Normally I am not an impulsive quilter. Although, like most of you, probably, I have a constant, endless stream of "one day I will make x" going through my head, I generally invest a lot of mulling into the decision of what project to start next. But last night, I took a wild hair to make a Trip Around the World quilt I felt the need to make something with only straight seams and a riot of colour - to recover from the recent ogee quilt in solids I just completed the top for. So I went and searched among my 1/2 yard cuts and pulled these:
The TATW is a very common quilt (see here for some great images). I knew that Bonnie Hunter's tutorial uses the strip piecing method that is also used in making bargello quilts. Back in the days before motherhood, I made a couple of pieces using that method and I remember it goes pretty fast. So I decided to use Bonnie's tutorial - it's very well laid out and I recommend it if you want to make a TATW yourself. I took some photos of some of the steps. You start by cutting strips from your chosen fabrics and sewing them into strata. You have to make four strata exactly alike.
Then you sew the long sides of each strata together to make a tube of sorts. It's actually kind of hard to take a good photo of the tube; here is my husband doing his best, bless his heart.
Then you slice the strata into sections so that you have eight loops.
Next, you unpick one line of stitches from the first loop to make a strip again. From the second loop, you unpick the line of stitches that will allow you to make a step-down of the squares. For example, in the photo below, the first loop I used appears on the left hand side, with the orange square on top of the resulting strip. When I unpicked the second loop, I made sure to unpick the stitches that would allow the orange square to become the second square from the top (and I unpicked the third strip to allow the orange square to be the third square from the top, etc.). Does that make sense? When all eight loops are unpicked and the strips are lined up nicely, sew them together to make a panel like the one below. That's one panel out of four. The one in the photo below will be the top right quadrant of the quilt.
This was seriously fast. I did all the cutting, strata sewing, as well as the cutting, unpicking and piecing for the one panel above last night after dinner. The only drawback is that I am not 100% sold on the fabric I pulled - while I was going for a relatively low-contrast look, I am afraid it is too low and the colours look too jumbled. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it comes together once all the panels are pieced and assembled. With luck that will be this weekend!
P.S. As it happens, I also read this post on TATW this morning! TATW love is in the air!