Hello again - Sharon of VroomansQuilts here again. Thank you Madame Samm for a return visit. NO we aren't going to learn to braid each other's hair - I'm talking about BRAID QUILTS.
This type of Braid is known as the Friendship Braid, Prairie Braid, or Pioneer Braid. I know - it gets confusing sometimes when the same quilt block has several names. Here is a good source for this block construction. A great scrap buster pattern.
My friend Sue found over here graciously let me use her Baby Boy Braid for an example of a French Braid block. She has made two quilts with this method and goes into great detail on working with this block. By using cornerstones, the Braid has a whole new look. Don't you just love this!!
The hardest part of a Braid quilt is keeping your strips aligned. So I am going to present a tutorial on how to make a 'Faux' Braid quilt. By using the basic layout of the half log cabin block, changing the color plan produces a Braid. Much easier to keep a block square - yes only one block!
I'm using a Lily & Will jelly roll. Remember, not all jelly rolls are created equal - you are looking for a predominate mix of dark/medium colors. You could use yardage or scraps for a stash buster. I'm making a 30 block quilt set 5 x 6. This jelly roll gave me 10 strips of three of each color line so I had my 30 strips of dark/medium. I used three (3 strips each)from Lily & Will and left over JR strips and scraps for my lights - for 16 light strips.
Cutting for dark/medium strips: trim salvage - 2.5" - 4.5' - 6.5" - 8.5" - 10.5" - left over (used for border). When you cut the lights - omit the 10.5" cut. **You can get more cuts from your lights. I layed out my cuts (forgot to photo) and then just went down the line taking one of each piece and set into stacks - no need for switching stacks around.
I set all my little stacks onto a spare cutting board. They are arranged in the order they are set into the block construction and I put a little number on each pile to help keep things in order. You will need two (2) bobbins, pins, scissors. You should take the time to clean your machine - get those lint bunnies out of the bobbin case! And good needle. Cleared work area. (and people who know me are probably laughing at this one)
We are ready to sew by the numbers. If you are new or like control - work one block at a time. You speed sewers who like to chain piece can work all sections at once (just be sure to keep your stack order). TIP - when you press your sewn #1 to #2, press toward the light (2) - this will help when matching seams during block assembly. All other strips will be pressed OUT. Your 1,2,3 piece is now a 4.5" square - you should square up all your blocks to maintain evenness of your blocks for a cleaner finish.
By the numbers again - add strip 4 and 5. You should have a 6.5" square. Don't skip those 'squaring up' steps, they really help to maintian your blocks and final quilt. ALSO - clip your threads as you go - cleaner presentation and eliminate 'catches' when you quilt your top.
Home stretch - We are adding 8 and 9 for a 10.5" unfinished block. Double check those pressed seams, square them up, clip those threads. You have completed your block - that's it. Now do up the rest of the stacks for your total. By putting your work on a board - if you can only grab 15 minutes or get an interuption in your sewing afternoon, you can easily move your work out of the way - and remember where you left off.
I found it easier to lay out just two rows. Placement is marked with the last strip sewn - #9. If you need to help yourself out - number those. It doesn't matter whether you start with a #9 up or down - just be consistant. I started with #9 UP, next block down, up, down, up - 5 blocks across. The next row you place your #9 strip down, up, down, up, down. I sewed the row of blocks together and then the rows together. By working just two at a time you don't get confused - well hope not. Repeat two more times.
This is just to show how being sure you pressed your seams the correct direction and nice and flat - you get easy match ups when putting your seams together. You can see how nice and flat the back of this quilt is, too. This really helps when you go to sandwich up and quilt.
I don't have a design wall. I have another quilt tacked to my mantle and then I pinned my 'twosies' sections to it. I used a RED butterfly pin in the top left corner of each section to help with keeping straight in which way was up and where to start. I didn't switch any thing around - this jelly roll just worked up so perfectly blending colors and lines. But you could play a little.
When I put my sections together (OH - yes also with the block rows too)I really took the time to press FROM THE BACK to make sure those seams were all flat!! Can't stress that enough. Also, a good time to re-check all those clipped threads and all pins removed. When the entire quilt top is done, then I do a light press on the FRONT.
Adding borders and what type of borders are really an option. I used a 2.5" light border and then used my left over strips to make a scrappy border. I have a chocolate brown/white bias stripe binding waiting for this. Finished at 58" x 68". If you want a larger quilt - wider borders, more blocks, or even use 3.5" strips (remember your cutting length will be different).
Here is another one I did using a variety of JR strips with Oasis. It gave the light section a blending that reminds me of the 'watercolor' technique.
I hope you have enjoyed the tutorial and would like to try a Braid quilt. For a little encouragement, I am giving away a Lily & Will jelly roll in the yellow/brown. And I hope you make your Braid quilt your own.
Leave a comment here and come on over to my blog and be a follower...come and visit me too..
I will announce winner tomorrow.!
Now I'm not a baker, so if you make up one of these braids, make sure you give me a call! Thank you again Madam Samm for having me here and hope anyone who takes the Braid challenge shares with us.
Congrats winner #24
You will be contacted very soon...
To all those who entered..thank you very much for your lovely comments.