Urge to Strip (Piece)

Without fail, every spring I get a case of the patchworks.  A major portion of my brain gets held hostage with thoughts of sewing quilt blocks, any quilt blocks, ALL THE QUILT BLOCKS ALL THE TIME.

Also?  I have a ridiculous amount of fabric that has piled up.  In an effort to use it up – or, let’s be real here, put a dent in the pile – I started making a string quilt.  I take a 10″ square piece of plain white cotton or muslin fabric, and start in the middle with a 2″ strip of fabric.  (In this case, I’m using a bright yellow in the middle of all the blocks, but you don’t have to do that.  Especially if you aren’t a big fan of yellow.)  But then you just sew random strips of fabric, any width, on either side of the center strip.  And then after the square is covered, you cut off the extras.

String Theory

There are now 9 of these blocks scattered around my living room floor, thanks to the cat.  Frankly, it’s one of the uglier things I’ve ever sewn, though I do love all of the fabrics individually (including the one printed with French words).  And it’s quick, easy and satisfying sewing.  Takes the edge off, anyway.

Also?  Years ago when my parents made up their wills I told my sister that there were exactly two things I would fight to the death over.  One is the table my father made in shop class in high school, which is currently firmly ensconced in my living room (possession being 9/10ths of the law and all).  The second thing is a strip quilt that I believe my dad’s mother and/or sister Nancy made for my parents for Christmas one year, early in their marriage.  The top is made in a very similar fashion as my strip blocks, except with classic circa 1970’s patterned fabrics.  It’s lined with a wool blanket so it’s insanely warm, but has a bright sunflower-print back that always remains cool to the touch.  It’s magic, this quilt is.  My parents still use it in the winter, otherwise I would have found a way to squirrel it away by now.

The other strip piecing experiment?


I kept seeing these beautiful scrap quilts all over the innernetz, based on the old “Trip Around the World” pattern.  I found this tutorial and thought, hm, this might be a good project for a certain niece of mine who likes blue and orange. (Not the younger, pink-obsessed one.  She got a quilt already.)  I pulled out some fabrics, including a really cute goldfish pattern, and started experimenting.  (I don’t know how a 12 year old will feel about the goldfish.  Those blocks may not make it into the finished quilt.)

Typically, I like the lower right hand square the best – despite the fact that there is very little contrast.  I’m realizing I have a lot of medium-value fabrics and not many light and dark, and I think this pattern needs high contrast to really work.  I need to make another set of blocks to see if this is going anywhere – jury is definitely out on this one!


About Lori Allen Writes

Lori is plotting to take over the world one essay, one quilt, and one hand knit sock at a time.
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