In Need of Repair: progress update

…so a few weeks ago I cut a few 2.5″ strips off of a stack of about 16 solid fabrics that were sitting on my cutting table. I didn’t have big plans, I just liked the color combinations. 

I cut each strip roughly into fourths, so about 10-11″ each. I set aside half of the strips just in case I hated where this ended up taking me– no sense wasting tons of fabric on a failed experiment, right? Is that defeatist? Or just good economics?

Then I made sure to shorten my stitch length, since I knew that I would be cutting these apart and didn’t want my stitching to come out. I set the stitch length to 1.8, down from the default 2.2 on my Janome. 


Then I randomly paired strips and sewed them together.

Once I had every one paired and sewn, I pressed seams to one side and went to my cutting table. I used my ruler to cut about half of each strip off, without much regard to keeping my cuts on the straight of grain. I did want straight cuts and not curvy cuts, since my pieces would ultimately be too small to bother with curves.   


When I was finished, I had a big pile of sewn pairs and a bigger pile of unseen singletons.     

I went back to the machine, and “cut the deck” of the singletons so that I wouldn’t be pairing already-paired colors back together. Then I sewed singletons to pairs until I ran out of pairs.   

Then I paired the rest of the singletons together and sewed them too. And I pressed them all in the same direction.  

Before too long, I had accumulated a pretty good collection of improv-pieced strip panels.   


They amounted to over 84″ of strip sets, all told. I don’t know about you, but this makes me think of ice cream sprinkles. 


Then I found my white and off-white solids, and cut all of the odd pieces I had into 5″ charm squares, and cut those across one diagonal. I cross-cut 1.5″x8″ segments of the wonky strips into those diagonals, and sewed squares back together, trimming to 5″ again. 


Then I got bored. So I started cutting half-square triangle units of the strip sets. (Note: they’re not exactly HSTs– the strips are a little over the halfway line instead of right on it, so that they’d go with the rest of the blocks.)


Woohoo, such craziness for a weeknight, no?


Gosh, that last one was just so out of control, I decided to reign it in a bit. 


Whew. I feel less scandalized. 

But then I was out of strips. So I made another 84″ with the other half of the 10-11″ pieces. Hooboy. Party’s gettin’ CRAY all up in here. 

I tried to be civilized. Truly I did. But this would have been 36″ square, finished. And it just wasn’t as interesting as the raw strip sets had been. 


So I decided to bust outta that box, even though I knew it would torture Jerry. 


Turns out I like it better rotated 90 degrees clockwise, like so:


My symmetry-loving husband came in, took one look at it, and spiked a fever of 102F for over 48 hours. Seriously. He blames this quilt. I’ll admit to cackling a bit when he shuddered, it’s true. 

In any case, I’m pretty sure that this is what my brain looks like at the end of the school year– you can see where the structure used to be, but you can also see the evidence of damage and where it’s going to need repair. Thank goodness for summer. I love what I do, but damn, teaching is tough. 

I’ve been calling this piece “In Need of Repair,” because of the subtle silliness implied… “This quilt, ‘In Need of Repair,’ was made in 2015 by Elaine….” Wait… Is that the title? Or the description? 

It’ll finish at 45″ square. 


One thought on “In Need of Repair: progress update”

  1. I have to admit — the one corner not matching the rest does bother me on this one. 🙂

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