Stripping at (not for) the TSA

At our Tuesday Sewing Association meeting this week, we spent the day stripping—minus the body scanners and wands.

When we arrived at Jo-Anne’s house, she had neatly tied bundles of 2½” strips (the equivalent of a jelly roll) ready and waiting on her dining room table. Each of us chose a bundle and listened as Jo-Anne explained the first step. I was a bit nervous about keeping up with the others, being a pokey sewer who loves pins—and marking tools when they’re called for.

Today, however, this sort of accuracy-meticulousness-OCD nonsense was forbidden; the instructions were clear: down and dirty, no pinning, no marking, no clipping threads—pedal to the metal, git’er done! It was charity quilt making day where quantity takes precedence over quality, and my brain was struggling to process the no-pinning, no-marking mandates for creating 30-plus 45-degree seams.

Oh boy….

Many of us had to rip out our very first bias seam because we sewed it in the wrong direction, but after that, the hum of eight sewing machines filled the kitchen and living room. It’s a wonder we didn’t burn down Jo-Anne’s house with all the sewing machines running and half a dozen irons going all day long.

We first made a looooong ribbon of pieced strips, sewn together with 45-degree angled seams, which were pressed to one side—unless you picked a flannel bundle, in which case the seams were pressed open.

strip ribbon

Next, we cut 18″ from the first strip in the bundle. Doing this staggers the 45-degree seams at random intervals across the top.

The next step was to bring the end of the first strip (the part not cut from the ribbon) to the end of the last strip you added to the ribbon,

stripp1

put right sides together, aligning raw edges, and sew all the way down the edge using a ¼” seam allowance. When close to the end, cut along the fold and sew off the edge. Press the seam. You will have created the first two rows which measure half the length of your original ribbon.

stripp2

Repeat this process four more times.

Match the ends of the ribbon, right sides together, aligning raw edges and sew the entire length. Cut at the fold.

Match the ends of the ribbon, right sides together, aligning raw edges and sew the entire length. Cut at the fold.

The first repeat yields a shorter ribbon with four rows.

The first repeat yields a shorter ribbon with four rows.

The second repeat yields a ribbon with eight rows.

The second repeat yields a ribbon with eight rows.

The third repeat yields a ribbon width of 16 rows.

The third repeat yields a ribbon width of 16 rows.

The result is a quilt top which roughly measures 50″ x 60″, photos of which follow.

Joyce was our floater/helper. Here she is clipping apart Jo-Anne’s ribbon chain.

Joyce was our floater/helper. Here she is clipping apart Jo-Anne’s ribbon chain.

From left: Sharon, Marge and Susan.

From left: Sharon, Marge and Susan.

Marge presses her diagonal seams after creating her ribbon.

Marge presses her diagonal seams after creating her ribbon.

Sharon presses the seams in her ribbon.

Sharon presses the seams in her ribbon.

Jo-Anne offers a helpful tip to Susan and Joyce about pressing the seams open for a flannel top.

Jo-Anne offers a helpful tip to Susan and Joyce about pressing the seams open for a flannel top.

Annlee came prepared. I was thankful for sitting across from her so I could borrow one of her pins (don’t tell Jo-Anne!) to hold the strips in place when stitching the 45-degree seams.

Annlee came prepared. I was thankful for sitting across from her so I could borrow one of her pins (don’t tell Jo-Anne!) to hold the strips in place when stitching the 45-degree seams.

Here’s Debbie pressing after her second pass of the ribbon through the machine.

Here’s Debbie pressing after her second pass of the ribbon through the machine.

Annlee pressing her flannel seams open. Those in the group who chose flannel bundles spent more time pressing than those of us who chose regular cotton.

Annlee pressing her flannel seams open. Those in the group who chose flannel bundles spent more time pressing than those of us who chose regular cotton.

Here’s a pretty batik top Jo-Anne pieced prior to our meeting.

Here’s a pretty batik top Jo-Anne pieced prior to our meeting.

Annlee’s flannel top.

Annlee’s flannel top.

Debbie’s top with fun kid prints.

Debbie’s top with fun kid prints.

Susan’s flannel top with more kid prints.

Susan’s flannel top with more kid prints.

Here’s the top I pieced.

Here’s the top I pieced.

Once we found our rhythm, the piecing went pretty quickly. Jo-Anne has the hard part of quilting all of them on her long arm and binding.

All the quilts will be donated to a non-profit organization called Imagine!, which assists people with developmental, cognitive and physical disabilities.

It was a fun day.

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3 Comments

Filed under piecing, TSA

3 responses to “Stripping at (not for) the TSA

  1. Jo Ginther

    What a great report of our day!! Had a super time with everyone and thanks to all for your stripping efforts!!

  2. Rhonda

    Wow! What a fantastic job everyone. All the quilt tops look great. And kudos to you for putting aside your OCD to create a great top for Imagine! Now that you know you can do it; Imagine! the possibilities. 

    • Thanks! Working out of my comfort zone was a stretch but I’m glad I was able to rise to the challenge and finish the top! Wish you could’ve joined in.

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