Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cut 150 fabrics and then we'll sew..................

I have had some questions asked about my method of making a quilt like the log cabin I showed yesterday.  If I told you that you needed to get out 150 fabrics and cut two 1.5" strips off of each, you probably wouldn't sign up for my class.  First you need to press the fold marks out of each fabric (and if you don't you won't have straight strips) and then stack them 3 or 4 fabrics deep and cut and then fold the fabric and put it back on the shelf (about 50 times). 

If that is what I had to go through I wouldn't be making a quilt with 150 or more fabrics in it.  In the first picture I have cut a 4.5" strip, two 2.5" strips, a 2" strip and a 1.5" strip.  I know that these are sizes I will use.  You have to decide what sizes you will cut.
Then I store them in boxes clearly marked with the sizes and when I'm ready to do a log cabin quilt, I just take the box off the shelf and pull out 150-300 different fabrics and cut them to length.  I store those like this.  I can be ready to sew the log cabin blocks in about an hour.  I get bored easily if I don't have a good variety of fabrics in my quilts.  Planning ahead and being organized is the best way to do a scrap/multifabric quilt.

I have days where I will do a lot of cutting and I may not sew at all.  If you cut your fabrics as you purchase them, then it is not a big production to have to cut for a quilt all in one day.  I buy for stash, rarely for a project, so some of you are probably shaking your heads, because you don't have a stash.  You probably don't make quilts with over a hundred different fabrics in them. 

A lot of you comment about the color in my quilts, but with a scrap type quilt, value is more important than color.  What I am saying is that you will probably have every color in the quilt because it is a scrap/multifabric quilt, so I make the pattern show up by having contrasting values.  Every color is in the dark group and every color is in the light group.  The most effective method is NOT matching blue with blue when pairing fabrics.  Put 2 different colors together. 

Any questions, to continue this discussion?

18 comments:

Linda said...

This is a great post!

Rebecca Johnson said...

WOW Thats amazing!! Maybe a project one day!! Soo inspiring! xx

Jackie said...

A terrific method for making scrap quilts. I also love to have many different fabrics as well and this is a great way to attack that. Thank you for sharing.

stitchinpenny said...

Your value discussion highlights why my quilts are not growing, I can do a fairly good average quilt, but haven't grasped the color value concept yet. I am trying through thr black and white photography trick and by looking at fabrics in low light, but not there yet. choosing fabrics in a store I tend to pick the same values in colors even if they are different in other ways. Any other suggestions in how to break my choice habit?

karenfae said...

interesting way that you have. I do scrap quilts too but we do it differently. I don't cut strips in advance and rarely have more than fat quarter pieces on hand. I'm for sure not as organized as you are!! I don't shop for stash but go more project to project and have extras that go into the stash for scrap quilts that are normally made out of small pieces.
Love hearing how you do it - it is always nice to know how others do if gives one more ideas!
Karen
http://karensquilting.com/blog/

Cathi said...

You are so organized! Having the strips all pre-cut is such a great idea.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Wonderful post ... a little along makes for more fun later! Yardage can be paralyzing to me while smaller pieces invite me in. For me, making the first cut is the hardest - once I do, then I'm off.

Are those standard dollar store plastic shoe boxes?

Anonymous said...

Great post today. And definitely shows what a exuberant professional you are !

J~MT

Marion said...

This engaging post explains why you are able to make so many quilts so fast--and you read books, take care of your dad, mow your grass, participate in garage sales, take computer courses, teach classes, entertain your quilting friends, and take time to appreciate all the little things in your garden. My friend Lee and I like to speculate about how much fabric you have. As impressive as your organization is, I am even more wowed by your ability to remember what you have! Like finding the blue fabric for the borders of the log cabin! I don't know how many times I have purchased some of the same fabrics. . .and books!

Char said...

Like you I always shop for stash. The only exception is when I don't have enough for a large backing. I don't know if I could spend a whole day just cutting, but once I use a fabric for a quilt I usely cut the leftover fabric into strips for string and log cabin quilts.

Chris said...

Wanda, you are truly a master at color and value! I think that one of the reasons that this quilt sparkles and shimmers so is the fact that you don't have just lights and darks, but you also have some brights in each side. I love how those reds, lime greens, oranges, and so forth lead our eyes dancing about - this is just stunning! Thanks so much for sharing!

RobynK said...

What a fantastic post. Thank you so much. Guess what I am going to do today. lol

Cheers
RobynK
New Zealand

Needled Mom said...

That cutting method is really key to any scrap quilt, isn't it? The cutting of all those fabrics would be discouraging

wackywoman said...

Thank you for this. Makes perfect sense. Now to put it to practice.

quiltmom said...

Wanda, It is fun to see how other people sort and arrange their stash so it works for them. I have a large stash and do have some strips sorted into two inch and one and a half strips. You are so smart about value- it is so important in quilts.
I thought I might be your 500th follower but ended up being 499. That is quite a nice number of followers. There are lots of us out here who love your work and enjoy hearing about your quilt process.

Thanks for sharing.
Warmest regards,
Anna

Leslie said...

The quilt is stunning and I appreciate your comments about how your prepare strips before storing fabric. Very illuminating, as always! :-) Thank you, Wanda!

Purple Pam said...

Thank you for this post. I like the idea of cutting fabrics as they come into your sewing area. How do you stay focused when you are cutting all day and not sewing? I know I need a better ergo cutting space, but my shoulder and hand get tired from cutting after an hour or so. But I also get tired of sitting at my machine if I am sewing all day. I find I must move around after a while so I can stay focused. Do you have a trick or technique to help you stay focused?

Rebel said...

I'm not quite up to that level of stashing. But I have discovered the organizational joy of those clear shoe-boxes (did I get the idea from you? probably!) and labels.

I have my fabrics stored by color family (sort of) and batik/ non batik. I still usually buy fabrics for a project. But as I'm cutting up pieces, or after I've finished up a project, I'll spend some time cutting down fabrics into 3x3 squares, 2x2 squares and 1x3 strips. I keep these in separate zip lock bags in a clear shoe box marked 'scraps'.

Someday... once all my friends finish up having babies ;) ... I'll start playing from my scraps. Hopefully by then I'll have an 'exuberant' quilt in there all ready to go!