Do you work better when you have a deadline? I sure do.
One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to enter items I've sewn in my county fair. The day to enter this year is August 6th. Yep, next Monday. I've got a few finishes I'm planning on entering (it only costs $1) but I'd really like to finish and enter my Dresden Challenge throw quilt if I possibly can. I hadn't worked on it recently until just a few days ago when I pulled out some leftover strip sets I had sewn up from my Dresden Wave tutorial. I cut those and just got started. I figured out how many more strip sets I would need and started cutting in to the remainder of my fabric, hoping I'd have enough. I BARELY made it. I had exactly enough left, with only uneven raw edges remaining. =)
The thing I think I like most about making this quilt is that it combines two of my favorite time-saving methods: strip piecing and chain piecing. Here is my insane pile of chain piecing--I just kept making the pile bigger until I got through all of them! I've got over 20 blocks in progress here, maybe closer to 30.
Each block has 5 pieces, and the first step in block assembly is to sew them into pairs. It's easy enough to keep corresponding pairs stacked together so they don't get separated, but what about that fifth piece that isn't sewn onto anything yet? I pinned it to the side of one of the pairs to keep it from getting lost. If you're just making one or two blocks at a time you don't have to worry about the pieces getting mixed up, but I'm mass-producing this and it would be a big waste of time to have to match them all back up again! This was an extra step, but it seemed like a real time-saver to me.
Once I got them sewn into pairs I pinned both sides of each block as I pressed them. Here's the layout:
I pinned on the parellogram first because it is small and doesn't overlap the other seam, therefore it won't get sewn in by accident.
Then I pinned on the other side.
Here's my pile. When sewing these I sewed down one side of all of them, then turned around the whole chain of pieces and sewed the other side. I love making it go fast!
The thing I dislike most about this method is the waste. You really lose a lot on the outside of the curves. I still love the look though, and I think it is worth it. I lined these ones up a little differently than I did in my original tutorial and cut them to 6 1/2 by 9 1/4. I've got 26 blocks done, and a bunch more in progress. I need 48 altogether, then they need sashing on two sides to make them squares.
I am uber excited for this quilt.
I can get pieces for three blocks out of each 8 1/2" wide strip set with these odd shapes left over. I've got an idea up my sleeve for the back that will use these puppies that looks great in my head. I hope it turns out like I'm picturing it. I think I might wait to reveal that part until the EZ Dresden Link-up Party September 1-6. Maybe.
I'm linking up today at Work In Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.