Friday, October 04, 2013

The story of a random scrappy quilt. (or 3)

Almost 3 years ago to the date, Katy at I'm a Ginger Monkey (might have been renamed Monkey do) posted a tutorial on how to make a Scrap Vomit quilt sometimes called Technicolor Yawn, historically called Steps to the Altar. Not unlike most tutorials or quilt alongs, I let it percolate in my head for a while. I linked to her tutorial but this is how I did it.

Caveat, the photos are not actual representations, just a mock up to hopefully illustrate my point. The pieces shown will be part of my next scrappy 2.5 inch squares project & are leftovers from a different 2.5 inch squares project that was less scrappy - it used orange, aqua, & brown. (Yes, I am "that" crazy. & Yes, I am still collecting scraps/2.5 inch squares of "modern/designer" prints.)

I am also a little unsure numbers wise how much to share here & how much should be left to Katy's interpretation of a quilt that is in the public domain, Steps to the Altar. So some math work will be left to you.

1. I figured out how many squares it would take & I cut them out. No, not all at once. I traded for some (& trimmed them when I got them, I'd sew so many & decided that I needed fresh fabrics & would dig through my stash, I would but new fabric & cut scraps off of those fat quarters, 5 inch charm, etc.)
my numbers for the scrappy squares:
18 completely scrappy blocks, each with 49 pieces = 882
17 blocks with a double solid diamond, each with 29 scrappy pieces = 493
or 1,375 per quilt. Yes, this quilt has a lot of pieces.

2. Then by looking at Katy's photo, I figured out how many strips for each diamond. Two single black strips, two black/color/black strips, & six black/color strips. (12 black strips WOF using Kona Pepper & 8 color strips WOF using Kona - don't recall the colors.) I did not read Katy's instructions, her technique for sewing was too "planned" for me, I prefer true random - but I did look at her mock-up & counted the blocks needed for the quilt using the mock-up.

3. I sewed the the strips that had a color & sub cut them, the single blacks I left whole. (You will get Just enough sub-cut sets - YAY.)

4. Then I figured out what "units" are needed to change the solid strips into a strip of 7 for the block. (five sets of 3 for each of the 17 blocks, four sets of 2 for each of the 17 blocks, & six singles for each of the 17 blocks.) If you sew "leader/ender" style then these are units that you can sew off of & on to. My brain doesn't work that way, but there were some projects, like my spiderweb, that I was able to sew off on to a bit & was happy to have this project on the side for that. (My new sewing machine has scissors, so I don't have to worry so much about that wasted thread.)

5. Here is where I go random*. I know that I need 153 pairs, so I pull 153 pieces (some times I pull quite a few from one designer/one line of fabric, so that I can help disperse them a bit), then I pull an additional 153 pieces one at a time sewing them to the first pile (sometimes I try to pull all different prints) - once I get that done, I set aside the 68 pairs that are needed as 2's sew additional singles to the remaining pairs turning them into 3's. I then pull 102 singles.

*Caveat, at times while sewing random, if I pull two greens, I might put one back. Other times if I pull a small circle print & see a large circle print, I may put them together just for fun. I am not a slave to random. If I see a favorite print, I may try to keep it off the edge of the block too.
Pile of singles (these happen to be all dark because I once thought that I would do something that required values - I can't remember that brilliant idea, so these are just waiting for me to start my next 2.5 inch square scrappy project. Nope this is not out of my system yet. I kind of know what I like piecing wise & am old enough to go with it rather than fight it - most of the time.)
Pile of 2's either ready to work as 2's, or ready to be made into 3's or 4's.
a set of 3
a set of 4

6. I pieced the 3's to the black solid strips to one side, then sub cut, then added the other 3's (luckily with close gaps, there is just enough space to get the 17 sets onto each strip). The I added the 2's to either side of the black/color/black units, then I added the singles to the black/color units. Paying attention to which side the scrappy units are added to the solids. You have a scrappy single next to each black (in the black/color units) but only next to one of the colored sides. (I set 34 aside so that I could piece them without thought.)

7. Now you should have all of your units to make the diamonds. I press to the side & I press them all the same. Since the rows are mirrors I can just flip to get nested intersections.
Proof of random, if I had planned this, those 2 yellows in the center would not be so close together & that orange would not be in the middle next to the red.

8. Making the completely scrappy blocks is easier. Since there are 18 blocks each with 7 rows, I started with 126 singles & set them aside. I then just sewed pairs - until I got to the bottom of the pile. I then sewed the singles to 126 pairs & set them aside making 3's. I then sewed one pair to another making 4's until I got to the bottom of the pile, then I sewed the 3's to the 4's making strips of 7. I repeated this process to make the blocks. (Using my method, it takes a while to make a block, but once you do you make 1, 2, 3, etc. blocks in quick succession.)
a set of 7 - made using one 3 unit & one 4 unit (duh, but...)
a completely scrappy block.

Back up in step 6, this is mindless easy sewing, those are all straight seams & you don't have to pay attention to color or value, you just sew. So you sew too many 3's add a single & make a 4 or use you seam ripper & make a 3, so you sew two 3's together instead of a 3 & 4, add a single, so you sew to 4's together, use your seam ripper & remove a square. Easy peasy lemons squeazy.

Sounds pretty crazy right?
Please remember that I started out just making 2 of these quilts, a blue one & a purple one. (I added borders to those two to use of the extra 2.5 inch scraps.)
After which I decided, while completely sober, to finish the rainbow series. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, & Pink (Because the color song that my son sings uses pink.) Pink & Green were a bit thematic - pink used a lot of pink prints & prints that had pink in them (I did not exclude non-pinks, but I added pinks with abandon. I raided my stash & cut pink charms!) & the green used all novelties.

That leaves red, orange, & yellow. Instead of doing them one at a time, I did them in tandem - so I took those numbers above & tripled them. - Super crazy, I know!
Why am I posting this today?
I just finished piecing the completely scrappy blocks. (The diamonds had been done for a while.)

Now I get to sort which completely scrappy blocks I want to go with the red, orange, or yellow diamonds. (I am trying to disperse the prints, so that all of the blue birds don't end up in the red quilt as an example - I know, not "random," but when I sew the completely scrappy block to the red diamond block, I won't look to see if I am putting 2 browns next to each other & I definitely won't lay them all out & shuffle them about.)

Do you piece in a "crazy" manner?


Diane-crewe said...

this made me chuckle x planning is not my strong point and tend to just.. go for it x I find when I spend ages making sure fabrics "play together" and dont put the similar ones together it does not looks as good (to me) as when I just let it happenxx

ruthsplace said...

It depends, some of my quilts are completely random and others are planned. I'm currently in the crazy stage of saving all the little off-cuts of fabric to sew together to make made fabric. That will be completely random.