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Let’s Talk Strips

In keeping with our August SeeHowWeSew theme of strips and stripes – let’s talk strips! I’m extremely fond of those wonderful pre-cut strips (2 1/2″ cuts of your favorite fabric line ready to use). It was only a year or so ago that I tried my first pre-cut (a Moda Jelly Roll), and was surprised how much time I saved by purchasing the strips already cut. Many of the major fabric companies are producing their own versions of pre-cuts: Timeless Treasures does Tonga Treats in beautiful batiks, as does Hoffman with their Bali Pops. Rowan calls their pre-cut strips Design Rolls.

Goodness knows you can still cut your own strips, and I often still do – it just depends on the project. But there is something quite decadent about buying them already cut!!  In addition to our Block of the Month project, I’ve designed two patterns that use 2 1/2″ strips. The first is Block Party, which is a simple-to-sew design, alternating two pieced square blocks with sashing and a pieced border. The blocks are made from 2 1/2″ strips, and the pieced border is a combination of leftover strips and random squares and rectangles. If you’re using pre-cuts, buy a package of 5″ squares in the same line as your strips, and you’ll have enough to combine with the leftover strips to complete the border.

Block Party is one of my favorite patterns and I never get tired of making samples and teaching it! I’ve seen it done in so many different fabric styles and each one has been unique. The first sample is made from strips I cut from my Kaffe Fassett stash (which never seems to shrink, because I keep buying more), using primarily reds and pinks:

I love Kaffe Fassett fabrics!

This next one is made entirely from Amy Butler’s Soul Blossoms line. It’s one of my favorites, but you have to look carefully to see the different fabrics in the photo.

Amy Butler’s Soul Blossoms – awesome!

This one is made from a Timeless Treasures Tonga Treat called Pink Lemonade. I was thrilled with the color palette when I saw the package and knew it had Block Party written all over it.

Pink Lemonade says it all!

The final Block Party sample is made primarily from the Dilly Dally line, designed by Me and My Sister for Moda.  In this quilt, I chose to assemble the squares by color, and I love the result!

These colors are so happy!

My latest pattern made with 2 1/2″ strips is Sweetheart. I think it’s the perfect quilt for a special little girl. For this one, I started with the border fabric (one of my favorite Kaffe Fassett prints), and picked fabrics from my “Kaffe stash” that coordinated with the border fabric.

For girls only!

I hope these projects have inspired you to try strips – they’re lots of fun. Check for the Block Party and Sweetheart patterns at your local quilt shop, and if you can’t find them there, both are available for purchase on my Artichoke Collection website.   

I’m going to be teaching my Retro Chic pattern on Thursday, September 20th,  at Quilting in the Garden. I would love to meet you and promise it will be a fun day. Retro Chic is made from one block with only four pieces (the magic comes from fabric placement). I’ll show you how easy it is to do simple curved piecing. Remember my motto “unique designs with simple techniques for every style.” In other words – nothing to stress over!

Retro Chic – simple curves – easy to make!

Check out this great Quilting in the Garden tee shirt – available at In Between Stitches in Livermore, CA.

 Take care and try strips!

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