Sunday, November 6, 2011

Caution - your stash may be bigger than it looks!

Have you seen the You-Tube Double Slice Quilt by Missouri Star Quilt Co. It's such an interesting pattern and technique. I have a great-nephew graduating from college next May. His sisters all got quilts for their graduation ... and when I saw the Double Slice quilt I thought it would look really cute [in a manly way, of course] in homespuns.

My stash resides in four Expedit bookcases from IKEA. Each cubby has a drawer that just fits it and each drawer is filled with stash - sorted by color or type. Yes, that is 32 drawers filled with stash - all I can say is "I'm working on it!!" I had 2 drawers of plaids and stripes. Not counting the beige-ing plaids and stripes - they are with the background fabrics. [4 cubbies!!!]

I think that Double Slice [DS] is like 'Stack and Slash' and 'Disappearing 9 patch' patterns - you cut as many squares of fabrics as you need blocks. For us 'math-impaired' quilters - that's a lifesaver!! But I really don't know if that is the case - as you will see!

The video used Layer Cakes - 10" squares of fabrics. They are making a lap quilt. I'm making a double bed size so I thought cutting 12.5" squares could result in 10" finished after trimming and that would be a great block size for a double bed quilt. Easy math too!

Hmmm, only 2 cubbies - I usually buy 1/3 yards and after washing; homespuns really shrink. Will I have 63 plaids and/or stripes that I can get 12.5" squares out of? No easy way to find out, just start cutting! And I don't have enough, I can always cut pieces the same size of the first cut in the instructions.

Not to worry!! I cut 157 squares!!! And I had that many more fabrics that weren't big enough to cut the 12.5" from. And that's from a small portion of my stash!! Good grief!! Note to self - DO NOT try to figure out how many blues I have!! LOL!

The technique calls for cutting at the 1/3 mark. On my squares I cut 4.5" After the first cut, turn one pile up side down. Start sewing large piece to a small piece back together. In the demo, she turned the pile up-side-down but I think next time I do this I'll mix it up and divide one pile in half and put the bottom 1/2 on top then sew. The reason is the first pieces and the last pieces will be the same mix if you just turn it upside down. And of course, if you have an odd number of fabrics - that middle one will match itself!! Type A personalities think about things like this!!

Press seam open and then cut in half across the seam. [This is the 'double' slice part!!] Half for me was 6.25". This is the point where I trimmed, and trimmed and ... well, you know - it always takes longer than you think!!

Line up your stacks of 1/2 blocks [lets call them match-sticks] so the small rectangles are at opposite ends. NOW this seems to be a symetrical block, but it isn't. Be sure to put the same 1/2 'up' when sewing. [I'm waiting while you decide if this is important to you!.] I sewed the blocks MAINLY with the match-stick up, so I could watch that seam's direction. But only 'mainly'!! All blocks will go together, but not every intersection will have that little 'water wheel-type' pinwheel. Believe it or not - I decided that I would be the only person that would notice this irregularity - so I didn't worry about it!! Yes, me!!!

Have you noticed there are no matching seams on this block. Yea!! Nothing you have to match up until you start putting your blocks together. It's a fast quilt!!

After all your blocks are sewn, press open. To lay out the quilt, alternate the squares. Block 1 - match-sticks up and down; block 2 - match-sticks sideways, etc!! I highly recommend a design space area for this layout - it's tricky to get them up or sideways at the right spot.

I like to use the old "twosies-foursies" method of piecing a top together. Grab a pair of blocks, sew them together. Sew all the 'twosies' together; then start making 'foursies'. You only have to match a few seams on each unit. Compared to sewing 9 rows of 7 where you match each intersection on each row. It's just easier to handle and faster. If you're afraid you'll forget which side is up - pin something in the top left corner before you move it!

Additional tip!!! When you do end up sewing the last row ... start pinning from the right end of the fabric. When you are done pinning, the side that goes under your sewing machine needle is in your hand, ready to place!! Not my idea - but wow, did I celebrate when I read it!! It works great not to handle that prickly edge to get it in place!!

I started cutting on Thursday. I had all my blocks sewed, trimmed, pressed and ready to go this am. My top is now together. This is a double bed size quilt!!

I have an appointment for the LongArm machine at my LQS on Wednesday. I've been quilting for 36 years - this may be the very first time I start a db-size quilt and finish it within a week!!! I'm going for it!!

The video shows an interesting border for the quilt but never really mentions it!! Two long strips of a solid fabric with a patchwork strip between them. Cute, but I can only make my quilt 82" across to not have to piece my batting. So I'm going to add a 6" solid border on each side and then use a plaid 'hit and miss' binding from my same plaids. Same difference, in theory anyway!!

I love this quilt. I think it's a great pattern for charity quilts, for 'manly' quilts, for Veterans ... it's quick, it's geometric and there's a bizillion possible looks depending on the type of fabrics you choose!

Next week - I'll show you the quilt - finished!!! In the meantime - I want you to watch the video and try not to think about just how big your stash really is!!! [evil laugh echoing here!!]

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