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Now, do you want to use up some of those strips that have been holed up in your stash? Chances are they are all 2 1/2″ strips, but we’re going to fix that. The precut strips in this quilt are from two bundles of solids. I pulled the ones that are in the same color families as my quilt: red, pink, green. They don’t match the focus fabric as well as the yardage that I pulled. However, I like the scrappy-but-not-too-scrappy feel that this brings to the quilt. (If you are a Type A person and need fabric colors to match perfectly, cut strips from your yardage.) I didn’t have enough precuts and scraps, so hadI cut into my yardage.
The blocks we’ll make this month can stand alone in a quilt, like a rail fence block, and we will use them in basically the same way. You, of course, make the decision about how you want to set them in the row. Remember that I’m making two quilts? In one of my quilts, the strip blocks will form a rail fence row (see above), I started playing with white strips and decided I like them enough to use white to separate the blocks. You can do the same–play with the blocks: rearrange them, add color, cut them at angles, or anything else you can think of. It’s your quilt, after all.
Let’s get started!
- Decisions to make: Which strips will you use? Where can you source strips?
- Rotary cutting Cut fabrics in widths starting with 1 1/2″ width and adding increments up to 2″. Cut some, but not all, of the 2 1/2″ strips in half to make them 1 1/4″.
- Yardage/fat quarters: I’m using fat quarters so I’m cutting everything that length, which is 22″. Quick Tip: I like to stack four pieces of fabric together, matching one edge as closely as possible. I press the four pieces and straighten the edge by cutting with the rotary cutter and ruler. Then I cut strips as normal.
- Strip piecing: (See photo 1 above) Sew the strips together randomly. Try to mix up widths, colors, and fabrics but don’t worry about two shades of the same color next to each other. Quick Tip: Because seams don’t overlap, I sew up everything into blocks of 4-6 strips before taking the bundle to the iron for pressing.
- Pressing: Pressing the seams in one direction makes sewing them together much easier. Later we’ll use some of these blocks to create other types of blocks. That’s when the one-direction pressing will really pay off.
- Recutting: Trim the blocks to straighten.
- Finishing: Determine the block size you tend to gravitate to. For example, I generally sew five or six strips together but somehow the blocks tend to be about 8 to 10 inches in width. You could say it’s my signature. Try to figure out your signature because it helps in matching blocks. If you know your rhythm, everything becomes easier as you work on your quilt. Make extra January and February blocks so you’ll have choices in the coming months when we use them to make different blocks.