March 10, 2008
My quilt is moving along. I wish I had a finished top to show you, but I changed my plan and am adding a different border that is taking much more time (of course). It is going to be so much better than plan a, that I am not complaining (much) about plan b.
So you all want to make x's, don't you? I have to say, first and foremost, that I had no idea where to start when I first saw the inspiration for this quilt. I am not really a quilter. I'm just working on earning that title. Of course, since Sarah led me to said inspiration and is making her very own string x quilt, I asked her where I should start. She graciously sent me a big flickr mail with loads of info, lots of tips and then another one after that. Big thanks to you, Sarah. Really.
I think it all clicked for me when Sarah pointed me to Heather Bailey's Freshcut quilt. Of course I had seen it before - I do read her blog and a huge chunk of this quilt is made out of her fabric. Well, wouldn't you know, it's an string x quilt, too? Well, kind of, at least. The fabrics that make up her x's aren't the same so they don't look like x's per se, but the idea is the same. While reading the supply list, I noticed the 12.5" square quilting ruler. That was my "A-ha!" moment. I had thought I would have to piece rectangles and then trim them to make squares, but a ruler? Genius! And of course, a real quilter would know they actually existed. See, I told you I am a fake-o quilter. You should believe me. OK, now I am sure you can still do this without a square ruler. I just justified my purchase because the squares for the Virtual Quilting Bee need to be 12.5" too....and look, that is just 12 more squares for me to use it on!
So I started where Heather has you start. I cut 4" x 18" strips out of my white fabric. Lots of them. My quilt takes 36. At this point, I stopped following Heather's directions and just started adding fabrics in my studied random way - you know....so it looks random, but in all actuality is very studied. I think I managed not over thinking it about, um, 50% of the time (I am being generous with myself here, too). Anyhow, at this point, I took my rotary cutter and cut various widths of various fabrics and started piecing.
I used 1/4" seam allowances throughout and pressed the seams away from the white strip. I placed my ruler over the white strip to see how long each additional strip needed to be. Sometimes I used 4 fabrics, sometimes up to 6. I didn't worry about straight lines and matching the colored strips. I like it all wonky. Once I had 4 blocks pieced, I used my ruler and squared them up.
To do this, I lined up the white strip with the lines on my cutting mat and then centered the ruler on the middle line.
Then using the rotary cutter, I trimmed the excess away.
Next, I sewed them together in to an x. Match up those seams (where the white meets the colors) and use lots of pins. Don't skimp here - trust me. It is no fun to rip out uneven seams.
I was afraid if I waited until all 36 were sewn to make the actual x's, I would never finish it. You know - the random factor - it would be overwhelming. It was a good plan.
I stopped after 9 x's - now all I need to do is add borders to make it the size I want. Of course, in a perfect world, I would make 3 more x's for Euro shams...one thing at a time, Erin.
Confused yet? Please say no. If you are really befuddled, ask away. I will try my best to explain better. And if you have lasted this long, you might want to know I have updated my blog links in the sidebar. Check them out, people.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a border to finish piecing.
This is going to be one BEAUTIFUL quilt! I loved your inspiration quilt too. It kind of gives me a headache thinking about all the work it must have taken, but I'm going to attempt a doll quilt to start with. Beautiful job, I say! Beautiful job!
Posted by: greenchickadee | March 10, 2008 at 09:02 AM
This quilt is going to be wonderful. I bought a square ruler a month ago and couldn't figure out why I hadn't done so earlier. They are fabulous!
Posted by: Rachel | March 10, 2008 at 09:25 AM
I cannot wait to see the quilt on the bed, cannot wait!
Posted by: Mama Urchin | March 10, 2008 at 09:45 AM
It is beautiful so far, and I thank you so much for sharing how to do it. I'm so scared to start quilting. I have to learn to let go and just go for it. You are doing such a great job!
Posted by: Mellissa - wondermommy | March 10, 2008 at 09:59 AM
I love the fabrics you've chosen - greens and pinks look so great together. Thanks for sharing your method too!
Posted by: Helen | March 10, 2008 at 10:11 AM
I can't wait to see it all together, I know it's going to be amazing. Thanks for sharing how to piece the blocks.
Posted by: Autum | March 10, 2008 at 10:16 AM
wow - thanks, erin! i'll have to add this to the LONG list of quilts i want to make!
are you going to have your quilt professionally quilted? the larger the size, the harder it is to do yourself.
