Friday, August 19, 2016

Cross-Cut Quiltalong

So the project I just HAD to join in on a couple of weeks ago was quick & easy.  I was johnny-come-lately to the quiltalong, which the others did over the week of July 25.  It was hosted by Debbie, at a Quilter's Table, and today she has a blog post showing more of the finished quilts, including mine, so you can give her a vist if you'd like, by clicking on that link!  I decided to do one about the time they were finishing, after seeing lots of photos on Instagram,  the project looked so intriguing & fun---and it was! 

Suggested were low volume backgrounds & contrasting strips.  I decided to use soft greys for the backgrounds, I cut out NINE of those at  9 1/2", then I went to my bin of 1 1/2" strips to pull some purples, blues & a tiny splash of lime green.  Those were trimmed down to 1" strips.  If I had some I really wanted to use but they weren't long enough, I sewed them together with a straight seam, and pressed it open.  Cuz scrappy is good, and once it's in that bin, it's FREE, right? And we love to use those little bits sometimes!

Once your strips & squares are ready, you are going to cut all nine of the 9.5" squares in half, on the diagonal.  THEN, you really, really want one of THESE tools (below), which I ran out to Christina's Quilt Shop in Rochester to get.  I had read about them in a quilting mag when they came out & wondered, hmmm, do they work?  My friend Suzanne had gotten one & I was able to try it out at a sewing day recently and LOVED it!  It's THE STRIP STICK, and it's purpose is ironing seams OPEN,  but is also useful to ironing seams to the SIDE, as quilters most often do.  The advantage to having seams OPEN is that your piece is then very, very, FLAT, and sometimes you really want this look in your piecing.  If you are going to use stitch-in the ditch quilting, you don't want open seams, but I had no plans of doing that with this small quilt.

How & why does this work, you ask?  I think it's because your seam is elevated & you are pressing just the seam, not the rest of your block, or piece.  The Seam Stick is rounded, and your seam is in the air, just the seam,  as you press.  Have you ever distorted your work with pressing?  Well I sure have, not that I am proud of that fact, but it HAPPENS, even without using steam.  And when you are using 1" strips, that will finish at a mere 1/2" wide, and everything must be STRAIGHT, that cannot be allowed to happen.

Now, I am sorry for using all the shouty capital letters, but----wait, no, I'm NOT sorry.  I tend to be emphatic when excited & I just cannot apologize for that.  It's just the way I am.

Once your squares are cut on the diagonal, you are going to sew a strip along the center edge, then join the other HST to it.  Press your seams open, then cut your new square in half the OTHER way, and add a strip to that, like so!

The Seam Stick made my strips a thing of beauty! Just look at the back!  They come in THREE different sizes: the 'mini' is 9.5", about $9.00, the 18.5" about $11.00 (I bought both), and I think the 3rd size is about 24.5", and I'm not sure the price on that.  Once you use it for open seams, you will never be without it again!  After I told some friends, they all had to get it & found them at AQS Grand Rapids at a vendor's booth.  If you are local, go to Christina's in Rochester, Michigan, and tell her 'Sue sent me".

When the nine blocks are all done, square them up to 9.5", if you can.  That size is not crucial, and I had to go 9" or 9.25" myself.  If you can go 9.5" on all, that gives you a little more cutting possibility shortly.  

Put them up on the design wall, and see how they look.  Move them around to make the lines & colors do something you are pleased with.  You can photograph each arrangement if you want to, to help you decide.  Aren't they pretty???  Don't you just LOVE that some of the strips are pieced??

Now, sew them all together!  Press your seams open again. you still want everything nice & flat.

Now, what are we?  Quilters, right?  What do we do?  We cut up stuff that is already in one piece & then we sew it back together again, right?  It's what we dream of at night, it's what we live for!  You have made a piece of fabric, and, beautiful though it is, we are going to cut it apart, and put it back together again!  Don't be scared, it's going to be F.U.N. fun!

Now need a smaller square, I used my 6.5" square ruler.  You could go 4.5" if you wanted to, it doesn't matter.  My goal & instructions in this QAL were to get at least sixteen squares cut out of that fabric we made.   If you cut them smaller you would want more.

So take your 6.5" ruler and start cutting on that fabric we just pieced.  I didn't have a lot of lee-way, so I pretty much laid it down in rows and cut out my 16 new 6.5" squares.  And put them up randomly on the design wall.

Play around til you like what you see, or just go totally random, it's up to you!  I had very little of the lime green, so I wanted it to position it to go across the quilt in a particular way.

Sew your squares together, press your seams open again, and then you are ready to layer up for quilting.  I quilted a wavy grid, which I am totally in love with lately!  Such fun, soft movement, and you can do it small or big.  I felt it worked really well with all those lines & graphic quality of the piece.

My quilt finished just shy of 24", after quilting and binding.

Even when our deadlines are self-imposed, fun projects, we still get into that mode of "well I have to do this first" or "I have to finish that".  Sometimes you have to clear it all away, and just PLAY!

So today, now, I am giving you permission to GO to your sewing room or studio, and PLAY.  Have fun, because you DESERVE IT!


  1. I can't wait! This is such a fun project. I think this would be a terrific project for a great day of pure escapism! Thanks, Sue, for another squirrel. :)

  2. I can't wait! This is such a fun project. I think this would be a terrific project for a great day of pure escapism! Thanks, Sue, for another squirrel. :)

  3. This turned out SO nice! One of my faves! So glad you took time to play along with me! ;-)

  4. This is a really cute quilt - it looks like everyone had fun with it.