Friday, April 8, 2016

This One is for you, Mary. TUTORIAL: Strippy Block

Today, as I was chatting with Mary about quilting, I told her about how I have been using up my scraps.  I mentioned this in a previous blog, but I promised her that I would write a tutorial specific to this method.  So, here it is.

I learned about this technique last year.  I attended a local quilt guild meeting where the speaker described it.  She uses the slippery newspaper ads that come in Sunday's (or other) paper.  Cut them into squares of any size and sew strips of any width to the paper on the diagonal and you have a very colorful scrappy block.

Step One:  Cut some paper to size.  I used five inch blocks.
 Step 2:
Gather your strips.  I prefer one inch strips but any size will do.  Anything less than 3/4 of an inch is really to narrow, IMHO.  Mix light and dark as well as some really bright ones 
Press and sort
 Step 4:
Prep your square.  Smear some gluestick glue on the diagonal of your paper square and place your first strip, right side UP, on the glue.  Press to set the glue.  You can skip the pressing if you want and just put your next strip on top (right side down) and then press if you would like.  Stitch.  When I am using very narrow strips, I use the 1/8 in seam.

It is recommended that you set your stitch length to a small stitch and a #90 needle. 

But don't set your stitch length too short or it will cut the paper and you won't have it for the foundation anymore.  AMHIK.  This is a European 201. Between 1 and 1.5 was too small.  Just over 1.5 was ok.  I thought it was closer to 2.  I need new glasses.   For an American gauge I think 15 SPI is ok. 
 As you can see I started over.
Press the seam open and place another strip on top of either strip.
Stitch.  I used a 1/4 in seam on this one.  You can do either.  The narrower your seam allowance, the wider the finished strip, right?
Keep adding strips on each side.  I usually complete one side and then finish up the other.  It doesn't matter one bit if you go back and forth.

When you get close to the corner, audition a wider strip to see if it will fit when stitched and pressed over.  Here you see there is just a wee little bit of the corner peeking through.  True, that would be caught in the seam allowance when sewing these blocks together, but I like to have plenty. 
So I added just a narrow little strip
And now it is just right
Keep working outward until you have covered the whole piece of paper.
Square it up.  I like to use a squaring ruler because the original paper may not be cut exactly to size.
Use any size square you would like.  The principle is the same.  Have fun.  Use up those scraps.  Free Quilts


  1. Ohh! Ahh! Love using those scraps! I bet the blocks look great together. I chain one block and then another and keep two going at once. Love the European 201!

  2. I cheat...clearance Christmas wrapping paper with the 1 inch grids printed on the back.

  3. Hi, I read on another blog Bonnie Hunters... uses the little phone books that we now get... light weight paper we don't have to pay for! Just a thought.
    I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I like that idea. Lighter weight paper makes for easier removal.

  4. My MIL uses old dryer sheets ironed flat...but those won't dissolve away like paper I guess.