Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stripping for a Wedding (Blanket, that is!)

When my son and wife-to-be decided on a Native American wedding ceremony, to be conducted by a good friend who is an Iroquois medicine woman, they needed a white blanket.
So of course when your son asks for something special, it doesn't matter what else is on the schedule...I said I would make it! But there wasn't time to make a real quilt, so I fell back on 2 grand traditions: Strip piecing and "Summer spreads" (like a quilt but no batting layer).

First I collected all my white fabrics, which is hard because I generally do not use white. Then I asked all my friends for fabric, and finally I was "forced" to go fabric shopping!
After that, I randomly cut strips between 1.5" and 3" in width. The idea was to make something all white...but still show a lot of texture with the seams and slight differences among the whites.
For the foundations, I used pages from the Sunday newspaper sales flyers! It's lightweight and tears away easily. I cut them into 10.5" squares, as that is the largest size I could get from the most flyers.
Each square starts with a strip going diagonally, right side up.
Then lay another strip on top, with the right sides facing, and sew all the way to the end of the paper.
Don't bother to measure anything...just cut off the extra length.

Some of the short ends can be sewn into pairs, which are handy for filling up the paper foundation out near the corner...the seams get short there. I sewed a couple of short sets in between the full squares to keep that chain going!
 I did take the time to press the strips open, so there would not be any surprise tucks in the seams. But I only did it after I had 2 strips to on each side of the center.
 Now it's time to trim!
Strip or string piecing is a wonderful way to use up scraps...and I must admit it bugged me to be "wasting" so much fabric that I bought just for this project!
Trim to the edge of the paper foundation, if you cut it a certain size. There is enough excess fabric here that I could have cut the blocks a bit larger, if I had wanted. Like maybe adding a forgotten seam allowance?

 Love that blue painters doesn't leave any residue on the ruler or fabric or whatever.
I trimmed the top and right side, using the ruler's edge, then turned the block around to finish the other two sides. The tape is marking where to line up the trimmed corner before making the second cut.
 All trimmed up and ready to go! Some of the fabrics had a shine, and I tried to get at least one of those in each block.
The paper comes off fairly easily if you fold it back and crease it before tearing.
And it helps a lot if you remember to sew all the strips with a shorter stitch!
The blocks are sewn together as with any quilt blocks. The seams are not intended to be fact, I don't think they could be!
All the seams can be set to run the same direction, or they can be set to alternate, which looks like an X or a diamond.

This is techincally not a quilt, as it has only two layers. The backing is white, and I just stitched "in the ditch" around each block to keep the thing from puffing up like a big marshmellow!
And beacuse it was to be part of the Blanket Ceremony, I finished the edge with a white satin blanket binding. 

It was hard to make something all white....I am a color-lover! Bright colors! Bold prints!
But I'm pleased with this, even if it is a lot more subtle than my usual work. 

Here's the happy couple with the blanket symbolizing their union. May they have a long and happy future together!
The white blanket's future is unknown at this time.
It might just stay as it is. Or I might take it apart and use it as a background for some appliques, and then quilt it with colorful thread!

Only time will tell.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's not a gift to the kids.......or could be used, sometime in the future, for a baby blanket or 2!!!