Monday, November 15, 2010

Starting the Scrappy Braid

This is the beginning of my first run for the scrappy braid.  I started with a 2 1/2" square and a 5 inch strip--2 1/2" wide.  I sewed the square to the strip, keeping the strip on the left side of the square.  The next strip of the same fabric is added to the right side.  I wasn't exactly sure of the length for the second strip at this point, so it had a lo-o-ong tail! 

Once it was joined, I measured the length and decided a 6 inch length was right. 

Once both sides were added to the square, I pressed with a dry iron--no steam, or you will get a lot of stretching.  I think I mentioned that will have bias edges to work with at the last stage, so don't add trouble now with steam. 

Now to decide what fabric comes next.  I started with a medium value, so I went to middle stack in the box lid and pulled out 2 more fabrics.  The next strip to add is a small print that will read almost solid, and the third strip has more background showing.....but still the same value. 
Time to lighten the load, I think, so the fourth and fifth strips are from the light stack. The fourth strip blends well with the background of the third strip.
 Note that there is some blue in the fifth strip.  That's my clue to change colors and I go very light to a strip with a blue background and blue and purple floral print on it. 
  I usually use at least 2 strips in the same value before I change the value to lighter or darker.  Using only one light, one medium and then a dark appears to rigid to me.  And everyone needs a friend---so at least 2 of the value, and 3 is even better. 
There are  no rules to this...just instinct, I think.  Or maybe it is because I love puzzles and finding clues to solve them.  I look to the fabric to tell me which direction to go in.  Ok, maybe that is too much, because the fabric doesn't really speak!  Enough of that, and on to the final step for getting started. 

 Final photo.....I have 3 strips added and want to check the overall size that I will end up with before I go any further.   I used  a chalk wheel to mark a straight line across the base of the strip run ---right across the middle of the beginning square.  Then the ruler was lined up on the base line, and  a marked line of the ruler centered right through the apex point of the braid.  I used the chalk wheel again to mark the edges of the braid strip.  So far, so good.....just a bit close on the right hand side.  I will cut the rest of the  strips to add to the right side about 1/2" longer, so I have a margin of safety. 

Now I can safely cut the selected fabric strips into some general sizes and stack them in sewing order.  One final note.....I have plenty of fabric strips to choose from and I plan on using the same fabric  for the 5 " and 6 1/2" length.  But, I could mix it up and use different fabrics on either side--I would keep the values the same.  No rules, remember, it is your choice.

Got questions?  Let me know if I confused anyone.
Happy stitching.


Mary Lou Casada said...

Wow, Debbie! It's looking so good! :-) Is that first leaf print a Hoffman! Back in the day I collected some of their cool leaf prints, they are (like the one you have in your braid!) gorgeous!! I just retrieved a large tote full of scraps from my sister's garage. Time to start stripping! LOL
Mary Lou

Anonymous said...

Love the colors, Debbie--it's going to be very pretty!

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