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Friday, January 6, 2012

NYE Mystery Quilt Top w/o Borders

This quilt. . was very difficult for me! I think it was just something about the construction method that was not like my usual piecing methods. You can see it was difficult for me because many of the seams don't match up perfectly LOL
Oh well, it's like that song by Cathy Miller. . "you can quilt that out." ;c) Hopefully some intricate machine quilting will bring it to life!
I'm thiinking about doing a few different borders for this. I was thinking about doing a thin-line of blue, and then a wider outer border of brown or burgundy. I have paid projects coming up though, so I'll have to quilt this at a later date.

This quilt was made using all 2.5" strips from a Quiltville Swap. I swapped Neutrals, and Civil War strips. What I noticed alot of is this:

and this:

In the first photo you can see that some of the strips were 1/8" wider or 1/8" smaller than 2.5" As you know this can add up over time. . I trimmed the ones down, and still used the too-small ones.

In the 2nd photo you can see how crooked some of them were cut. This is what I would like to talk about. If you lay out your folded fabric (folded once) on your cutting mat, I really don't know how this problem can happen. You line up your folded edge on the "1" line, and use a clear 6" x 24" ruler to cut. If you cut from the right edge of your fabric, you will have several inches of ruler holding down your fabric in place as you cut.

I believe you need at least an 18" x 24" self-healing cutting mat to effectively cut strips!
I know that some of my friends use a smaller mat, and have to fold the fabric MORE than once. Of course if you are going to have more than one fold in your fabric it would make it THAT much more likely to have curves/lumps in your strips.

And here's the thing, these swapped strips are HALF width-of-fabric. Therefore, you shouldn't have any lumps at all. What you could do if you're swapping half WOF strips is this: FIRST cut your fabric in half at the folded edge. Press smooth WITH STARCH. Then you can fold THAT piece of fabric. This will allow you to JUST be dealing with ONE fold in which you can line up on the "1" marking and cut with a wide acrylic ruler.

I know there are several other reasons why there could be these large curves or lumps in long strips. Sometimes people tend to "iron" their fabric instead of "pressing" it.
My biggest suggestion there is STARCH STARCH STARCH!!!
Press your fabric by lightly pressing down, starting at the folded edge, and then going up the middle of the fabric. Then out toward the edges. If you're using starch, you will see where yo'uve previously pressed.

I know alot of fabric companies now don't pay as much attention to grainline, but if the original cut of fabric isn't cut along the grain line, that could cause stretching and problems too.
This is why, when I get a new cut of fabric, I will unfold it and press it as a whole piece. . then RE-fold it for cutting on the mat.

Sorry for that small rant. Swapping fabrics is a great way to build stash and not spend a "whole" lot of money.
To sum up: Every quilter/fabric swapper SHOULD have a large enough self-healing cutting mat and 6" wide acrylic ruler. If you don't have a large mat, cut at the folded edge first and THEN fold one half at a time to cut your strips.
PRESS your fabrics, don't iron.


  1. So sorry that you got some problem-child strips in your swap but that mystery top is charming. I looked hard when you said things don't match and honestly I cannot see it from the distance of the photo. The blue border is gonna be pretty and it needs the brown too. Good job!

  2. Your mystery quilt turned out great!

  3. Lovely quilt! I am still plugging away on my quilt and what I'm finding is now that all the components are made, they all require "trueing up". Uggghhhhh! why can't I sew perfect piecing? Oh well, so it goes...yours is very your fabrics!