Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Strip Pieced Watercolor Tutorial Part 1

I had another request for a  tutorial on these quilts, the Shadow Heart and Kit Kat.  So here goes......some of this may sound like a repeat, and it is.  Bear with me.
  Lights, mediums and darks!
You need fabrics with color and different values of color to achieve blending.  Florals work wonderful, and prints and designs that are  not straight lines.  Oriental prints are great too. All sizes of prints....some closely spaced and no background showing, and others with background showing and less dense florals. I also use some paisleys and swirl-type designs. All types of leaf prints, but I avoid tone-on-tone type prints, as they hard harder to blend.  A note on the background color of the fabrics: Avoid bright yellow and red backgrounds as they do not blend well. You need backgrounds in white, beige, tan, green, dark blue, brown, black. The darker backgrounds create the shadows and add great depth to the overall effect.
  And if your stash does not yield enough fabrics.....check out what Wanda has on her Wandaful Blog.  She is offering an outstanding array of fabrics perfect for this technique.  And the strips are already cut for you!

  2 inch strips
You need 16 fabrics for the block---- 16 strips cut at 2 inches  full width of fabric or from fat quarters.  From each set of 16 you will get :  full width of fabric cut = 20 blocks,   or if cut from fat quarters = 10 blocks. 
I use this general rule of thumb for my layout before sewing the strips.    Each square on the grid is numbered...note the number placement tends to run on the diagonal.  Number 1, 2, 3 are the lightest fabrics.  Number 4, 5, 6, are light to  light-medium value fabrics.  Number  7,8, 9, 10 are medium value fabrics that have dark areas in them.  Number 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 are medium to dark.  And 16 is the darkest. 
   By laying out the fabrics according to value on the diagonal, wonderful blending occurs. 
  In this photo I have picked 16 fabrics, and placed them according to the value of the fabric.....not the overall color.  I use a red value tool called a ruby beholder, and I strongly recommend one.  But lining up the fabrics side by side and  then standing 10 foot away is another way to decide on the fabric value! 


Or take a photo and turn it into a black and white shot.    This is the same group of fabrics that I converted to black and white in Picasa 3.

 Here's another example of a different set of 16 fabrics.  The darks  in the lower right corner  are stronger in this one, and I used more medium values.  

One thing to note about large prints, there will be blocks (once sewn together) that differ slightly in value in areas.  That is because these prints tend to have areas where more background shows and other areas where the darker pattern or motif shows.  That is fine...don't stress it, it will be great in the end. 

To recap:  First select 16 fabrics.  Second, determine value.  Third,  cut into 2 inch strips.  Fourth, layout according to value in the grid for sewing. 
Next time, I will cover sewing in order, pressing, recut and sew again.  If you have questions about any of this, please let me know.
Now, I have to sew strips, press, etc. and take photos.
Happy stitching.


Lynne said...

Thank you for the tutorial - most interesting!

Dana Gaffney said...

Thank you for the tutorial, I've always wanted to try this.

LED Light Kit said...

Very interesting tutorial thanks for great information.

Bee happy said...

I can't wait to try this out. I am confused on one thing. It says in part 1 to cut 2 in. strips in part 2 it says to cut 2" strips. Not sure on this.

Unknown said...

Great tutorial. I bought a book on watercolor quilting and I got more out of your few paragraphs than I did an entire book. Excited to start.

Linda Hurl said...

I started something similar 5 years ago, it's in my UFO bag, I must try and finish it!

fatimahnya Fatimah said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. God bless you....

Bobbi said...

So how do I know how many yards of each fabric I need

Bobbi said...

I’m sorry I’m don’t understand, do you see the 2 in strips together? Or did I miss something

Debbie said...

Bobbi I can not answer you directly. You did not include email in your identity. You are no-reply commenter. Change that or email me directly, please.
You are working with 2'' squares for most watercolor. This technique makes several identical blocks and yes, you do sew strips together and then slice them apart. Then sew them together in a correct order.

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