Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Selvedge String Race Quilt and First AHIQ Link Up

This is why I keep my fabric in clear containers. When I decided to save selvedges, the only empty spot was a small drawer. Stuff kept going in; nothing came out; it was easy to forget. But now that it's come to light, I simply have to "make it or move it." My improv book study chose to work on strings again this past month. I have several ideas but these selvedges are screaming for attention. So I'm combining the two projects.

Selvedges stashed in a drawer are finally brought to light when the drawer no longer closes.
Problems:
  1. Huge variety of lengths. Some selvedges are one-eighth yard while others are three yards.
  2. I saved both sides of the fabric. One has printed information while the other may not have any white at all.
  3. Some selvedges are bound-edge while others are fringe-edge.
  4. I don't want to use a foundation. (The Hotter'n Hell Hundred helps explain my disinterest in thick quilts. No. I have not raced, but I have lived through these summers.) 
Racing reminded me. My sister made a Jelly Roll Race quilt at her guild retreat last year. I've never made one and don't buy jelly rolls but the fabric shape seemed similar enough. Sew long strips end to end making a very loooong strip. The ends are brought to the top so two sides can be sewn together to the fold. Cut and repeat until your quilt reaches the length/width combination you want.

Starting on the woven edge, I backstitched to keep it from unravelling when I cut the thread close then sewed off the cut side.

A new problem arose. Because the selvedges can only be sewn one way, that loooong strip has to be cut in half before sewing two strips on the side. That's manageable although the strip is as long as Rapunzel's hair.

I tried to pair both selvedges from each fabric but otherwise just used them as they came. Random selection. They range in width from a scant half-inch to three inches. Greater consistency would be better if I cut selvedges again - perhaps one-inch past the printed section or 1.5 inches total.

Here's what it looks like with the first two strips sewn.

Selvedges sewed end to end. Then overlapped and sewed together.
The improv book study met the next day and I had only completed one more repetition. Mine is on the left in an accordion fold (Ten folds actually.) Look at the delicious results from everyone. Clockwise from mine, Tami alternated glorious golds with skinny navy strips. MN organized her strips into color groups and crosscut each with an X. She's almost finished binding this delightful small quilt. ML created wonderful mockups of different ideas using digital color photos. (She keeps them in a binder. I need to adopt this idea.) Now she's creating a table runner with large triangles of strips.

A second month of String tops from the Improv Book Study
I kept working that evening. Here it is after four rounds of cutting and sewing. Wow, a string sheet. The Race is on!

Use selvedge strings to create fabric.
Selvedge Race string sheet.
The sheet curves to the right rather than straight. I need to think some more.

It's time for our first Ad-Hoc Improv Quilt Link-up. Improv has so many different meanings. Although Kaja and I have written several posts recently, we are on tenterhooks to read your ideas and see how you've been working.


18 comments:

  1. Those are the same factors that leave me stumped over using selvages Ann. The fringed selvages especially leave me wondering what to do. I have done a jelly roll race quit and it was fun, but holy cow those first couple of Rapunzel-ish seams take forever. Your selvage strings look really cool, so clearly a race was a good way to tackle them. Did you trim down the varying widths? Love your group's work - wonderful pieces and colors!

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    1. After looking at them closely, I sewed the fringed selvedges about an eighth of an inch inside of the woven part, i.e., didn't count the fringe as part of that measurement. Some fringes are pretty hairy. :-) Having never made a jelly roll race, I didn't realize how long they got. I think this worked out well for me since it saved lots of selvedge. I made a sample rectangle and wasted about a third of it after I cut the length I wanted. I left the widths as they came, simply tried to overlap a fat quarter-inch. (Not trusting the overlap.)
      Everyone is so clever and made colorful choices. Still not sure what I will think of mine.

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  2. Ann and Kaja, thanks for providing this fun place to share improv adventures. You'll have to bear with me whilst I struggle through learning how to work my own blog, but I did link back to the AHIQ from within my post. I'm darned if I can figure out how to put the buttin in the sidebar but I'll keep trying. I got so excited this month that I went on and did another round of triangles (eh, so to speak) also posted on my blog. Am really enjoying looking at what others are doing, too! Only problem is it is keeping me in front of my computer and out of the sewing room. Cheers!

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    1. Thanks for joining in, Sue. We are so looking forward to what everyone is doing. There's lots to learn; it's so invigorating to share our progress and discoveries. I'm looking forward to your next set of triangles.

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  3. You say selvedge...I say selvage. And however you say it I need to do something with mine too but really didn't ever leave much to work with past the actual selvage. I'm anxious to see what you end up with. I like your idea.

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    1. I can't believe I started collecting them!. Now I can't make myself stop. And the worst was having them tucked away. So easy to ignore/forget. Hopefully this will use them up and I can start a 12-step program to quit collecting more!

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  4. Interesting to see your work with these strips! I've always found the idea of selvage work challenging.:)

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    1. I'm not sure why I started saving them. Perhaps to make postcards or pillows? But there's a whole mess of them now!

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  5. It is looking good. I always wanted to try some improv quilting but have never been sure where to start. This may be where I start on improv adventure. I will add your button to my blog and hopefully I will be adding my improv projects to your Linky parties in the near future, For the moment I will enjoy what everyone is working on and learning more as I go.

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    1. I hope you will join us; we are all learning together. It is a better adventure with a group; there are others to offer thoughtful ideas and support. Thanks for the kind comments, Cynthia.

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  6. What a clever way to use the selvage strips. I sometimes just use my fabric right to the edge so the selvage just goes into the quilt - I've been too disorganised to cut them off though I have considered it. It will be interesting to watch this evolve. It's also good to see your take with the work of others in your group - all so different but from the same starting point. Very cool.

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    1. I've done that, too, so I guess cutting selvedges off keeps me from that problem. The book study group is wonderful. It's a great place to discuss topics in detail. And then, even though we're all working on the same topic, it always amazes me how different everyone's results are. I hope this linkup develops similarly. Such great growth for all of us.

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  7. The deal with selvages is that the more there are, the easier it is to like the end result. I've done quite a few quilts/projects with selvages but the ones on foundation laid flatter and curved less. I tried a couple without foundation and they ended up being cut down into squares and used for pillow tops or blocks set with sashing (to corral that curviness). About 2 years ago, I finally tossed the rest of my selvages - they had taken up real estate in the studio for just too long. Good for you for getting yours out and putting them to work!

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    1. Thanks, Julie. It makes sense that a foundation would keep them straighter. As for using them all up, it looks like I will have half of them left when I finish this quilt. Hopefully I can figure out what to do with the rest - and quit saving new ones!

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  8. Lara B told me about the Ad Hoc Improv Group. I am all over this puppy! Thanks!

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    1. I'm so glad you're joining in! Everyone's style is so different that we all have various ideas to share.

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  9. Well, I didn't have time for improv this month, but it is nice to read about everyone else's experiences! It is a great idea for a link up, I hope interest will continue. :D

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed everyone's posts, Monica. This is what we hope will happen each time. There's so much to share. I hope to see your work next month.

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