10 April, 2009

Improv Sampler - Chopsticks

There really is more to improvisational quilting that wonky log cabins.  Of course, those are good too.  But this technique, which I call chopsticks, is the first step in some fun designs.

Start with a square that is roughly the size you want your finished block to be.  Or just start with a square in any size and see what happens.  Cut some strips of other fabrics, slightly longer than your square.

Slice your square on any angle - through the middle, close to the side, or even lop off a corner. Don't throw away either piece.  It is best to keep the pieces set-up as if you just cut them so you can remember how it all goes back together.

Pick up the piece on the left side and sew one of your strips to it, right sides together.  Open and press.

Pick up the remaining piece of your square and sew it to the edge of the strip, as if you were sewing the original square back together (but with the strip in between).  Open and press.

You can sew one strip or many.  The process is the same every time.  Start with the square, slice, re-sew, and press.  Your strips can be parallel, on an skewed angle, or even perpendicular, like this quilt.

Important tips for this technique:
- Don't start with a square that is exactly the finished size you want because you will lose bits as you re-sew.  Start larger and trim down.
- Try not to have strips less than 3/4 inch on the edges.
- Strongly contrasting fabrics work best, but you could get a subtle design with fabrics close in value or colour.

8 comments:

Victoria said...

Your chopstick blocks look great! Very fun!

jacquie said...

i love doing this too. easy and gives some interesting looking blocks!

Megan Smith said...

Could you applique the strips or do you not recommend that?

the 6 o'clock stitch said...

Thanks for sharing your technique. Looks like a lot of fun.

brown robin said...

Wow! You have been so busy and everything's fantastic. You are such a quilting inspiration to me. You have me wanting to do another again. I loved the story about your anniversary quilt. I love your new cirles work too. One of these days, I'm going to step out of my box and try some of that....

Amy @ Park City Girl said...

Love the chopstick technique! I've done the same with a circle - really fun :) Thanks for sharing your tips!

Leslie said...

this block looks like a lot of fun. I love how fun and modern they are. thanks for the details

amandajean said...

i love the chopsticks blocks. i want to try some of those now.