One of my most favorite fabric collections has been the Tuscany batiks by Robert Kaufman. I had quite a bit of it, some yardage but mostly jelly rolls, layer cakes and fat quarters. And it has been used it many ways. One was a blog post that I did for AccuQuilt in 2017 using the Elevate Angles block. Aren’t the colors rich and beautiful. I actually made two of these quilts and gave one to my brother-in-law during the time my sister was in the hospital.
Another is this gorgeous Hunter’ss Star quilt that I recently finished:
Being down to the last bits of this, the decision was made to cut it into a scrappy Double Irish Chain quilt. Thus, I want to share with you the way I sometimes make strip sets. This is not the best way for every situation, but works well for the scrappy Double Irish Chain quilt. This is a similar process as the recent post about a way to make quick work of 4-patch units.
This is the double Irish chain block. As you can see there will be three separate strip sets.
When making strip sets with jelly rolls, one of the things that happens is that the ends never match. In addition, while one should stitch from one end and then the other to keep the strip set from “bowing”, that just exacerbates the problem of ends matching and there is a fair amount of waste on either end in my experience. In addition, pressing a long strip set presents its own set of issues, and pressing is my middle name.
My solution to this is to precut the strips to a width that will fit the strip die that will be used for cutting the final subunits of the block. For a 2-1/2″ strip die, that width is 8-1/2″. The 8-1/2″ square die works perfectly for this. You can see that my die has been used a lot and for many different purposes based on the marks and tape.
This may seem like extra work, but actually it is six of one and a half dozen of the other, as the strip sets have to be cut to 8-1/2″ sooner or later if they are to be cut into subunits using the 2-1/2″ strip die.
This works to cut both width of fabric (WOF) strips like Jelly Roll strips and for strips cut from Fat Quarters (FQs). Here WOF strips are layered to be cut. The extra fabric from the WOF strips is saved to be cut into 2-1/2″ squares for making scrappy 4-patch subunits.
Here strips cut from fat quarters are layered. The fat quarter strips were cut with the 2-1/2″ strip die on the 18″ width of the fat quarter. As 8-1/2 x 2 = 17, the fat quarter strips folded in half just fit the 8-1/2″ square die.
And then these precut strips can be stitched into strip sets that work beautifully, especially for a scrappy layout, and fit perfectly on the 2-1/2″ strip die for cutting the block subunit rows. And it is much, much easier to press a shorter strip set than a longer one.
Finally, the strip set is cut into subunits with the 2-1/2″ strip die.
And just think – if you can cut strip sets using the 8-1/2″ die, you can cut jelly roll strips into rectangles that are exactly the size you want using the 6-1/2″ square die from the 12″ Qube and the 4-1/2″ die from the 8″ Qube.