Friday, June 24, 2011

Sneak Peek

You know that I use scraps of time for my quilts which means that I try to utilize as many time saving tricks as I can.  One of the best came from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville when she introduced her leader and ender technique.  Instead of using a scrap of fabric over and over to start and end stitching to avoid the thread nests that can happen if you don't use something, she uses two pieces of fabric for a future quilt sewing a seam.  It is amazing how many pieces you can get sewn together using this technique.  All of the 4-patches for Jeff's quilt were made as leaders or enders while I was making Blue Skies and Sunshine, the quilt featured in the latest NQA Quilting Quarterly.  What a bonus that is to complete one quilt with so many parts of another already stitched together and NO thread nests!

While stitching Jeff's quilt together, I was making stacked brick units.  Since I already had 2-1/2" strips cut from scraps left from other quilts, it was a simple matter to cut them to size in scraps of time.  I'd leave the strips on the cutting table and when I had a few minutes, I'd cut them to the proper size.  The 1/4 square triangles took more time as they start as an odd-sized square.  If I had used 1/2 square triangles, each row would have a bias edge and that's never a good thing.

These are the resulting brick units minus the 54 that are already on the design wall.

Here is another view showing just how many are left to go on the design wall. I'm chain piecing the rest of the brick units  needed for this quilt that will, I think, end up queen sized.  I may need more bricks!

Yesterday I put the first 2 rows of stacked brick units on the design wall.  One leans to the left and the other leans to the right.  While sewing these, I was very careful to sew every other block so that it would lean to the right and every other block so that it would lean to the left.  It was a simple matter of sewing the triangle to the rectangle with the point to the top for one unit and with the square part of the triangle to the top for the next unit.  It sounds more complicated than it is and since you need half leaning left and half leaning right, it seemed the easiest way to keep the number even of lefties and righties.

While sewing Jeff's quilt I was using black thread so there are probably a lot more dark bricks in these two strips than will be when I finish stitching the lighter rectangles.  At that point, I'll start swapping lights for some of the darks.  I just couldn't wait to get some on the design wall to see what it would look like.  There will be strips of fabric between the rows, I think.  Some design decisions just haven't been made yet.

Here is a closer look at the bricks.  Of course, they are not sewn together, they are just laid edge to edge and none too straight, either.  Since the outer edge is on an angle, it wasn't an easy task!

It really does look like a herringbone pattern in colorful bricks, doesn't it?

This one has nothing to do with the stacked bricks quilt.  This is a test block for some 8-pointed stars that I'm hand piecing while waiting places or riding in the car.  The points aren't perfect -- it had been quite a while since I had hand pieced 8-pointed stars.  That's the reason for the practice block -- make the mistakes there so when you start the real deal, it works out better.

The stars will be in another strip quilt as alternate rows between rows with vines and leaves appliqued from scraps.  Those strips were made while I demonstrated how to do vines and leaves in workshops.  It will be a colorful quilt.  Soon I'll post the alternate strips.

See how using all those scraps of time work out to make quilts?  It's a good thing.

Until next time,


Joyce said...

I love the stacked bricks! Now I want to make one too! Unfortunately, I think I should finish up at least one UFO before I start another quilt.

Lois Arnold said...

Since when was finishing ufos a requirement for starting a new quilt. LOL

Lorinda said...

I think I finally understand this concept! What is your ender becomes the starter for the next chain. Such a simple concept but I was missing that one little piece.
Thanks, friend.

Lois Arnold said...

Exactly! Sorry I didn't make it clearer earlier. Just leave the last one under the needle until the next sewing session. they add up so quickly! You are very welcome for the tip -- we need all the techniques that speed things up we can get. So much fabric, so little time!