Hello, and welcome to another edition of “Ask Jo”. I get many comments and questions from all sorts of places, the comment section here, Youtube, email, and from our Facebook group. Sometimes I think others of you might want to know the answers as well so I answer them here on the blog.
In today’s feature I am answering only one question. I figured it might be enough for one blog post. The question comes from Nancy.
“Would you be kind enough to share how you cut your fabric squares? It is amazing how many squares you have cut for your Halloween quilt already.”
Here is one of the blocks from my Halloween quilt.
The block is a little deceiving. Looking at it you might think that I pieced everyone of those pieces individually together. The truth is, I didn’t. The center of the block was all done via strip piecing.
If you’re a seasoned quilter, you’ve done strip piecing. If you’re newer to quilting, you might not recognize something that is strip pieced. The center of this block was entirely strip pieced.
What does that mean?? Let me explain…I sewed strips of fabric together like this…
Then after pressing them, I cut them into segments like this…
I didn’t sew individual squares together. I sewed STRIPS together and then cut them to make them look like I sewed them together indiviually. This saves LOTS of time.
To get the checkerboard look, I sewed together another set in this patterned order.
Using strip piecing really makes this much faster. So that is way #1 how I cut the square so quickly.
Here are a couple of other quilts that we made where we implemented the strip piecing method.
This is our Plus Fun quilt. This quilt was ENTIRELY strip pieced. I never cut an individual square when making it. It sure looks like I would have though…
The quilt is made up of nine patches. One set of nine patches make up the “pluses”.
The other set makes up the neutral white area between the plus blocks.
Then I made this I made strip set of three neutrals together then I sliced them. To make the plus block, I sewed two strip sets. One was three strips of the same color and the other was neutral, color, neutral. After the strip sets were cut, I sewed them together to make the block.
You can find more info on the Plus Fun quilt HERE.
Another quilt we made using the strip method was this quilt, Square Dance.
Again, none of this was sewn block by block but strip sewing instead. Read more about this quilt HERE.
Another trick to cutting squares quickly is to create and use a scrap users system. This is my tote of 2 1/2″ strips. If I am going to make a quilt that requires 2 1/2 squares or I need pieces to sew into strip sets, I always come to the tote first. I can grab colors I need without having to pull fabric from the stacks, open it up, iron it, cut it, fold it back up and the put it away. I can just grab a tote and dig. It’s a HUGE time saver.
Remember so many of you sent 2 1/2″ strips to me for the Halloween quilt. They were sorted and ready to use right away. I sewed them into strip sets and was sewing away in no time.
I HIGHLY recommend the scrap users system. Bonnie Hunter is the originator of the idea and I use it a lot. You can find a link and more info about it HERE. I remember being completely and totally in awe of this when I first learned about it. I still am!!
If I actually do need to cut individual squares, I stack up to 10 strips in a stack and make one cut with my rotary cutter. A sharp blade and that is a breeze…
I ended up making a video with all of this info in it. I thought some of you are more visual people and it’s easier for you to watch than read…so here is the video.
I apologize…the lighting wasn’t the best. I’m still learning about this whole video thing. I appreciate you all being so patient with me.
I’m not a pro at videos and I’m not a pro at quilting. I’ve just got enough gumption in me to give it a try. I know the videos aren’t for everyone so no worries, I’ll always still give things to you in the blog format too.
So remember…if you want to construct blocks like this more quickly:
1-strip piece when possible
2-use precut strips like the scrap users system
3-cut several layers at once
I hope that gives you an idea of how I make quilts or blocks with many squares.
A blog reader asked if it is okay if they share my videos with other quilting friends…YES. Please do. If can help anyone make quilting a more enjoyable hobby, I really want to. So share away!