The first thing I like to do is to get all of my fabric prepped and cut before starting to piece any blocks. If you're a pre-washer, now's the time to do it! (I usually don't pre-wash my fabrics, but the ones I'll be using for this quilt-along were pre-washed already.)
Whether you pre-wash or not, I do recommend that you iron all of your fabrics before you start cutting. It's not because precision is important when we start to cut fabrics -- it's just that I've found it makes the fabrics much easier to work with.
What I like to do before starting a project like this is to go ahead and just cut up all of my fabric at the start. I think it's much easier when constructing blocks to just be able to pull pieces from a pile than stopping to cut every time. Trust me, it will make your block construction go much more quickly!
(Edited to add: if you are working with Jelly Rolls, feel free to skip this post entirely!! You're already ahead of the game!)
I'm going to assume that we're working either with fat quarters (pieces of fabric sized 18" x 22"), or half-yard cuts of fabric (which, when folded, still measure 18" x 22").
I like to cut in layers of 3 or 4, so grab a few fat quarters or 2 half-yard cuts of your fabric. Lay them on your cutting mat so that they are 18" wide by 22" tall. We'll be cutting our strips along the length of the fabric.
(Before going any further, let me first apologize for the quality of the pictures you are about to see. You may have noticed that I usually like to photograph my stuff outdoors because ... well, because my indoor pictures usually come out like this. Apparently, Mother Nature didn't get the memo about Wonky September, because it's been too rainy the past few days to take any pictures outside!)
Cheat a little bit to the left of your 0" line (or whetever line you're starting at). If your fabrics are pre-washed like mine, you might notice that they don't quite reach the 18" mark in width. Mine don't. That's OK -- don't worry about it!
Start your cutting with a fresh edge. I believe this is called "truing up" the fabric. I like to start mine on the 0" line.
Now we're going to cut our logs. This is how I like to do it:
- Cut 2 x 3" strips
- Cut 2 x 2.5" strips
- Cut 2 x 2" strips
- Cut 2 x 1.5" strips
As I told you, my pre-washed fabric was shy of 18", so I only got one of my 1.5" strips cut from each fat quarter. That's OK!
(Repeat it with me, people ... "that's OK!" We're going to be saying that a lot for this quilt. There is little to no precision or stress required for a wonky quilt block -- that's why I love them so!)
If you started with half-yard cuts, the fold will be along the width of the fabric closest to you. You will have half as many strips as your fat quarter counterparts, but they will be twice as long. That's OK! You'll be cutting them down further when you make your blocks.
We're going to be cutting our logs down a little further when actually making the block, but I like to start with a variety of different sizes. You can choose to cut your strips however you'd like -- all the same size, all smaller to get more strips, or any other variation.
And here are all of my logs, cut and ready to go.
Next up, we'll start piecing our first block!
If you have any questions, please leave me a comment or post to the Frequently Asked Questions thread in the Flickr group.