Posted by: kirsten | March 10, 2008 at 10:18 AM
the secret truth no one tells you is that everyone starts as a fake-o quilter. i know i did... i think i may have earned my stripes by now, but not without a lot of trial and error (and a *lot* of a-ha moments regarding little tricks, like with the ruler). i will say that had my first project been as lovely as yours is turning out to be, i would have been thrilled. seriously, beautiful work. now just keep going! :)
Posted by: kristy | March 10, 2008 at 10:21 AM
i'm a wanna-be fake-o quilter. so how's that!?
i'm fascinated by the thinking process that went on in order to figure out how to make this work. like a giant puzzle. wonderful.
Posted by: emily | March 10, 2008 at 10:37 AM
You make me giggle, with a little bit of random here, and a little bit there. Thanks for sharing your process though. I can't wait to see the finished product!
Posted by: Tracy | March 10, 2008 at 10:54 AM
No, that was a great explanation. It's going to be such a lovely quilt. Since I cutting all my scraps into strips at the moment, this may be a great project for those. The randomness may be a problem for me too though.
Posted by: Anina | March 10, 2008 at 11:33 AM
i'm in lust. you make me want to rush over to the fat quarter shop and buy up fabric i probably would never use... gorgeous!
Posted by: Melana | March 10, 2008 at 11:39 AM
This looks beautiful. I can not wait to see the finished product. I started making my first real quilt yesterday, now i say real because i am trying to alter an existing pattern to make my own. Its my second quilt. The first quilt was like one of those quilt by numbers jobbies and as much as i love it i didnt feel that great sense of accomplishment when i had finished it. Anyways, i just wanted to say you have done a great job explaining all of this and this might be my next quilting project.
Posted by: lynne | March 10, 2008 at 12:04 PM
Absolutely gorgeous Erin! I love that you walked us through it since I'm seriously contemplating making one after seeing the beauty of yours.
Posted by: sarah jackson | March 10, 2008 at 12:07 PM
great tutorial, and thanks for the mention. I can't wait to see it all done, it will be lovely.
Posted by: Sarah Grainger | March 10, 2008 at 12:32 PM
ok, you have no idea how happy i am you shared this with us. i have seen a few more X quilts out there, and i adore them. Satirday night I was racking my brain trying to figure out the correct way to do this. Maybe I will have to give it a try now.
Posted by: katie | March 10, 2008 at 01:22 PM
Posted by: Stephanie | March 10, 2008 at 02:07 PM
i love it.
Posted by: leslie | March 10, 2008 at 02:24 PM
you are the quilting queen in my book! i can't believe you are almost done!
Posted by: jen | March 10, 2008 at 02:25 PM
Thanks so much for sharing this, Erin (and the pictures make it SO clear!). I've been green with envy ever since you posted your first X-string squares. I love your color scheme and can't wait to see the finished product of plan B!
Posted by: Angela | March 10, 2008 at 02:34 PM
thanks for sharing the method. It's very inspiring....oh no I really don't need to make a quilt right now! Amazing how difficult it is to be random...
Posted by: celine | March 10, 2008 at 03:09 PM
Wow. This actually makes it easier to think about trying something like this.
Posted by: Jen | March 10, 2008 at 04:03 PM
These colors couldn't be more perfect!
Posted by: Visty | March 10, 2008 at 04:34 PM
This quilt is just going to be my most favoritist thing in the whole wide world. I just know it.
Posted by: Grace | March 10, 2008 at 04:49 PM
I love the springy colours of your quilt - it's going to be beautiful!
Posted by: kat | March 10, 2008 at 04:54 PM
Thanks for the how-to!! I've been searching for one since I first saw your X's and the inspiration photos, but to no avail. I even started saving all my strips and scraps! Your directions are clear and easy. Thanks for being an inspiration for the rest of us!
Posted by: Kristen | March 10, 2008 at 05:35 PM
I'm a fake-o quilter, too. Just getting into it, actually. Having all those groovy quilty tools (square rules) would really help but, you see, having those requires having a rotary cutter and having a rotary cutter requires having someplace other than on your bed to do your cutting and sewing.
I sew pretty much everyday but my sewing machine is on my dresser in our bedroom and I have to put the ironing board down whenever I need it because it doesn't fit in our room.
But yeah, as I've said before, I love LOVE the fabrics in your quilt. Lovely.
Posted by: Julie @ Letter9 | March 10, 2008 at 06:43 PM
really beautiful! thanks for sharing your talent and time :)
Posted by: TD wool design | March 10, 2008 at 07:36 PM
it looks excellent! your explaination was perfect.
Posted by: amandajean | March 10, 2008 at 07:57 PM
beautiful fabric. your quilt is going to be lovely!
Posted by: kirsten | March 11, 2008 at 12:26 AM
ooh look at it!!! i am just imagining you working at your only speed; fast.
Posted by: charlotte | March 11, 2008 at 04:31 AM