Quilters are known for taking a perfectly good piece of fabric, cutting it into little pieces, and then sewing them back together. Generally these pieces are triangles or squares, but sometimes, quilters will cut strips of fabric and sew them together.


Using "strip piecing," you can design a piece of fabric that can be cut up and used to create some really interesting quilts or wall hangings.


This is an excerpt from an interview with Dierdre McElroy, expert hand quilter:




In your book Color Play, you introduce the Ives Color Wheel, which is based on pure colors from nature.


I stumbled on those colors when I learned to dye fabric. How did you discover that color wheel and its application to fabric?


Most patchwork quilts are made using a basic unit called a Block. Generally blocks are square, although they can be any shape the quiltmaker wants them to be – rectangles, triangles, hexagons, diamonds; all are fairly common. Quilts are usually made with the same shape block throughout, however, it is possible (and more interesting, although more challenging) to include more than one shape block in a quilt.


Quilt blocks are made up of smaller units – or patches. Since there is no set number of patches in a block, the design (or pattern) of the block is created with the placement of the shapes in the patches and the colors of fabric used in each shape.


Q: My question is how do you figure yardage to make a quilt?  I have made quilts from books before and it tells you the exact yardage you need to buy and you end up with a little left over.  How do you go about figuring how much of each fabric you will need to make chosen squares into a certain size quilt.


For example --- I am making twin quilts for my children.  I want to do 8" blocks with 4 squares making the block. 2 4" squares of color A, 2 4"x2" rectangles of color B, 2 2"x2" squares of color C, and 2 2"x2" squares of color D.  How do I figure yardage for Color A, B, C, and D?


Greetings -


This is just a small sample of the practical quilting information you will discover in The Machine Quilting Adventure.


I always sew patches together starting with the patch in the top row, generally from left to right.


I’m sure there’s no rule about that, and maybe it’s just because I am left handed.  I find that having a system like that, and sticking to it helps keep my patches and blocks in the correct position.


Q: Hi My name is Beryl, I appreciate your tips for new quilters very much and am learning a from them.


At present I am fusing some fabric prior to fusing it onto my quilt material. I am finding a bit messy (getting stuck to the iron and the ironing board etc.,) Can you advise me of the best and most practical way to use fusing please.


Q: How do you start sewing through the three layers and know they will all fit together in the end? I have done a quilt with no border, but trying to sew the lines over my squares and the backing is too big.


How do I make sure they are all the right size, as I have no really big surface to lay it all out. The lounge floor is the only place and not ideal as I cannot walk around it. Any help would be appreciated.


There were a lot of funny things about this....That I took humor in on that day, not just that it is now 20 years later.


It happened on just a nothing day. Stephanie was at preschool, and Bubba and I were home, quietly working.