Thursday, 14 February 2013

Strip pieced patchwork

Strip pieced patchwork

Strip piecing involves joining two or more strips of fabric and then cutting smaller units from those joined strips.
The idea behind strip piecing a quilt is simple: most quilts are created with a series of squares or rectangles in a certain colour pattern.

Instead of cutting out each individual square or rectangle, in strip piecing, you piece together long strips in the colour pattern, then cut them apart and stitch the pieces back together.

The trick is to sew your strips together into rows then join the top and bottom edges so you end up with a tube. Then cut through the tube at 90 degree angles to your original strips. 
As you can see this gives you strips of lots of small squares (or rectangles in some of the bargello strips where they are cut in varying widths) but without having to sew lots of tiny seams. This saves huge amounts of time and effort!

Depending on how you lay out your original strips, cut your sewn strips and how you join them you can create completely different effects. Here are some examples:


I'm working on a bargello table runner which will be living on the blanket box at the bottom of our bed.  Pop back to see the finished article soon!

I also had a section that I'd sewn on the college machine and not got my 1/4 inch seam accurate so I couldn't match it with the sections I made at home. I tried to think of a use for it and came up with this lovely journal cover for my blog planner diary

Trip around the world

As you can see above a completely different effect is achieved by using repeating fabrics in the same placement or by using different fabrics or scrap fabrics. I have started collecting scrap strips to make my own soon. 


Native Americans represent several diverse cultures, each rich in symbolism that is represented in artwork ranging from woven Navajo rugs to intricate beading on leather.
As settlers and soldiers moved west they brought quilts with them. Native Americans were fascinated with these new bedcoverings.
Quilting was also introduced to Native Americans by missionaries who sought to "civilize" the natives by teaching them traditional European homemaking skills. Native American quilters soon found creative ways to incorporate their own cultural designs into their quilts. Seminole quilting originated from the Seminole patchwork used for clothing by these southeastern Native Americans. In the late 1800s it was a long trip from the Everglades to trade for cotton cloth so women began sewing strips made from the fabric left on the end of the bolts to make what was know as "strip clothing". The sewing machine became available to these women around the end of the 19th century making it possible to use much smaller strips. Seminole designs grew to become even more elaborate and complex. Seminole patchwork was usually used for traditional dress including the women's long full skirts and big patchwork shirts worn by the men. Even today these garments are worn for special occasions. These beautiful Seminole patchwork patterns eventually become popular in quilt making as well.

As the below picture shows using different numbers of colours, different sizes of strips and different arrangements can create very different effects.



Friendship braid
This is the friendship braid table runner that I made for our Christmas dining table. 


A chevron is formed by long skinny angled strips that are longer than they are wide. And unlike a zigzag cannot be formed by using half square triangles. They are formed by cutting your panel of strips at a 45 degree angle and joining along these cut lines.

Log cabin

Log Cabin quilt designs are among the most popular and easily recognized of all quilt patterns. Beginning with a centre shape, usually a square, the traditional design is made by sewing strips in sequence around the sides of the square, varying the values between light and dark. They can be arranged in many different ways once complete to create different effects. Americans have long considered this pattern the quintessential American design. Quilters are told that it represents log cabins on the prairie with red centre squares for the hearth, light values on one side for the sunny side of the house and dark values on the opposite side for the shady side of the house.

This is a basic introduction to strip piecing but there are many more detailed tutorials available in books or on the internet. My favourite is the Bonnie Hunter tutorial at Quiltville.

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