Training Tuesday: Strip Piecing, pt 3 (Final)

This is the final piece on our three week training on Strip Piecing.

“About Beulahland”, by Jan Myers

“Beulahland is the only quilt to date that I’ve done for which the concept of the piecing and the quilting occurred simultaneously; that is, the quilting is an essential part of the design. (Normally, I plan my quilting after the top is pieced.) My concept for Beulahland was simple: I envisioned strips and running diagonally through the piece, interrupted by solid fields (larger bands) of color that were quilted to continue the movement of the diagonal strips. At this point, I did not picture that the diagonals would zigzag across the work or that it would have borders. I wanted to let the piece build itself.

“I began by piecing the strips (which were cut 1 1/2″ wide), off-setting them 1” since I knew that they would be cut on the diagonal and I wanted to avoid waste. After I had made several of tehse “new” pieces of fabric, I cut a width of diagonal piecing that was about 3″ wide and 30″ long, then added a width of solid fabric to that. I hung it up, stood back and looked at it, and decided what width of diagonals I wanted to add next, did so, then added the next band of solid, etc..

“After each addition, I looked at what I had, deciding what width I wanted to add next. When I was not too far into the project, I decided to reverse the direction of the diagonals, so at that point I had to piece together more strips with the diagonals going in the other directions. I worked my way across the piece, with the solid bands moving from pink to green, and when I got to the green, I was done with this part of the quilt. I studied it for a good while, trying to decide what to do next, pinning up different colors and widths of fabric, trying to decide what to do for a border. I decided that as a final frame around the whole piece, I wanted to use the diagonal piecework. In the cream-colored border strip, I reversed the direction of the quilting, and I did this because the diagonals int he border don’t really line up with the diagonals in the vertical bands in several places, and this would have been obvious if I’d tried to connect them. So, it was a “good mistake,” because I think the quilting in the border adds another element to the piece that it would not have had if everything had lined up perfectly. That is the way Beulahland was built from an idea, as I progressed.

“The idea to strip piece in the first place came from the QNM article about Nancy Crow in “The Meetin’ Place” (Issue No. 124) in which she talked about making “new” fabrics by piecing, then cutting these up and piecing again. It inspired me to try the method, and I like it very much.”

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“Guidelines For Making Beulahland”

“Decide on the colors you want to use, and cut them in 1 1/2” wide strips. Sew the strips together in the order you have planned, then cut the “yardage” into bands of the desired width plus seam allowance. The quilt diagram below gives the measurements of the vertical panels in the quilt. You can make your quilt wider, or longer, by altering the measurements to suit your needs. The diagonal lines show the direction of the strips in the pieced bands.

“Stagger the strips when piecing them, as shown here, if you wish to avoid fabric waste. The broken lines in the figure above represent cutting lines for bands of various widths.”

Bonnie Leman talks about Yvonne Porcella & Jan Myers

“Yvonne Porcella teaches and lectures on the art of strip piecing and quilting and is the author of two books on the subject, ‘Pieced Clothing,’ and ‘Pieced Clothing Variations;’ the latter is reviewed in this issue. Yvonne’s first career was as a surgical nurse, and she says, ‘I think I may have become interested in making colorful, one-of-a-kind garments as a subconscious revolt against having to wear white uniforms for so many years.’ Yvonne’s students and audience are always impressed, not only by her creative and bold designs, but also by her superb workmanship. Attending one of her entertaining lectures leaves one eager to take risks and be innovative with color and fabric.

“Jan Myers likes the creativity and freedom of dyeing the fabric she uses for quilts. She says, ‘My involvement with quilts is tightly linked to a general need for order in my life. My first work was highly systematic and calculated. As I work with expanding my color fields, I find I am more and more free to explore on a less structured basis. The underlying theme remains the same though; I am fascinated with color and light. When designing, I aim for color and value placement that will give each work its own light.’ Jan uses cold-water procion dyes, and says they are not particularly hard or time-consuming to use. Jan’s quilts have been featured on television in the quilting series by Penny McMorris and WBGU-TV in Ohio, now on PBS.”

The following is what I created while reading about Strip Piecing in this Quilter’s Newsletter. I took what Jan Myers made and tried my own version.

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She calls this “Abacus.”

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And here’s my “Abacus.” I can’t believe how similar all of this article from the 1980s is to the Bargello quilts of today. I learned a little bit about strip piecing and will apply it in the future again. How about y’all?

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