Clever, right? Well, I have a “Quilt in Progress”, and I came up with an awesome TIP today! So…there ya go. I could have called it A Quicker Way to Hedgerow…and it probably would have made more sense!
I am working on a quilt for my mother in law. I’m hoping to get it done by Christmas…but it’s my first queen sized quilt, so this is going to test the limits of my (limited) attention span!
Seeing as how that attention span is so *ahem* limited, I set my brain to thinking about the piecing process for the blocks. I need 56 blocks. Each one has an identical center piece. There are four rings on each block, and I have six fabrics to choose from. Right. Here goes a little math. I wanted to figure out if there was a way to streamline my process, while still keeping the blocks random looking. Then I thought…what if I just wanted to make all the blocks different. So, starting with the inner ring. If there are 56 blocks, and six fabrics, that means that there will be two fabrics that will start out on ten of the blocks, and four fabrics that will start out on nine of the blocks. Make sense? That gives me…10 blocks starting with light blue, 10 blocks starting with the plaid, 9 blocks of navy, nine blocks of stripes, nine blocks of pink floral, and nine blocks of green floral. 10+10+9+9+9+9 = 56. (Right?! Please tell me I’m right.)
So, that figured out, I wanted to see if there was a way to streamline the actual sewing process. For the first nine blocks, with the light blue inner ring, I sewed a piece, snipped, ironed, sewed the next bit, snipped, ironed…and kept on going on like that, completing each ring, until the entire block was finished. In the hour I could carve out, before the kids started falling over themselves and moaning for sustenance, I could finish two, maybe three blocks, completely.
Today, I decided to try something new, using a tip a friend taught me – linked up sewing!
So, here are all my strips, lined up and ready. I counted my centers out into appropriate piles (of either 10 or 9). Then I grabbed a strip, lined up one of the centers (right sides together, strip on the bottom) and started sewing. New the end of the square center piece, I grabbed another center, placed it about 1/4” down from the first piece, and just kept on sewing! I continued on until that pile was gone, then grabbed the next color strip and set to work on the second pile.
After that, I snipped off the pieces, flush with the right side…
…then sat down and evened out the left side. Oh, and I pressed them after this.
I made sure everything was still in its right pile, grabbed matching strips of fabric…and kept going! Today, during my hour, instead of finishing two or three complete blocks, I finished the first two sides of the first ring…on 46 blocks. Not bad! I might finish this thing before Christmas after all!
So, the tip is – make like a Ford and start an assembly line. To save thread and time, try to link up your pieces. (This works any time you have lots of straight seams to do, all in a row.)
Did anyone else notice how convoluted this whole process is, all under the guise of “easier”? Yeah…in college, my professors said my mind worked in “interesting ways”, too. Heh. Maybe that’s what they mean when they say Creative Thinker!
And now, for something completely different – the actual state of my work space right now. OY. This room is the ONE spot, in the entire house, the baby cannot get at. Thus…a lot of random things are thrown in here! That, and I always seem to have too many projects going at once!