Scrappy quilt: The start

26 12 2013

I’m in the process of making a lap quilt from my scrap fabrics. I bought a Go! Cutter with a 2.5 inch square die to cut the hundreds of 2.5 inch squares I need for this quilt. The pattern I’m using is this one: http://weddingdressblue.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/100-patch-quilt-tutorial/

The first step in the process was to cut out hundreds of squares! I counted up how many I cut, and it came to more than 2000, and still I had scraps left over. I didn’t touch my fabric stash at all. Using the Go! Cutter saved my sanity — you can cut up to 54 squares at a time and they are ALL the same size and ALL correct. I put them into ziplock bags according to colour and then I left them for a few weeks until I got inspired to start stitching them together. (And to avoid this mammoth task in the future, now when I have offcuts from a quilt, I save the larger pieces and put the smaller ones through the Go! Cutter then add them to the relevant coloured baggie. Even smaller ones either then go into the bin, or I donate them to the local library for their children’s craft activities over the school holidays — small offcuts of wadding make great sheep and snow!)

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Squares in baggies AFTER I’d used up 1160 of them!

I grabbed two pieces from the baggies, then stitched them, chain stitching the next two and so on. I stopped stitching at about 580 pairs, and STILL I have hundreds of 2.5 inch squares left over! If I need more, I’ll just raid my baggies of squares…

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I call these long chain stitched pairs my ‘prayer flags’ as they remind me of the prayer flags in Nepal

The next step was ironing each pair open and snipping the joining threads. What a mindless task that was! Now I had a cutting table covered in pairs of squares…

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Yes, I counted how many pairs I had — see notebook on the right.

After a few more days/weeks of avoiding the next task, I got into it while I was on leave just before Christmas. And that task was deciding how to put these pairs together. It would be easy to just grab a pair and then stitch the next pair I grabbed to it, but I wanted to make sure I had a balance of lights and darks, brights and pastels, etc. so I placed the pairs on my design board (thank goodness for that design board — this task would have been a nightmare otherwise).

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Once I was happy with the ‘randomness’ of colours, tonal values etc., I stitched the first row of 10 squares (5 pairs) together, then pinned them back up. Then the next row and the next until all 10 rows were stitched.

Next came more pressing, this time pressing all the seams in one row the same way, then in the opposite direction for the next row and so on until all 10 rows were pressed. I pinned each row back up on the design board as it was pressed.

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Next came joining rows 1 and 2 together, then 3 and 4, 5 and 6 and so on, nesting the seams together, and pressing the new seam in one direction.

I now had 5 pairs of rows of 10, so these had to be stitched together too, and the seams pressed.

Finally I had a single block of 100 squares!

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I think I’ll need six 100-square blocks for my lap quilt — 2 across, and 3 down. That’s only 600 squares from my stash of 2000+ 2.5 inch squares….

More details as I create the quilt…

Already I reckon I’m about 10 hours (or more) into it, with many more hours to go. Anyone who thinks that paying $300 for a hand-made quilt at a craft fair is too much, has NO idea of how much time and effort goes into it (see this blog post for the costings for a quilt I made a couple of years ago: http://rhondabracey.com/2011/11/06/cost-of-craft-work/).

See also: http://rhondabracey.com/2014/01/28/scrappy-quilt-finished/


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8 responses

26 12 2013
treadlemusic

I couldn’t agree more with your $$$$ assessment!!!! Your “randomness” is wonderful. I don’t own a ‘Go’ but that is the best way to do this……for sure!!!!!!

27 12 2013
Rhonda

I started out cutting these squares using a rotary cutter. While that may be OK for lengths of fabric, it ‘got old’ very quickly for scraps. And it was also back breaking and tiring. So I bought the Go! Cutter *just* for cutting those squares. It was worth it.

27 12 2013
treadlemusic

You are among many who have had that very reason for their purchase. It certainly makes sense when I look around at the “leftovers” I have hanging around. I really look forward to future posts about the quilts that will come from these squares.

1 01 2014
Dawn C.

Wow – to count them all out! Hmm – does OCD mean anything? haha

4 01 2014
weddingdressblue / Deanna

Wow! You are making great progress. I will love to see more as it comes.

19 01 2014
Scrappy quilt: The middle | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] I only needed 400 squares for my scrappy quilt — 100 for each block. Making it 2 x 3 blocks would’ve made it HUGE, so as I wanted a […]

19 01 2014
Easy cathedral windows quilting motif | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] have LOTS of 2″ squares in my scrappy quilt — probably about 500. As all the fabrics are a mixed bag (batiks, cottons, fabric from old […]

28 01 2014
Scrappy Quilt: Finished | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

[…] finished up my scrappy quilt over the Australia Day long weekend. This quilt is for me, and used up lots of 2.5″ squares of scrap fabric. The only ‘new’ fabrics in this quilt were the yellow border fabric and the blue/green […]

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