A rotary cutter, mat and ruler
A glue stick
A scissors is optional, but helpful.
Also, a working sewing machine. :)
Before you get started, you need to choose a block size. My unfinished block size is 10" high (because it was the height of the phone book) x 6" wide (because it is the width of my ruler). No need to make it complicated!
Cut all your papers to desired size. I'm making 88 blocks, so my quilt will measure about 60.5" x 76" finished.
Please note, in most cases I used strings of fabric that measure between 1 1/8" and 1 3/4" wide.
Let's get started....
Take a glue stick and draw an angled line on the paper. (Sorry that you can't see the glue. It's transparent.) If you use enough glue to see it, that will be bad news for your quilt! You only need a bit to temporarily hold the fabric in place.
TIP: Backstitch at the beginning and the end of the seam where the paper edges start and stop. This will prevent the stitches from coming apart when you are removing the paper later. (It's a lifesaver!)
Continue to add strings to cover the entire corner of the paper, pressing after each addition. Remember to backstitch.
Here you can see that the paper shrunk a bit...about 1/16 of an inch. Not a huge deal, but it sure is nice to sew blocks of the same size together.
Troubleshooting (or avoiding trouble):
Sometimes a strip gets a little wavy, for one reason or another. If that happens, it's not too difficult to fix.
Flip the block face down and fold the paper back.
Use a ruler and rotary cutter to straighten out the fabric.
Fold the paper back into place and continue to add strings and strips to the block. Having a straight edge makes it much easier to add the next piece.
TIP: When aligning a light fabric over a dark fabric, be careful to place the fabric on top ever so slightly over the edge of the dark fabric, to prevent shadowing.
This block had a little bubble issue....the pink fabric shown didn't lay flat when I added the next strip. Rather than press a crease into my block and leave it....
I removed the paper before trimming the block down, then gave it a good press to remove the wrinkle/crease. I was sure to use spray starch, too.
In most cases, trimming the blocks before removing the paper is the way to go, although it is nice to have a way to fix it if things go awry.
I had a few questions about how I select colors for my blocks, so I'll touch briefly on that. Generally, when I am piecing blocks like this, I try to use a mix of lights, mediums and darks. I do a lot of auditioning for each block. As far as what goes next to what, I try to let go of my preconceived color ideas, but I find that I do place the same colors next to each other over and over at times. (I'm soooo not ready to blindly chose scraps out of a paper bag! I have too many control issues for that. ha!) My rule of thumb is, if the colors don't make me cringe when they are placed next to each other, sew it up! In this quilt, I found I had to keep cutting more and more lights to balance out the darks, because I didn't want the quilt to get too heavy and dark. So far, so good!