TIMES UP. WINNER TO BE PICKED BY RANDOM DRAW AND ANNOUNCED IN NEXT POST. THANK YOU FOR PLAYING ALONG!
(Disclaimer: Let me just get this right out there. I'm no expert. Nor am I a pattern writer. I'm just a simple girl, living in the middle of no where, that likes to quilt. And I never follow a pattern. I always wing it. And I'm winging it here with you all. But, I've made enough quilts to know that this one will work and yours will too. If you have questions be sure to join the Flickr group as it is the best place to ask and answer any and all questions.)
Week 3. Doesn't seem possible does it?
Well it is. You've managed to cut your twelve 1/2 yard fabrics into 2.5 inch strips. That is an intimidating step if you've never made a quilt before.
Let's start sewing!
Lay out all of your strips according to like fabric. Then you will pick six different strips. Above is one grouping of six strips. Below is another. Make each six strip grouping different. Different in fabric selection and definitely different in fabric arrangement.
Now, each of these six strip groupings are going to be sewn together.
First, take two strips.
Put the right sides of the fabric together.
Line the edges up together as exactly as you can.
If you are a brand new sewer then it is a good idea to pin these 44 inch length strips together so that you can keep them lined up nicely as you sew them together.
If you've sewn a thing or two before in the past you may opt not to pin them and work them through your machine slowly keeping the edges lined up.
One method is not better or worse then the other.
I'm not here to judge. Do what feels right.
Now you are ready to sew these long strips together. Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance (standard in quilt making). You'll see that from where the sewing machine needle comes down to the edge of the presser foot is 1/4 inch. So as I'm sewing I am sure to keep the edge of my fabric lined up with the edge of my presser foot.
Once you've sewn those two strips together you are ready to sew on the next strip.
Again, like sides of fabric together. Line up the edges. Pin along the length (or not). And sew.
Repeat this process until all six of your strip set are sewn together.
I want to take a minute and point out one of my most favoriest features of the Janome 6600.
See that button there with the scissors on it?
(Excuse me. I'm nearly hyperventilating just thinking about it. It is that good!)
When I'm done sewing and am ready to remove the fabric, I merely push that scissors button and it cuts the threads for me. Both the needle thread and the bobbin thread.
::deep cleansing breath::
Once you have all of your six strips sewn together it is time to press the seams.
In quilting, all seams are pressed to one side (unlike garment making wherein seams are pressed open). When my Mother-in-Law taught me how to quilt she explained it as a means of making a stronger, more secure quilt.
So press the entire length of your six strips.
Once you've pressed the whole piece, lay it out on your cutting mat. You'll see that it will measure 12.5 inches by the width of the fabric (generally 44 inches).
We are now ready to cut these into 12.5" x 12.5" blocks.
Remember when we were cutting the fabric into the strips in the first place? Remember we had to always square up the edge of the fabric before we made our 2.5 inch cut? Well, the same thing goes here. You will want to even up the edge of the fabric and be sure to cut off the selvage edges in the process.
Once that's done, you're ready to cut it into 12.5 inch blocks. Remember it is already 12.5 inches wide. Now all you have to do is cut it 12.5 inches long.
(**If yours isn't 12.5", who cares. All we are going for is square blocks. Square blocks that are all exactly the same. So, if yours came out to 12 inches then cut 12"x12" squares. 11.5 inches? Whoop-de-doo! Cut 11.5" x 11.5" squares. There is no right or wrong answer. You are going for square . . . so just measure.)
You will be able to get three 12.5"x12.5" blocks from each set of six strip sets you sew.
You'll also notice you are left with an odd bit left over. Don't fret. And certainly don't spaz out with your rotary cutter and flail it all around. That thing is dangerous and you could lose a finger.
Cut that remaining bit into 12.5"x7". Really all you are doing is cutting it so that it is a seven inch cut here instead of the 12.5 inch you had done the previous two times. With me?
You will have the option to use these 12.5"x7" blocks later. You'll be able to use them to increase the size of your quilt or to make a table runner in order to practice your piecing and quilting skills.
So there are my three 12.5"x12.5" quilt blocks and my one 12.5"x7" quilt block.
And here they are from another six strip set.
When you are all done sewing and trimming your six strip sets you will have anywhere from 36 to 42 12.5"x12.5" quilt blocks. Why the discrepancy? Remember when you were cutting the twelve 1/2 yards into strips. Sometimes you'd get six strips and sometimes you'd get seven strips. That all depended on how straight your 1/2 yard was cut off the original fabric bolt to begin with. The straighter it was cut to begin with, the less you had to cut when you were lining it all up and preparing to make your strips.
Plus, if you prewash your fabric or not makes a difference in how many strips you get from each 1/2 yard too.
These two reasons are why I could never and can never give you a real clear cut answer as to how big your quilt will be in the end. And precisely the reason we haven't discussed how much backing fabric you'll need yet.
It all depends on the number of quilt blocks your strips yield.
And if you decided to use fat quarters instead of 1/2 yards then you have a whole other set of questions and answers.
Again, go to the Old Red Barn Co. Quilt Along Flickr group to ask and help answer these questions for others. Please. Pretty please?
How about I give away some of the coolest new thread I've discovered? Then will you help answer questions over on the Flickr group?
I knew I could convince you.
Have you seen this Sulky Blendables cotton thread?
Amazingly high quality. (100% Egyptian cotton baby!!)
And amazingly fun to play with!
One lucky winner will win the above 17 spools of Sulky Blendables Cotton thread with the uber-cool storage case.
Leave a comment to this post by 7:00pm ESDT US on Wednesday, June 3, 2009. I'll pick a winner by random draw soon thereafter. Only one entry per person. International entries welcome.
Go forth and conquer.
ETA: My original post said that it would end today. However, that was an error as it will end Wednesday . . . just like the giveaway each week with this quilt along. Sorry!