Thursday, 10 January 2013

Scrappy

Amongst my daily mooching of blogland and of course, Pinterest, I couldn't help but notice an awful lot of images of a pretty fabulous quilt design.  It promised to facilitate some serious stash busting and well, I have quite a serious stash to bust!



I quickly discovered that a major QAL was going on, that's a "quilt-a-long" to you and me.  I didn't hesitate much before deciding to join right on in as a "trip around the world" quilt had long been on my admittedly rather extensive to-do list.  This quilt has a slightly different design in that it has many "trips around the world" within it and the idea is that it is super scrappy, though of course, if one wants, it can be more orderly.  There's a huge and thriving Flickr group devoted to this QAL with lots of massively inspiring  pics.  Pop over for a look.  I dare you not to be tempted!  

Fab, eh?  (You'll find a link there to the instructions for making the quilt top, too.)

So it starts with stripping, ooh err missus! I made my usual "buffet" to allow me to select strips at random for each block.  I haven't cut all the strips before starting, far too boring, I've just been cutting some strips in between making each couple of blocks.  That way, my blocks are quite random.  The strips are 2.5" by 16" so fit nicely out of a fat quarter, by the way.


 
So you select six strips and sew them all together.  You then need to iron the seams in a particular direction.  I couldn't understand the instructions at first but I worked it out in the end and drew myself a little diagram (I even coloured it in, how sad!) which I keep over in front of my ironing board to make sure I get it right.





You then sew the two side ends together which gives you a sort of "roll" and you take this to your cutting mat where the magic begins.  Shock, you are going to take up your rotary cutter and cut six "slices" from your roll.


More shocking still, you're going to need your trusty seam ripper at this point  Yucky, there's nothing worse than seam ripping is there, but fear ye not, as it's gentle seam ripping and in this case, it has a good purpose.

You simply rip out the seam between two of the little squares and open out the "slice".  You do this with each slice, only each time, you open up the seam above the one you just opened.  You need to be careful and organised with this to get it right but it's simple enough.  It gives you the stepped design you can see emerging in the photo below.  Oooh, clever, right?


Once you've sewn those six strips together, you have your block.   Just think how long it would have taken to cut those 36 2.5" squares and sew them together individually.

The block is not looking quite flat here as I haven't ironed the final seams, yet.  Until I arrange all the finished blocks into my final design, I am not sure which way I want the seams to be pressed.


Before you know it, you have a whole load of blocks.  It takes me about half an hour to make a couple and I like that you can just fit in a few here and there between all those dull household chores.  It's quite handy to combine with ironing, I find, as you are already spending quite a bit of your time pressing seams over at the ironing board.  I tend to operate a reward scheme: "When I've ironed a few shirts, I can make a couple more blocks"!


If you are tempted to join in, there are a few things I've learnt along the way:

  • Make sure you are careful and accurate with the basics.  So, cut your strips accurately and sew with proper quarter inch seams.
  • Be careful with your pressing, too.  Don't use too much steam or stretch the strips when you're ironing them, you want to maintain those straight lines to make things easy on yourself later. 
  • I  am impatient and after two rows, I soon realised I was not going to pin together all the zillions of rows it would take to make a sizeable quilt.  I do however, like my squares to all butt together accurately so careful cutting and pressing allows me to simply hold the rows together as I feed them through the machine, and pull or push the squares together just a little here and there to get them just right.
  • You can be as random or as ordered with this pattern as you like and I guess that's down to personal preference.  Personally, I like the quilts which have a bit of pattern going on but still look random and scrappy.  It's clear some folks have completely winged it, others have made sure they have an orderly scheme going on.  You can achieve this by placement or colour.  To this end, the longest diagonal on your block makes the most impact so I've started to give a bit of thought to what colour to use in that spot.  The main diagonal is going to start with the square at the bottom left of your block, so be mindful of that when you start cutting and ripping open your slices.
  • I work on two blocks at a time; this allows me to chain piece with the minimum of stop-starting and cutting threads, and I can keep track of everything with that number.
  • I have two boards on each of which I arrange a set of six strips (use cardboard, spare cutting mat, kitchen tray) and I then work from left to right on each board to keep things ordered.  I carry the boards to and from my ironing board, always keeping each set together and in order.  It depends on how much room you have in order to do this, but if your sewing table is not big enough for both boards, you can make more space by setting up another chair, set of little steps (that's what I do), or a big box on the floor next to you.
  • At first, it can be tricky to know where to rip open your slices and you want to get that right.  Once you've opened up your first slice, lay it out flat and note the two colours at the top.  The seam to rip open in the next slice is the one between those top two colours.  
Clear as mud, eh?  I think you need to have a go and you'll know what I'm wittering on about, honest!

What you should not do, of course, is decide that you really neeeeeed certain colours or fabrics to go in your scrappy trippy quilt and then go online and naughtily order a few.


Bad, bad Hen.


So I've had a little play with the sixteen blocks I've made up so far.  The blocks will measure 12" finished and so I think I'm about half way there.  I'm starting to see a pattern emerging and getting a better idea of how to order my blocks but to be honest, I am not overly concerned.  The beauty of this pattern is that you can just sew along in an entirely haphazard way and still achieve a pretty cool result.  Very liberating.  




Go on, you know you want to!



