Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another Stashbuster

For those that are non-quilters, a stash is the piles of fabric that have "accumulated" in your sewing room.  A stashbuster is a quilt that lets you use up a chunk of your fabric so that you can replace it with new fabric.

The month of January, my quilt guild, Calico Cutters,  has a big sew-in to make quilts for the Chester County Domestic Abuse Shelter.  It takes the place of our monthly meeting.  There's a great committee that organizes it and provides the pre-cut fabric and batting.  Women bring sewing machines, scissors and lunch.  Lots of quilts get completed and those in progress go home with various members and come back in February finished.

I have to admit that I am not a great team player.  I end up spending the meeting going from group to group, socializing and kibbitzing with the many people that I normally don't get to speak with.  So this year I decided to make one of these quilts while I  have been hanging out at home due to the snow.

My goal was to make a kids quilt and use up a chunk of my fabric - a stashbuster.  The palette chosen was blue and green, since I have lots of these fabrics.

I decided to make a take off on a string quilt.  This method dates back to the 1930's and was done on newspaper.  Today we call it paper foundation piecing.I like to use newsprint since it's cleaner.  You can purchase it by the pad at your local art/craft store or if there is a newspaper printing place nearby, you can purchase the ends of the rolls.  Some places will even give them  to you.

This roll will last me for a few years.  I use it a lot for paper piecing.

The blocks for my quilt are 8" cut and I needed 48 blocks.  I cut 8" strips of the newsprint and since it is 36" wide, 12 strips were needed.  I first cut up my fabric into random width strips, ranging from 2" to 3 1/2".  The size of the fabric scrap determined the length.  the strips had to be at least 8" long, but a little longer was OK.  I wanted this to be quick and easy, so if the length was 9" from a quarter yard piece, I just left it.  Even it was 10", I left it.  No trimming yet.

To begin sewing, I placed one of the strips in the middle of one of the paper strips, right side up.
Then place another strip on top of the first, right side down.  Sew along the right edges with a little bit shorter stitch length, so the paper will come off a little easier.  Then lace another strips on top of the first, right side down and sew on the left side.  Press open.

Continue adding strips until the entire length of the paper is filled.  The fabric strips do not have to be straight.  Angling them gives a whimsical touch.
You can see that my strips were all different lengths.  The next step is to turn it over and trim along the edges of the paper.  I bought this 3"x36" ruler at a quilt show and I love it, especially for this type of project.
Then trim this 8" strip into 8" blocks.  Since I used the 36" roll of newsprint, I got 4 blocks from each strip.  There is still paper on the back.

To prepare a horizontal row for the quilt, turn every other block 90 degrees. 

For my 48 block quilt, I made 8 rows of 6 blocks.  After sewing the rows together, it's time to remove the paper.  It's a mindless, messy job and is done best while watching a movie.

 I just want to take a minute to share with you the movie I watched.  The title is "Exit Through The Gift Shop" and it is about the evolution of street art.  Have you seen those black and white faces on phone polls and buildings with the word OBEY?  I always wondered what they meant.  Street art by Shepard Fairey, the same artist that did the Obama posters. Some of these people started out as graffiti painters and evolved over time and now make thousands of dollars.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and highly recommend it.

I digress.  Anyway, after all of the paper is removed, your top is ready for the next step.

This was a lot of fun, used up a lot of fabric, requires no precision and has a great graphic appeal.  I have to go and check my stash to see what colors I'll use next.


  1. Cheryl, thanks for this clear tutorial. I do some liberated patchwork and am often drawn to quilts like this one. I work with my accumulated fabrics as much as possible so in a way I'm always doing "stashbusting". Then I occasionally buy new pieces of 1/3 yd or maybe a border fabric to tie the colors together.
    Have you thought of joining Lib-Quilters Yahoo Group? You've probably seen the button on many blogs (I didn't find you in our Members list, tho maybe you are already in the group). We also support AAQI with liberated quilt donations. If you join, please introduce yourself-we are a friendly group.
    Kathleen in CT

  2. It's a great looking quilt and the instructions are wonderful.

    Thanks too for the movie recommendation - I know someone who I think will love it! Was it on TV or did you rent it?


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