many seams. If your seam allowance is even the tiniest bit off, that adds up across 12 seams.

But even more important (for this pattern, anyway) than a pinpoint-accurate 1/4″ seam is just that your seam allowances are consistent. If your seam allowances are a hair-width off, but they’re all the same hair-width off, you’ll be fine. It isn’t crucially important for your Reindeer row to be exactly the same width as your Fir Tree row or your Poinsettia Rows—I’ve got some extra space built in along the sides of the quilt to trim and even things up a little if necessary. So don’t freak out if your finished Reindeer blocks aren’t measuring exactly what they’re supposed to. It’ll all be good in the end, I promise. : )

On the other hand, if your seam allowances are all over the map, that’s when you’re going to have problems with this block, because that means your squares within the reindeer won’t line up. If you have issues lining up your seams when you’re sewing together the reindeer, an inconsistent seam allowance is probably to blame. Don’t whip through this as you’re sewing the strips together—slow and straight wins the race here. And if you need to, get out your ruler and measure your seam allowance in a few places. Again, consistency is the key, so if you find your seam allowance veering off here and there, try to pinpoint why in order to correct that.

I spent about 2-1/2 hours sewing together all the strip sets, and another 4 hours or so sewing together the cross-cut strips to complete the block. So all in all, this week’s time commitment for me was around 6-7 hours. Plan accordingly, based on how your time spent has compared to mine in the previous steps. (I know we all sew at different paces—my timing is just meant to help you judge yours!)

Want to sew along with us? You can buy the Fair Isle pattern here. Can’t WAIT to see all your finished reindeer! It truly is satisfying to finish these guys. And once they’re done, all we have are a few simple rows left. Don’t forget to link up below, and/or hashtag #fairislequilt on Instagram. See you next week!

Fair Isle Quilt Sew-Along

10 replies
  1. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    I purchased the pattern earlier and got the first revision, is there another revision so it needs to be printed again. I cant do the sew-a-long right now but I could reprint the pattern with the updates on it. Thanks, love this pattern and cant wait to do it!

    • Lee Heinrich
      Lee Heinrich says:

      Yes, anyone who has purchased the pattern can download it again at any time and will get the corrections! I will send out an email notifying everyone of the update when I get a chance, but you don't have to wait for the email, you can download now using the previously emailed link. If you need more downloads, just let me know.

  2. MareMare
    MareMare says:

    I've got a question for ya: so, when assembling these blocks after having strip pieced and cross cut, do you think it's better to do one whole block at a time before starting a second one, or assembly lining all blocks at once (sewing all A to B units for all 4 blocks at once?)

  3. Celine
    Celine says:

    Oh I'm glad I just read your post I started sewing my blocks this week so I need to check what I have done. I'll try to download the pattern again. Thank you

  4. JanetD
    JanetD says:

    I have my pattern but this will be next year's project. But I just saw the reindeer pillow! May have to do that one now! Love love love this pattern and it's so fun to see the different color combinations


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