The 90 Degree Double-Strip Ruler from Creative Grids is one of our most popular rulers at Prairie Point. It makes a quick decision for using your 2-1/2" Jelly Roll strips.
Cut all your strips 2-1/2" x width of fabric. Sew two 2-1/2" strips together. Now, let's back up; there are lots of options here for you. a) You can use one Jelly Roll and select any two strips. b) You can use a Jelly Roll strip and a background color. Here there is the option of a white or solid Jelly Roll, or c) get a three-yard cut of fabric to cut into strips. (This is where your Stripology Ruler will come in very handy.) d) You can get yardage for your print strips and cut them 2-1/2" yourself. This may be your choice if the fabric you want is not available as a Jelly Roll. But you really do need to have 40-inch or more wide strips to get the most efficient use of your fabric.
The instructions that follow are specifically for making the quilt I am showing you here. Now, sew two strips together, a print and a solid. Press the seam on the wrong side to set the seam, then open double strip and press seam to the print side. This is important because it will help to lock the seams later on where they meet; and it helps assure that you don't get tucks pressed into the sewn seams. An accurate or scant 1/4" seam is important.
When pressing, be sure that the double-strip does not get stretched out of shape or bow on the ironing board.
Place the Ruler on the strip as you see here. The very base edge of the triangle should be directly on one edge, and the top of the triangle on the other.
Cut on all four edges of the two triangle shapes to get three half-square triangles. The hole between the triangles allows the rotary cutter to get to the very base so there is a clean cut.
Then, move ruler along strip set and continue cutting triangles. You will get eight triangles from this strip set.
Sew two of these together so the colors are opposites to make a square. This will give you four squares which is what you need for one block. Carefully press toward the print, being careful that you don't have tucks on the right side.
Now, don't square up the blocks just yet; you will square up later.
Your block units have bias edges on all four sides. Try to keep them from stretching out.
Sew four block units of the same print together into a four-patch block.
The stretch (that you normally don't desire in a block on the outside edges) actually helps to force them to match up.
This is where you will lock your seams. Where necessary at the center of the block turn your seam allowance so the seams lock as you sew across them. The stiletto actually helps with this instead of your finger.
Then press the entire block taking care that you don't stretch out sides. Now you will square up the entire block so that it is 11-1/2 inches. Square up all your blocks this same measurement with the center of the block exactly centered.
Cut two sides, then flip block and square up the other two sides. You want the seams in the corners of the blocks, or as close to it as possible.
Lay out all the blocks on a table or floor in a pleasing arrangement. I made this quilt with five blocks in a row, six rows.
Sew blocks together into rows. Again, stretch and ease in seams so the seam lines match up when each seam is finished. Then join rows. Notice how seams lock nicely. It doesn't necessarily happen by accident -- you have to make them meet.
All that being said, put your block units together any way you like. The Strip-Smart Quilts and Strip-Smart Quilts II books will give you lots of creative ideas. This layout is the one I wanted for this fabric line with its soft vintage color scheme.
It is very important to add a border around this quilt with all its bias edges. If you prefer a border-less quilt, just add a 2-1/2" strip all the way around to stabilize the quilt. It will be much appreciated at quilting time! Measure for the side edges carefully by placing the pieced strip down the center of the quilt; cut at that measurement. Sew to both sides, pinning first. Press seams toward border and repeat the process for the top and bottom.
See what else you can do with the blocks we just made?
And what about these quilts?
Same layout, totally different looks. There are other ways these blocks can be laid out. See the Strip Smart books for more ideas.