I’m making great progress on the king sized quilt for our bed. I posted a few weeks ago about the process for making the string pieced blocks (click here for a link to that post). As soon as all 120 blocks were completed I couldn’t resist laying them out on the floor of my studio. After admiring them for a day I realized I wasn’t able to move in there, so I gathered them all up for the next step: paper removal!
This proved to be much easier than I expected, and I’d like to share the process I came up with. My first discovery was that the blocks I pieced on pages from an old phone book were the easiest foundations to remove. I highly recommend them. But the ones pieced on regular paper weren’t all that difficult either.
I quickly got into a rhythm. Here’s the process:
- Begin at a corner and place your thumbnail along the seam at the edge of the paper to protect the stitches from pulling out. With your other hand rip the corner triangle back over the seam quickly.
2. Pull the next foundation piece away from the stitching at one end, place your thumb under it, and run it to the other end, releasing the paper from the seam.
3. Hold the stitches secure with your thumbnail on the next seam and repeat step 1.
I continue removing strips until I reach the center diagonal seam, then I rotate the block and continue from the opposite corner until all the strips are removed.
Once all the blocks have been freed from their foundations, it’s time to sew them together. This quilt is really scrappy, so there’s no reason to overthink the layout – unless it matters to you. (I have friends who would agonize over this – and you know who you are 🤣).
I decided to begin by sewing them together into pairs in the shape of a “V”:
And continued until I had 60 pairs. I then sewed the pairs into rows of 4s, making sure that the ends of each strip remained Vs:
As I sewed these units of 4s into 8s I realized that if I kept sewing these units together in this fashion I wouldn’t get the results I wanted because my plan was to have 20 blocks across. Sewing two 8s into 16s was fine, but sewing two 16s would not give me 20! So I needed to set aside 10 of the above 4 block units before I stitched my 8s into 16s. The saved 4s would then give me the 20 block rows I required.
Notice how the pair of blocks on each end of the 8 block units are still Vs:
The 8s will be sewn into 16s (with Vs on the ends – this may be repetitive, but there’s a reason – read on 😊):
Once the 4 block units were added, it was time to press. As I made the blocks I consistently pressed the seam allowances in the same direction. If you zoom in to the rows below, you’ll notice all the vertical seam allowances are pressed to the right:
By pressing all the V rows alike I am able to flip every other row to create diamonds, and the seam allowances will butt (kiss and hug) when the rows are sewn together. Proper pressing does make the quilt lay flatter.
I am really enjoying this project and am confident I’ll have a new king sized quilt on my bed before year’s end. Stay tuned 😃!
PS In my last post about this quilt Shellie commented with the question “why bother with the paper when piecing these blocks”. Since you may have missed my reply – I thought I’d share it here:
“I’ve made a quilt where I pieced chunks and strips without a foundation, and then cut them into the proper sized squares. I discovered there was a lot of measuring and fussing to achieve the right size and shape. I found that frustrating. So when Lori told me of this technique I wanted to give it a try. I like the way the size and shape are obvious as I piece, and the angle is kept perfectly.”