I was asked an interesting question this week. The group was working on another variation of a mock barjello quilt, and I was asked if the design couldn't be created with strips. This was good thinking and deserves an honest reply. The strip segments that were sewn together in the first picture shows the sequence of pieces that were sewn. A floral print, a green print and then a pink stripe were sewn together, then four of these segments sewn together , and we pieced to the top and bottom what was needed to complete the strip segment in the sequence of fabrics required to maintain the design.
Although a little difficult to see, the first strip is constructed with 15 full rectangles which were cut 2-1/2-inches x 4-1/2-inches. The second strip is constructed with 14 full rectangles, and begins and ends with a square cut 2-1/2-inches . The odd-number strips are all 15- rectangles long, and the even-number strips are 14-rectangles long with a square starting and ending the strip to even out the length. The sequence of colors in each strip is determined by the movement of the color in the design. Yes, it would be simple to cut a 4-1/2-inch strip of the three colors and seam them, then cut them into 2-1/2-inch segments and the three-color sequence would be more easily constructed. Therefore, the answer to strip-piecing is easy. Now to our quilt....
The floral pieces came from some pre-cut 5-inch squares that someone years ago had packaged and sold as quilt pieces. They were probably die-cut from some factory scrap by some industrious person. They were donated to the quilt room years ago and through the years they have been used for a variety of quilt designs. There was little waste of them for the mock barjello as the squares only needed to be cut in half and 1/-2 inch cut off the top. The stripe I selected I cut in 2-1/2-inch strips and cut the lengths so the stripes went across the piece instead of up and down. The position of the stripe is not as noticable with this direction as it would be running the other direction when the seams of two stripes meet. The gren print was from yardage, and could be cut in either 4-1/2-inch or 2-12-inch strips and cut to the required length. This quilt could not possibly have been strip-pieced in the traditional method simply because of the "scrap" fabrics that were being used to construct it.
Since the beginning of the year I have created several variations of this design. I have kept the size of the pieces consistent (not so hard to remember the size I am using when cutting a lot of scraps into different sizes for different quilts) but I have varied the ways I have used prints and background fabrics. There are no rules for the sequence in which to move the colors "up" or "down" or how many colors to use. I just decided that 15 rectangles down and 21 across made a nice size lap quilt for a child, and by making it this size I did not have to piece backing fabric.
I made a baby-size quilt of the leftovers which was 10 rectangles long and 17 rectangles wide. I made the design sequence different by dropping the color rows one more rectangle which gave more variety to the design. Would you believe it--I only had one stripe rectangle left after the piecing. However, with more packages of the floral print available, more quilts will be created using different colorways and designs to add variety to the mix. More quilts coming!