I want to share what I learned by making this quilt. I cut five 3" strips from each of 20 fabrics and sewed 5 stratas for this 80" x 100" quilt. See this post for a photo of one strata. I made the decision that I would try 5 steps up and down and started upicking strata slices. It took me until the third strata to finally register that I was unpicking the same 5 seams over and over. Duh! I should have just made a strata, NOT sew it into a tube, and slice the 2.5" sections from it and then there would be NO unpicking for most of this quilt. I could do that 3 times for the 3 parts that weren't the highest point and the lowest point in the design. I only needed half as many of those highest and lowest points so 2 half stratas could be devoted to each of those parts. The fifth strata would be sewn into a tube and the remaining pieces of all 5 positions would be unpicked at the proper place.
If you are still reading and I haven't lost you........the first strip on the left has the lowest step of the 5 steps of the design and occurs 5 times across the quilt. It is comprised of 2 strata slices sewn together to make one strip from the top of the quilt to the bottom...so that means I need 10 slices from strata for it, and the same for the 5th strip in which is the top of the 5 steps up...10 pieces. Out of one strata you can cut 16 slices. If I cut the 20 strips at the fold mark and make 2 half stratas with the right fabric at the top of each I will get 8 of the 10 slices I need. The remaining 2 will come from the 5th strata which WILL be sewn into a tube and unpicked at the proper places.
Rows 2, 3, and 4 each occur 10 times (with 2 strips sewn together to make each long strip) 20 slices. Those stratas need to pieced with the correct fabric at the top and will not be sewn into tubes. The slices will be cut from the flat strata. I will get 16 of the 20 slices I need from each strata and the remainder will come from the 5th strata which will be sewn into a tube. Also I would make that 5th strata first and play with the arrangement of the color bands before sewing the rest of them.
So now comes the "what if" part- what if I make it 3 steps up and down instead of 5, will it be more of a zig zag and less of a Bargello look? What if I make the second strata with the same first 5 pieces and then all different fabrics for the rest of it? Will I like it better with more colors in it? (Or will that even work?) What if I add in a few strips twice as wide in the strata for more division between the zig zags?
And finally.....was this helpful or confusing? Did it give you a headache or an Aha! moment? I'm expecting a lot of comments and probably won't be answering all of them.