I showed you a blue and turquoise quilt recently that I made for my husband. Well it strikes me that I perhaps have gone a bit overboard buying those two colors. Sigh. Admittedly there is a wee bit of purple and green mixed in here, but I do have a lot.
And there’s more….
Yup, definitely went overboard. I can still here that voice in my head, I have to buy fabric for that blue quilt I want to make someday. Well, when I finally get to it, I’ll have lots of choices.
Right now I’m cutting 2”ish strips and strings to make a bed quilt someday. I know I need fabric in Florida and it’s easier to put strips in the suitcase.
Julie recently posted this comment:
“I think a helpful thing for new quilters is cloth management during the quilt top process. When free/liberated piecing I think it helps to have a small to mid size piece to work with. It is really hard to sew with 1/2 yard pieces. Sometimes it is hard to cut up a pretty piece of cloth but I think small pieces are easier to handle. If you have a large piece and know you have to cut it up before you sew, but you don't know how you want the shape to look once sewn, what is your advice about cutting? I think this gets into the whole design thing. Even if you are liberated, there is some vision that guides the placement, non? Maybe you could talk about that a little bit. The comfort of cutting out a pattern and sewing it together is real. Getting out of the comfort zone and appearing to just wing it is scary.”
I’ll try to answer this question. First, I agree that it is much easier to use fabric in smaller pieces. I’ve found that if I don’t cut into a piece, it very well might not get used at all.
When I’m starting on a project, I will cut strips for it. My widths of choice are 1”, 1.5”, and 2.5” – there should be an ish on the end of those. I don’t worry about precision or getting the strips as straight as they possibly can be. And I do try to vary it every once in a while, throw in a 1.25” a 1.75” and/or a 2.25”.
If I know that I will be using LOTS of a particular fabric then I may just cut some other widths as well.
If it’s a fabric I have a lot of or am not emotionally attached to, then I’ll probably cut “whole” strips from one selvage to another (so they’ll be about 42” long).
But sometimes I’ll cut out a square and slice it up instead. Or I might cut a 6” strip – that’s the width of one of my favorite rulers so it’s easy to manage. Then I’ll cut that strip in half. One half (approx 6” by 21”) will be set aside, the other cut in half again (in other words, quartered) and then I’ll start cutting it up into different widths. Some of them will be angled. Sorta like this:
The advantage to the 6” method is that you have some larger chunks (such as sky around houses) when you need them.
But I do like my letters and blocks smalls. Those widths might be too small for you. I know some people probably look at these and see a future in the waste basket. If that’s you, then I’d probably go 1.5”, 2.5” and 3” or something like that.
Just don’t think of it as wasting fabric. You WILL use it in a free-pieced or string or crumb project.
Usually when I start a project I have some kind of vision, yes. But it might not be very extensive. I’ll just know that I want to make houses. So I start making houses. If I’m enjoying it, then I decide does it need more? Does it need something else?
I might have a bit of a drawing to guide me. Not always. I might just have a phrase I want to use. My way of working is to just start something and play. I don’t always use the blocks for anything. They’ll get aside and maybe appear in an orphan quilt or I’ll find the perfect place for them someday.
Take a look at how I worked on my quilt Terms of Endearment. I did a fairly decent job of showing pics along the way and discussing my decision making. Go here, here, here, here, and here and all together here.
I cut out strips for that project just the way I described above.
Does that help???
You know you can take a quilt for a model and start there. My first experience with free-piecing was making houses from Gwen Marston’s Liberated Quiltmaking (sadly out of print but hey, at least the price of a used copy has gone down to “just” $50). I’d pick my favorite houses and try to make something similar.
Iluvmyairman asked the following:
“… my problem is binding a quilt by hand. I've always turned the backing to the front and made that my binding, but this time I am using double bias tape quilt binding. It is hard to stitch up by hand. Or maybe it's cause I don't know what I'm doing. ha ha Any thoughts or words of wisdom to help me out?”
The only way I’ve ever attached binding is by sewing it on with the machine and then hand tacking on the back. I’m out of my depth with the double bias tape. Can anyone out there offer some help?
On a complete change of topic, ohmy, I think the sun is out!!! It has been soooo gray and dreary here I’ve been losing my mind. The only brightness was a wonderful visit with Jen aka Hedgehog. Of course neither one of us thought to take photos because we were talking talking talking.
Time to run errands in the break between rainstorms. Ya’all take care!