Thursday, August 13, 2009

How I Do That Thing I Do

Okay. I've been thinking I should put up a few "how to" blog entries to show you what goes on around here. So.... I've spent this week preparing a few glimpses into the fine art of quiltmaking.

First step: Choose your fabric. I'm pretty picky about my fabrics -- it comes from having a Momma who was a stellar seamstress. I think if you're going to put this much time into making something, you should make it last for generations to come. If you need a lesson in choosing fabric, call me -- it's really a hands-on activity.

Once I get my fabric, I wash it, dry it and iron it. I only use 100% cotton, and it needs to be pre-shrunk before I start working with it. Some people wait and wash their fabrics after making their quilts to get a "puckered" look. You can do it either way.

Now.... The fun part. I could spend a week just showing you how to use a rotary cutter, but instead I'm going to send you to this YouTube link. You can find instructions for just about anything on YouTube. I'm pretty sure how to build the Space Shuttle is somewhere on there.

For this project, I used a 1 1/2" strips. I have a rather substantial collection of Christmas fabrics that have been acquired over time. Now... I will say that there are a few that I purchased early on that really aren't the quality I like to use. But for the most part, it's a collection of great fabric.

I can't tell you how many strips to cut because that depends on how many blocks you want to make. I will tell you that my quilt is going to have 50 blocks in it. I'm designing this as I go, so it's not an exact science. You're just going to have to enjoy the ride.

If you're using new fabric, I would suggest you cut at least 125 strips. Now.... You all know I can't do math, but as near as I can figure, that's what I'd go with.

My goal for this was to have as little repetition as possible. I'm really trying to make sure each block that I make is made up of 25 different squares. Hang with me here.

Once you have 125 strips of fabric cut, you can stitch them together like this. Use a 1/4" seam allowance. On my project, I tried to keep from repeating the same pattern of strips.

I also used a LOT of scraps from my scrap bucket. So some of my strips looked like this when sewn together.

I know this is clear as mud. It's going to be like that for a couple of days. Hopefully the picture will clear up soon.

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