Thursday, February 26, 2015

Irish Chain Twist Quilt-A-Long - Twists On Tradition Units

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Irish Chain Twist Quilt-A-Long.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win $100.00 or $75.00 Gift Certificate grand prizes sponsored by The Intrepid Thread and Fat Quarter Shop ) you can find a list of the post links here :)  Here is the schedule:

Improvisational Piecing Units
Improvisational Piecing Block
Twists on Tradition Units - Feb 26th
Modern Patchwork Block - Mar 5th
Appliqued Chains Block - Assembling - Mar 12th
Appliqued Chains Block - Stitching - Mar 19
Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky - Mar 26th
Parade and Grand Prizes - April 23rd

Before we get any farther,  we need to pick a winner for last weeks Improvisational Piecing Block assignment.   And great job to everyone that finished up their Blocks!!! I loved seeing all of your first sets of blocks for the QAL, so fun!!!!

The Improvisation Piecing Block winner who gets a Autumn Lily Bundle and Mini Charm pack  from Shabby Fabrics is . . .
#26  -   Colleen!! - Congrats :)


So here we are, moving onto a new set of blocks:)  If you are just finding this QAL, it's never to late to join in the fun :)  Just see the schedule above for the posts you missed and start quilting along ;)  


Today we are going to have so fun Strip Piecing.  If you have never Strip Pieced before you are in for a treat.  It is a great time saver ;)  So let's get to it :)


 So first off, we need to match up our strips.   Your 3" Print Strips are going to be sewn with the 2 1/2" Background Strips  and your 2 1/2" Strips are going to be sewn with your 3" strips.  Group them together like I have shown below and keep them separate, because it is super easy to mix them up ;)

And now are strips matched up, we are going to do some strip piecing.   In strip piecing, you don't have to worry about ends lining up perfectly.  I already trimmed my prints selvages but didn't on my background selvages.  So when I sew, I will just overhang my selvage ;)  And a quick double check for you each time, you should always be sewing a Print and a Background strip and the widths shouldn't match up ;)

When I Strip Piece, I always turn my stitch length down a bit.  It doesn't have to be a lot, but it is best to use a slightly smaller stitch than normal.  This is because when you sub-cut them you are going to be cutting right through your stitching, so you don't want it to unravel ;)

So, with your stitch length smaller, you are ready to start stitching.  I started with the 2 1/2" wide Print fabrics and 3" Background Fabrics.  I find it easier to put the wider strip on the bottom and the skinnier strip on the top with right sides together.  Now just  Stitch a 1/4" seam along the long edge of your first matched strip set. And again, it doesn't matter if the edges match perfectly.  Just align the two fabrics as you go, stitching all the way down the length of the strip.

And when you get to the end of one strip, oh ya, more chain stitching ;)  Just feed the next strip set through, sewing a 1/4" seam and aligning as you go ;)  Repeat this for all of the 2 1/2" wide Print fabrics and 3" Background Fabrics sets.  Clip your threads when you are done.

And then, it's time to move on to the 2 1/2" wide Background fabrics and 3" Print Fabric Sets.  These are sewn the exact same way as the previous strip sets.  Just align as you go, this time with the Print fabric strip on the bottom and the Background fabric strip on top ;)  Chain Stitch all of your strip sets and then clip your threads.

And now it is time to move to the ironing board.   Now, let me start with a disclaimer here, you will be ironing a lot of long strip sets, and it is very easy to get going to fast.   Slow down  and really take the time to press each set perfectly :)   You will be pressing the seam allowance towards the Print Strip.  To do this, I like to press strip sets from the front. This helps me from pulling and stretching the long strip.    I run my finger along the seam, just in front of my iron to ensure that I don't have any little bubbles creeping into my seam allowance.  Use lots of steam and keep them nice and crisp ;)  And just press, press away ;)


And with all of your seams pressed, you are ready to move on to sub-cutting your strip sets.   We will start with your 2 1/2" Print and 3" Background Strip Sets.   Double check that these are what you are working with as the different strip sets are subcut at different widths.  It would be so sad to cut the wrong sets.

Fold a strip set in half, aligning the smallest raw edges and lay it out on your cutting mat aligning the top of the strip set with a horizontal line on your cutting mat.  Now, you might think to stack these up on top of one another to speed up your cutting, but it often ends up with crooked cuts.  You are already cutting over 4 layers where the seams meet up ;)  So rather than stacking up, spread out as shown below.  You can easily fit 3 strip sets on a large cutting mat ;)  Just be sure that your raw edges are close to matching up on the left hand side of all your strip sets.

To start your cutting, you will need to make a straight edge.  Place your ruler along the Vertical line of your mat that is just over the raw edges of all 3 of your strip sets.  Cut along the edge of your ruler to create a nice straight edge.  Discard the scrap.

