Midnight at the Oasis First Quilt Along Session

Hi everyone, and welcome to my first ever quilt along.  I’ve tried to include as much information and hints as possible.  I hope we all enjoy making this quilt together.

Overview and General Observations:

I encourage you to read all the instructions before you begin this project.  You may find you have a better or different way of accomplishing the same thing.

One of the things I really like about Jen Kingwell’s patterns, she is a firm believer in using as many of the fabrics that you love in each quilt.  She has said before, if you are using 6 fabrics, they really need to match.  If you use 200, they really don’t need to.  She uses two or three fabrics to hold everything together. In Midnight at the Oasis, she has used the black and gray polka dot, the gray and white check and the bright green inner border.  The other consistent thing about the quilt is the outside border.  Each block uses the polka dot and another fabric in concentric squares.

Whenever I begin a project, the first decision I need to make is what colors/fabrics to use.

If I see something in a magazine, book or pattern that I really like, I try to decide what I really like about it (or don’t like).  Is it the colors, patterns, design, layout?  Once I figure out what is drawing me to that project, the rest is pretty easy.

When I look at Midnight at the Oasis, I immediately like the overall layout and design.  I like the value changes from section to section.  The center square is dark, first border light, second border dark, next border light, then dark again.  The outside border has the darker polka dot, but I don’t think it reads too dark.  More of a medium.

What I don’t like is the black and gray polka dot that appears so prominently.  I don’t like that you can’t see the applique vine and flowers, so I will change that for sure.  In Jen’s pattern, she has used a complimentary gray and white check for the secondary background.  I do like the check, so I’ll plan to use a check that works well with my new primary background.

The small borders that separate each border are consistent and super fun.  Don’t know what I’ll use yet, but I definitely want something that stands by itself.

Fabrics I've decided to use (for now)

Fabrics I’ve decided to use (for now)

Fabric and Color Selection:

I decided to use a light red dot on white background for my primary fabric, and a fun red/white check for the secondary fabric.  I tried several fabrics for the small borders and finally decided on this red/multi fabric.

The pattern calls for 2 – 1/4 yds of the primary background fabric.

3/4 yd. secondary background

1 yard for the tiny borders and binding.

The pattern calls for 2 to 2 – 5/8 yds of the feature fabrics.  My fabric calculations turn out to be closer to 5 yards.  If you are using fabrics from your stash, use whatever you have on hand.  You won’t be concerned so much about how much you will need.

– If you choose to use fat sixteenths, plan to get a wide variety.  Each yard has 16 fat sixteenths.  So you should select 80 or so fabrics for your project.

– If you are planning to use fat eighths, each yard has 8, so you will need 45 or so.

I want a wide variety, so I have chosen 80 fat sixteenths.  I have lots of dots, stripes and small floral patterns.

 * Most of us are used to patterns that give us the number of strips we’ll need to make the blocks in the quilt.  In this case, we will need to make (52) Churn Dash, (44) Courthouse Steps, and a Checker Board border.  Since Jen is a hand piecer, she has you cut out each piece individually.  For example, cut (276) 1 ½” x 1 ½ “ squares of background fabric, and (276) 1 ½” X 1 ½” squares of a large variety of prints for the checkerboard border.  I am a machine piecer, and machine quilter.  I will piece 1 ½” strips, alternating a [background, print, background] and subcut into 1 ½” sections to sections I have cut from a [print, background, print] strip set.

 Since we are not given the number of strips for each block, I recommend cutting the strips for piecing before you cut out your applique pieces.  This way, you will know exactly how much you can use of each for your applique pieces.  I guestimate the following number of strips to cut from each print, but as I say, we may need more when we get there.

Cutting the Strips

Cutting the Strips

From each fat 16th, cut the following strips:

(2) 1 – 7/8″ x 9″ strips – these will be used for the churn dash corners

(2) 1 ½” x 9″ strips – these will be used for the checkerboard border along with your secondary border, and the centers of your churn dash blocks.

(5) 1″ x 9″ strips – you need (2) 1″ x 9″ strips for the churn dash blocks, and (3) 1″ x 9″ for each courthouse steps block along with 1″ strips of the primary background.

You will also need about 20 or so 1″ x 6″ strips to be used as the vines in the 2nd border.


The next Sew Along post will be on  October 31 and will be about preparing templates for cutting.

Your homework will be to make your fabric selections.


Midnight at the Oasis Quilt Along

We’ve been wanting to do a Quilt Along for awhile, and we love Jen Kingwell designs, so this was a perfect match.  This will be the first quilt along we’ve done, so please be patient with us.

midnight at the oasis 2

This will be a fairly relaxed QAL (quilt along).  I will be posting about every two weeks about my experience and suggestions in constructing the center block, borders and finishing work.  Like every other project I tackle, there will be a lot of improvisation and throwing the printed instructions out the window.  You’ll find that I love to make beautiful quilts and I’m willing to try just about anything to make it work.  When I run into a technique I’m not sure about, I give it a try.  If it doesn’t work for me, I find an easier way to accomplish the task.  I’ll be sharing those tips with you.

How it works.  We’ll publish a series of posts detailing each step in the process.  You can quilt along with us, ask questions, and share your techniques and advice with others.  You can follow along at our speed or go at your own pace as posts will remain on this blog even after the quilt along has been completed.

Schedule of Posts

  • October 17th — Ann’s Overview and General Observations on the pattern, including Fabric and Color Selection.
  • October 31 — Constructing the center section including templates, piecing triangles,  applique of circles, and more.
  • November 14 –Border one.
  • Ann is still working on the pattern, so there will be additional posts for the other borders, etc.

Purchasing the Pattern

We have plenty of patterns available in our store.  You can shop online by clicking here

I’ve started a Flickr group so that we can all share our progress, and if you use Instagram, you can use the tag #midnightheartsong.

So, are you anxious to join us in making this amazing quilt? We would love to have you join us!