Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tube Block Try Out

It may seem like I haven't been up to much but I've really been busy which means I haven't taken the time to write any new posts.  Well, I'm back so here goes. 

Over the last few days of 2011 and into 2012 I finally got some time to work on the Chickadees quilt.  I took some time to indulge myself love of fabrics by pulling out some pieces that I hadn't considered before.  I truly want to make this a scrap quilt so I'm trying to let go of my need to make things match. 

While trying to make a final selection on the pattern I had some fun making blocks using the "tube" quilting method.  This is actually a method of cutting that is used to create blocks with half-square triangles using strip sets. There are several places on the Internet where you can find detailed instructions with measurements.  

Here's a brief walk through of this method. 
First you make a strip set with 2 strips - mine are beige and cranberry.

Press the strip set seam allowance toward darker fabric. 

Measure the open strip set then cut a strip equal to that measurement in a third color/print fabric.  This is important because you want to make sure you cut the next strip the right width.  I didn't measure, I just assumed, consequently my full strip wasn't quite wide enough.

Anyway, for this step I used a print that had a dark background and both cranberry and beige in the pattern.  Now place that wide strip over the step set, right sides together, and sew both edges so that you end up with a long tube.

TIP:  When sewing long strips like this it's a good idea to sew up one side then down the other to prevent stretching.

Now take the tube to the cutting board.  I used an 8 inch square ruler for this but you can use any ruler that has a 45 degree line on it.  Place the 45 degree line on the tube and line it up on the stitching at the bottom of the tube.  Slide it over until you have an area where all three fabrics are showing beyond the end of the ruler. Like this.  Cut off that end.  Depending on how frugal you want to be you can either throw that piece in your scrap bag or just throw it away. 

Now slide the ruler up so that the 45 degree line is on the upper outside seam. 

I'm not sure why but this close up got turned around and I can't seem to slip it back.  And I'm just noticing that the colors on these photos aren't the best.  But, hey, I'm a quilter, not a photographer!

The point is, the 45 degree line should be on the stitching and the end of the ruler should line up with the cut edge of the strip.  Now make the cut.

This next picture show the full block after it's been cut away from the tube and opened up. 

For the next block you again slide your ruler, this time to the bottom.  Line up the 45 degree mark on the seam at the bottom and cut.

 Voila! now you have two blocks that have opposite colors on the tips.

Continue cutting along the strip set until you get as many blocks as possible.  I think I ended up with 9 from one strip set.

Here are some of the layout options.

Light center

Dark Center

Hour glass

Stripes - which I think would be fun with more of a "scrappy" bunch of fabrics.

And finally the chevrons.

You really need to try this technique.  It was a lot of fun to see the results!

The Chickadee quilt is finished and it turned out great.  I didn't use this tube method because the fabric needed to have fussy cut blocks.  Instead I used the Disappearing Nine Patch just as I did for Betty's quilt.   I'll be taking Blue and Cream to the quilter this week and then Chickadees will get dropped off next.

In the mean time I've got a bunch of little things I want to re-visit and finish up before embarking on the next big project for The Girls which is a Log Cabin block but that's all I can say!

I promise I'll be posting some of those small projects so stay tuned.

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