Now, measure in 2 1/2".  You can check your measurement in 2 places.  The raw edges of your strip sets should align with the 2 1/2" mark on your ruler (white arrows) and the edge of your ruler should align with 2 1/2" in on your mat.  I like to double check both to ensure I am getting a super straight cut ;)  With your measurements double checked, cut along the edge of the ruler.

And now, it is just rinse and repeat ;)   Once again, move your ruler in 2 1/2", double-check your 2 places of 2 1/2" measurements, and cut along the edge of your ruler.

You will repeat this process a total of 8 times and have a little bit of scrap left at the end that can be discarded.  This will create 16 2-patch units per Strip Set :)

Repeat this process for all of your 2 1/2" Print and 3" Background Strip Sets.  You will end up with a pretty pile that looks something like this ;)

And then, you are ready to move onto sub-cutting  the  3" Print and 2 1/2" Background Strip Sets.  This is done using the same process, there is just a little extra at the end ;)  So once again, align 3 folded strip sets along the horizontal lines of your mat with your smallest raw edges aligned.

Align your ruler along the Vertical Line closest to your smallest raw edge and cut a straight edge.

Now measure in 3", yes a different measurement!!  We will be cutting 3" wide this time :)  Once again, you can double check your measurements.  The raw edge of your strip sets should align with the 3" mark on your ruler and your rulers edge should align 3" in on the vertical line of your cutting mat.   And with your ruler aligned, cut along the edge of it.

And then again, move in another 3", double check that you are aligned, and cut along the edge of the ruler.

Continue in this fashion sub-cutting 6 times.  This will create 12 units per Strip Set and have a larger piece of scrap at the end of your strip set.  We will be using that piece of scrap ;)

Unfold the scrap and lay it on your mat open with the raw edges all aligned on the same Vertical Line on your mat ;)

One last time, measure in 3", double check your measurement, and cut along the edge of your ruler.  Now you can scrap that little bit of leftover ;)

So in the end, you will have 13 2-Patch Units Strip Set.  Repeat this process for all of your 3" Print and 2 1/2" Background Strip Sets.

And now you have a pile of 3" Two Patch Units and a pile of 2 1/2" Two Patch Units and you are done for the week!!!!

So here is the summary.  This is how many 2 1/2" subcut units you made up and how many 3" subcut units you should have made.  As you can see, you are going to have a few extras depending on the size you make. (just hold on to them for now, more on them next week ;)   If you were using Fat Quarters, these charts might just come in handy.  Depending on your sub-cutting, you might find you need a few extra units that you will just need to stitch up by cutting 2 1/2" and 3" squares ;) 

And with your Assignment all complete, you are ready to link up for a chance to win the Weekly Prize!!!!

This weeks Weekly Prize is being sponsored by Bear Creek Quilting Company and a huge thanks goes to them for their support of the Irish Chain Twist Quilt-A-Long.

This weeks prize is 2 Dear Stella Charm Packs!!!  Love the polka-dot goodness!!!

So what do you have to do for a chance to win these goodies?  Simple . . . Just link up your Twists on Tradition Units at the end of this post :)  You can link to a blog post, flickr picture, Instagram, Facebook . . .  or whatever.  Just make sure to link up by next Thursday morning as I will be announcing a winner at the beginning of next weeks post :)

If you don't get your Twists on Tradition Units done by next week you can still link it up :) (just not in time for the prize :)    The linky will remain open until the end of the Quilt-A-Long.  So if your out of town, or just had a busy week, no worries!!!  Just link up when you can :)

And Don't forget to add your sewn units to the Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group and to post it on social media with using #irishchaintwistqal.    I am so excited to see your blocks!!!!

So let's get strip piecing !!!  And if you have questions, don't hesitate to email me at  Have a Happy Quilting Day!!

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  1. Yippee!!!! I love the colors in Autumn Lily! Thank you Melissa. I'm having a lot of fun with this QAL and am looking forward to diving into this week's assignment. This is Colleen (aka Skootchover) by the way. :)

  2. Assignment completed and shared! I hope #3 is my lucky number this week, I'd love to win all that polka-dot goodness!!! I am really starting to enjoy strip piecing. I need something to work on until next Thursday now!! I'm thinking I need to go shopping to buy some fabric to make the Bonnie Rose quilt you shared yesterday!!

  3. Loving these assignments! You make it so easy for us by breaking the steps up.

  4. Hey Melissa, can you clarify whether it is 4 of each 2.5" and 3" sets per block? The instructions above say the lap blanket needs 4 additional 3" pieces total, every other one needs the same number of each set.

    1. Sorry Esther, that was a typo, thanks for letting me know ;) You only need 60 of the 3" :)

  5. Melissa,
    If my background fabric is darker than my print, should I press towards the darker fabric? Just checking.

    1. HI Camille, Yes, I would press it to the background if it is darker ;) Just be sure to do it for all your strips ;)


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)