Thursday, August 18, 2011

Strip Pieced Watercolor--Part 2

   WOW!  The response  yesterday was over whelming....thanks for commenting and  the emails.  This is a long post for part 2...hang in there.

Sewing the strips can be confusing.  You need to keep them in order, so please follow closely.  (Note:  For this section of the tutorial, I am working with very short strips.  I will end up with 3 blocks.)  With this technique you are not limited to a certain  size.  I am using 4 x 4 in this tutorial, but you can use whatever number of fabrics that you want.  25 fabrics = 5x5  36 fabrics = 6x6, and so on.
  Before you begin, create a swatch card   (found on the Pattern Page at the bottom)  or take a photo and print it out as a guide for fabric placement.  What's a swatch card?  It's like a road map, only for fabric.  You can use an index card and number 1 thru 16 for this project.  Beside each number tape a sliver or scrap of the fabric  that is being used in this layout.  This is the visual reminder when you are sewing of the correct order and placement. 

   You have 4 rows across and 4 down.  We will sew the first row down together, the second row down, then the third and fourth. 
Create a stack of row 1 down by removing the bottom fabric first--# 10.  Then place the fabric above it --# 6--on top, then the next --#3--on top of the stack, and finally the upper corner--#1-- on top.  This stack is now row1....label it with a sticky note or tape marked 1. 
Repeat for the other 3 rows down.  Label each and set aside.   These stacks will become your strip set for this group of blocks.    I have created stacks for the 4 rows and I am ready to begin the sewing.  Set your machine for straight stitch and for 1/4" seam.  Either move your needle over, use 1/4" foot, or what ever works for you.  The need here is for consistency!

  Sew:  Follow this order for each stack.  The first strip is face up and the second strip is placed face down and sew together with 1/4" seam.  The third strip is added---the 2 sewn strips are face up and the third strip to be added is on top.
  Remember:  To maintain the correct order, always sew with the next strip to be added on the top.   You will always be adding to the right of the group you are sewing.  If you flip it over (and add to the left) the fabrics will not blend as they are out of order.   Refer to your swatch card.   Sew careully and do not stretch your fabric.  A bow in your strip set wastes time and fabric. 
  Sew all 4 stacks together.  You will have strip set units ready to press and sub-cut.

On the row tags I added an arrow for the pressing direction of the seams for each row.  Odd rows get pressed to the left, and even rows to the right.  That way the seams will nest together when sewn.  I press from the back first and then also from the front to make sure I do not have any "tucks" and that everything is smooth and straight. 

  Now you need to sub-cut each strip set  unit into 2" strips.  I prefer to use the shape cut mat with slots in it....that way I can make  several cuts with out having to move the ruler.  Or use a regular ruler.
 Sub-cut into 2" strips.
 Stack the sub-cut strips into rows.  Lay them out in the correct order.  For this grouping the lightest fabrics are at the top.   Again...lay them out in the correct order. 

Or you might just end up with something like this........Wrong layout....the last 2 rows are placed upside down.
A gal brought a strip pieced watercolor quilt to guild last month and asked what she had done wrong. It was at this point that she had reversed 2 of the rows and she lost the blended effect.   Her darks were all in the middle and lights on the edges. 

Another reminder to refer to your swatch card or original photo layout. 

 Now sew the blocks together, keeping the order correct. 
Always sew with the new piece on the top.  These blocks will be 6" when you  finish stitching. 
  Press each block.
   Sew...after about 3 hours of sewing, pressing and cutting, you will have about 20 blocks from full width of fabric cuts, or about 10 blocks from fat quarter cuts.   Now what? 
  I am going to finish up my second layout and prepare a couple of variations to share in the next part.  And we will look at layout options.   
 Did you visit Wanda yet?  Or go to her other blog for fabric?  She has lots!  Keep will be happy you did.


Delia (Del) said...

Thank you Debbie.

Dana Gaffney said...

Wonderful, thank you, I'm really looking forward to the layouts. I found you through Wanda, but I didn't know about her other selling site. Thanks again.

Unknown said...

This is beautiful. Great directions and thank you for the heads up on what could go wrong and why

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