Thursday, May 31, 2012

simple is Good

Thanks for inviting me to share my recent string project!  I'm Rachel, reposting from my blog, Stitched in Color.  Hope you can stop by some time!

Once upon a time, I pinned this lovely image to my Patchwork Pinterest board.  My exact comments,  "easy is good."

by Cassandra Ellis

Whenever I develop a class, I really stretch myself in the process.  I want to create projects that are fresh, useful, but not too hard.  I must try new things, things that don't always work.  It's exciting and exhausting.

Maybe that's why I was struck with the desire to make this quilt while visiting a friend in her new nest.  She hadn't had the time or energy to do much decorating and I noticed she had only sheets on the two beds that stood in a sunny, large children's room.  This quilt by Cassandra Ellis really looks like my friend as well.  Bethany is loyal to neutrals, a fan of simple, with a style that exudes good old-fashioned purity.  Here's an example of when being "original" was not even the point.  I set out to make a quilt just like Cassandra's, but in colors to suite Bethany's children.  Easy and good.

One thing I love about this design is how it contrasts random and order.  The strips of "stacked coins" that reach across the quilt, are all neatly aligned with a standard length, but within the strips the width of the coins varies dramatically.  This also means you can use scraps of various sizes, rather than having to trim away (waste away) fabric to fit a particular dimension.

piecing and listening

I decided to cut my scraps 9" long in widths varying from 1.5" to 6".  As I pieced them together, I noticed that I preferred to use the thin strings sparingly to keep the quilt from being too busy.  I cut up all of my neutral string scraps and large scraps in blacks, browns, whites and grays.  For Lucy's quilt I added peachy pinks, bright pink, soft pink, lime green, pale green and dark green.  After some piecing, I made sure to use plenty of Kona solids rather than so many prints to give the eye places to rest.  And, I did have to keep reminding myself that this quilt was to have lots of neutrals.  My ratio of neutral to colored strips is about 4:1.

warm Flea Market Fancy grays

After piecing the strings into long rows, it was time to trim the rows to 60" long (Bethany asked for twin quilts measuring 60" x 96").  I had cut my strings 9" wide with the intention of trimming them to 8.5" wide after piecing.  This approach allowed me to piece without stressing if row edges were sewing in perfectly aligned.  Stacking so many strings together inevitably causes edges to shift here and there. Trimming to perfection makes for relaxing sewing!

trimming up

To trim, I folded the strips in half, matched the fold to the bottom of my cutting mat and cut the length of the strip to 30" for 60" long unfolded.  I took a 1/4" or so off each side of the strip to finish them at 8.5" wide.

tagging strips

Once all (12) 8.5" x 60" strips were pieced and trimmed, I arranged them on the floor.  Then I flipped and shuffled strips until the most eye-catching prints (like the black dot and bright lime floral) were evenly distributed.  To save the strip order without having to leave them spread out on my floor, I used masking tape to stick numbers right on each strip!

Simple for Lucy

Then just 11 loooooong seams later, I had a quilt top!

lots of neutrals

This quilt design is one I can heartily recommend to anyone.  It's a great choice for your first quilt or a fast, easy way to eat through those string scraps.  I'd love to see a rainbow scrap version!  Or, a monochromatic rendering would be lovely!


My quilt is now patiently waiting a backing.  I can't bring myself to piece together prints from my stash for the back, since they would probably never see the light of day on the back of a bed quilt.  I'm going to order something in this case.  Hopefully, it'll be linen!


Anonymous said...

Thank you Rachel! I will be making one of these quilts! I LOVE simple, no brainer scrap quilts! My interests go to the simple and primitive type styles anyways!~ Jesus Loves You! ♥♥♥

Brenda said...

thanks for posting this -- it's a great way to make a string quilt.

Claudia Sunshine said...

How to live in this world and not leave the system dominate you?

God Bless You!



Linda said...

I really like this Rachel. Thanks for posting. I've pinned it.