Saturday, July 30, 2011
Tutorial - Strip Pieced Wonky Cross
My brother in law recently moved into his first big boy real apartment. Yes, he did live away from home when he was in university, but he eventually moved back. But now, he's out in the world making it on his own. I figure that warrants a new quilt. But, he's a sophisticated man now and a little boy quilt just wouldn't do.
So, I settled on a monochromatic wonky cross quilt in neutral colours. Being a boy, his decorating skills are a little on the lacking side and I figure neutrals will go with anything. The thing that cinched it was Rossie making a similar quilt called DoublePlusGood. I love the name! And thus, the quilt for Josh was born.
After flipping through many tutorials on how to make these wonky cross blocks, I noticed that they were all for a single block. I needed a way to make a lot of blocks, likely strip pieced (I love strip piecing). So, I made one up. But, I figured you would like to see how I mass produced these blocks, so here we go!
Tutorial - Strip Pieced Wonky Cross
Select 5 fabrics you like. All of the ones I'm using are either fat quarters or half-yards. Either way, they are about 18" wide.
Stack the fabrics all up nicely so the selvage edge line up. Trim off the selvedges, if needed. Across the width of fabric, cut a strip 9-10" wide. No need to be too precise.
Take your wide strip and cut it more or less in half. You should now have two stacks of fabric about 9" x 9" (ish). Set one aside. We'll only be working with one stack for this tutorial.
select another fabric that coordinates well with the others you have chosen. The part of this tutorial that is nice is that in the end, you don't need to worry about these 5 blocks all having the same "cross" fabric because you'll do this many times over and the variability with work out. Large sample size, and all that.
Anyway, cut the coordinating fabric into three strips. I cut mine into strips of 2.5", 2" and 1.5". You can pick any size you like, but this is what worked for me..
Now, back to your stack. Make a cut with your ruler more or less down the middle. No need to be scared. Trust me! It needs to be straight, but it can be at an angle and off center if you like.
Using only one side of your stack, start piecing the coordinating fabric in. No need to cut it to size. Just keep fitting in the background pieces until you've sewn all 5 to the coordinating fabric. You will likely need to start the second strip before too long.
Using your scissors, roughly separate the blocks. Precision is gone out the window! Stack the pieces next to the other part of the blocks.
Now, connect the pieces! Make sure that the "background" pieces match.
Separate the blocks and press the seem allowance towards the cross. I imagine that you could press any which way you like, but I like to press to one side.
Stack up your 5 blocks (roughly) and make another cut.
Using the remaining coordinating strips, sew them into one side of the block. Just like you did before. See. Rocket science.
This should be all old hat by now. Cut the blocks off the strip. Sew to the correct "background" piece. Press the seem allowance. Ta da! You're done sewing 5 blocks and it was super easy!
Now you're probably thinking, "Kristy, these blocks are really wonky. How the heck am I going to sew them together with these non-straight edges." The answer is you're not. We need to do some squaring.
Using a square ruler (I use my 12.5" square ruler"), square the block so that one side is 9.5" tall. Square the rest of the block, but it doesn't really matter how wide the block is, so long as all the corners are 90 degrees. You can see from this photo that all of my blocks are 9.5" tall, but they're different sizes. This is OK.
And that's it!
You now have 5 blocks towards your quilt. I still have like a million to go, but strip piecing them like this will make it go a lot faster.