Monday, March 21, 2016

Design Wall Monday - Kaffe fabrics

I've been a busy girl the last few months and my time to sew/quilt has been significantly compromised. And, if you are a regular reader of my blog, you are also aware that my blog postings has been affected as well.

I'm not going to make any promises, but things are slowing down just a tad - my very-long term sub assignments are complete, and some major deadlines have been met so I hope to get back into a regular posting habit again, as well as have time to work on projects that are not for a class, for a customer, or have a deadline. That might be a bold statement that I'll regret making, but I sure hope it happens.  :-)

I find that when I work on a project  that requires a lot of thinking, has lots of small parts, has a looming deadline, or is just something on which I can't seem to wrap my brain around, I NEED a simple project to help ground me and give me that satisfaction and somewhat instant gratification I think we all know and feel. 

While working on a few of my latest projects, I decided to dive into my stash and use the following two bundles of 6" Kaffe Fassett strips to make a simple 16 patch quilt. Each bundle has 20 strips but since I cut them down to 3", I have 40 strips of light and 40 strips of dark fabric. WooHoo!

Kaffe Fassett, 16 Patch, Strip Piecing
One of the things I really like about these bundles is that they are slightly larger than 6", which allows me to trim off the rough edges and still end up with two 3" x WOF strips.

Kaffe Fassett, 16 Patch, Strip Piecing
I recognize that many of you may not like the fact that the strips are larger than 6", especially if the project on which you are working requires 6", but one of my "issues" with pre-cut strips is that there is often a lot of raveling that happens because of handling, etc. and the exactly cut 6" strip may end up being 5-7/8" instead of 6". I find that is often the case with 2-1/2" strips and that can cause a problem with piecing. (A few years back I had an issue with strips being too small so I now make it a habit to check the strip sizes before using them. I can usually make minor adjustments, but not always and I want to be aware of that BEFORE I start the project, not in the last step of piecing a block.)
The first thing I did a week or so ago was to pair up a light and dark strip. I pressed them and then trimmed them so I ended up with two 3" x WOF strips. 

Kaffe Fassett, 16 Patch, Strip Piecing
Just because I think I have more accuracy with sewing this way, I cut the strips in half. When I do this, I cut the folded edges every so slightly, so as to not waste much fabric. Can you see the tiny slivers of fabric to the right of the strips?

Kaffe Fassett, 16 Patch, Strip Piecing
I leave the selvedge edges alone. I don't trim them because I will need to make a clean up cut after I strip piece the units and I find it wasteful in terms of fabric and time to cut it twice. 

Kaffe Fassett, 16 Patch, Strip Piecing
Once I have my strips cut, I set them by my sewing machine and use these as leader/ender projects while working on the projects that NEED to be completed. I love the fact that when I am ready to work on this project exclusively, I have strip set and even some blocks already completed. :-)

Back to the sewing...I sew my strip sets and press them all in one direction. I chose to press these all down toward the outside dark strip. Notice that I have changed strip sets? I got busy sewing and forgot to take pictures using the same strip set. Oh well....

Kaffe Fassett, 16 Patch, Strip Piecing
Since I can get 7 - 3" cuts per strip set, I decided to sew two identical strip sets. (Remember I cut my WOF strips in half and am working with strips that measure 3" x approximately 22".) This will allow me to make 2 identical blocks plus have a little over 18" of the strip sets uncut.
Kaffe Fassett, 16 Patch, Strip Piecing

The second strip set only needs to have one 3" unit cut so I have that long remaining piece of the strip set already pieced, ready for something new and exciting.

Kaffe Fassett, 16 Patch, Strip Piecing

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the remaining 18"+ of the strip set, but it's ready for me when I decide. My guess is that I will make more blocks to make the quilt larger, but I want to be able to pick and choose which blocks to make.

Kaffe Fassett, 16 Patch, Strip Piecing
 From the two identical strip sets, I end up with two blocks that will finish 10". 
Kaffe Fassett, 16 Patch, Strip Piecing
Based on the blocks I will have made (40), I'm leaning towards sewing either 2 or 8 more blocks. If I make a total of 42, the quilt will measure 60" x 70;" and if I make 8 more, it will measure 60" x 80". Of course all of this could change. Who knows? I may decide to make more blocks or add borders that use the strip sets cut up to make a piano key type border.
I already have 12 blocks constructed and threw them up on the design wall just to see how they look. I really did not stress at all about my strip pairing. I just put a light and dark together and tried to not put two striped or "dottie" fabrics together. I'm looking forward to playing around with this in the next few weeks.
Kaffe Fassett, 16 Patch, Strip Piecing
What's on your design wall today?
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Bonnie said...

Nice 9 patches. Have fun playing with your 16 patches.

Valerie Reynolds said...

Kaffe was the best think to cut into to make for a happy sew day!!

Alycia said...

Your finished blocks look great - and I LOVE those bright fabrics! THis will be fun to watch come together!

SherryB said...

Oh, I love making 16 patches...they are like potato chips, I can't stop at just one. Your cute blocks are making me hungry---to make some myself! Love your fabrics; can't wait to see the finished quilt.