46 comments:

  1. Wow, wow and wow!! Your fabric stash is one of dreams!! I love all the colours and I love the quilt. Very inspiring indeed. x

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  2. Wow that's absolutely beautiful you are very clever. Kay x

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  3. wow, thanks for all the tips, .. it has been on my to try list for years, quilting

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  4. well...as fate would have it I have been ironing all my stash as well.!!! I to am going to make this!! YO
    our colors are gorgeous.. I go for the same colors as you do!! I am thinking I might do a red and white though!! Have fun!!

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  5. well...as fate would have it I have been ironing all my stash as well.!!! I to am going to make this!! YO
    our colors are gorgeous.. I go for the same colors as you do!! I am thinking I might do a red and white though!! Have fun!!

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  6. Hello Hen,yes I would love to, but I fear my brain might explode! looks very complicated.... or is it just me :-) I am in awe of your quilting skills and you iron shirts at the same time!!!! oh my!!
    it is looking amazing.
    sophie xx

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  7. Fantastic, would you share your top fabric shops. I know you use CK fabrics but to know where you go for some of your other fabrics would be great. I love this idea and like you have seen many out there in blogland.

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  9. Wowzers - it is all so neat and tidy! This is why I do not patch often - I am far too "oh - it'll be alright" and then I am dissaponted with the results.

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  10. Your scrappy quilt is gorgeous!! I love all your beautiful prints, and oh my is your stash just pure eye candy!! Happy quilting!! xo Heather

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  11. Just lovely Hen, lots of careful stitching there! :) x

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  12. I am very impressed with your stash! And I have been eyeing this quilt, but not ready to start it. Thanks for the link so I can pin it and start when I have less projects piling up around me.

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  13. Hi Hen - well you have put the cat among the pigeons (sorry hens!). Here I was just having a browse in Blogger before I made the tea and now I have a quilt to start!!!!! Can't resist, it looks lovely. Cheers Sharon PS Your stash looks heavenly.

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  14. Those colours are stunning all placed together! It made me chuckle though after I finished admiring your photo of the shelves filled chock-a-block with with fabulous fabrics and I read that you had brought more fabric!

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  15. Your quilt is going to be amazing. I love the colours and patterns. The Flickr group is completely divine!
    Claire

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  16. As a non-quilter.. I just enjoyed seeing what you made, but can't join in. I loved how the pattern turned into 4 big diamonds! Bravo! By the way, everyone is jealous of my felt brooch I bought from you.. I'll send them your way. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  17. That is a cracking QAL- really impressive results. The simple strip and square can give such amazing variety...might just find myself doing some of these.

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  18. Looking lovely, this quilt is so good for random fabrics. I started mine this week after seeing all the lovely pics on flickr. It really is addictive. Look forward to seeing your finished quilt.

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  19. Wow.What a stash.I hope its insured!!The quilt is looking spectacular.

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  20. I'm making a scrappy around the world quilt from odds and end

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  21. That is just lovely (and seemingly very doable)! I want to live on one of your stash shelves. You don't mind, do you?

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  22. I am so envious of that incredible stash and the blanket is lovely!!

    Well done. I'm inspired to tidy my own stash now!

    Cx

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  23. great !
    Greetings from Poland :)
    Katarzyna

    www.sajuki.blogspot.com

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  24. Oh, it's stunning! I love the colors you've used. I especially like the addition of reds and oranges; those are colors I often shy away from but I'm learning that they can be very necessary! As always, your work is beautiful. Thank you for all the tips, they are very helpful.

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  25. WOW! thats pretty amazing!!!

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  26. Thank you for making those instructions easy to understand.. Looks like you are going to have a wonderful quilt when finished.. :)

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  27. wow that's fantastic! One day I will find the time to make a quilt :) xx

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  28. Well....think I'll run up a couple of those tonight! Ha,ha!
    Stunning and gorgeous Hen.
    Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.
    Not got my blogging mojo back just yet.

    Bellaboo XX

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  29. Love your scrappy quilt along Hen!! It looks amazing! I'm on the case with it too ;) its so fun! I started at the beginning of Jan and still haven't completed all my blocks, I'm a bit of a quilting snail! :)
    Jessie, xo

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  30. Dear Hen,

    wow, thanks for all the tips. I will try this soonest. Have a great weekend. Nicolexxx

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  31. Tienes el paraíso de las telas...
    un abrazo
    Natalia

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  32. Nice job!
    I'm resisting..for now x

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  33. I only wish I could!SO beautiful - I literally gasped as I scrolled down to see the final photos. Can't wait to see the finished product.

    Jo x

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  34. This is a perfect example of why I've never managed to make a quilt, I'd never have gotten past the stage of playing around with all the fantastic colours and prints you've chosen! it's absolutely beautiful.

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  35. Great tutorial. You make very good and clear tutorials. Much appreciated. This block is now written down on my Quilt-blocks list.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  36. Thanks for sharing this Hen. I love what you're doing just seeing where it'll take you. The cutting techniques you show will help me even more in my quilting quest of time saving.

    Lisa X

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  37. Oh oh oh....... I do love your stash! And thanks for sharing the tutorial!
    XXX Clara.

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  38. I love this and your tips are great. I printed a copy of your ironing instructions and keep it on the ironing board. So glad you colored it in..lol. I am very cuRious to know how the final pressing will go. These blocks are just like potato chips, can't do just one. Thanks for the info.

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  39. I love this. Your tips are so helpful. I am well on my way and am very curious to know how the final pressing of the blocks will go. I keep a copy of your ironing diagram on my ironing board. So glad you colored it in. :)

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  40. Very informative and inspirational... thank you!

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