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Seam Ripper Required!

Have you ever made a quilt where a seam ripper was required, not because of mistakes made, but actually needed to complete the quilt? I recently did.

Late last month, I visited Be Lazy Quilting in Three Forks, MT. This is a wonderful little quilt shop. There was a quilt hanging on the wall that caught my eye - I think it was the colors. Teals and browns, very earthy feeling. The pattern is called Sierra Snow by Villa Rosa Designs. It is one of those small pattern cards you find normally near the cash register.
Sierra Snow Shop Sample Quilt
I have never made a bargello style quilt but have wanted to do one. I read the instructions on the back of the pattern card and it seemed pretty straight forward. "Let's do this!", I told myself.

I am also a huge fan of Moda's Grunge fabric line. I love, love, love Grunge. There are so many colors and it is a versatile fabric. I decided then and there that I wanted to do my quilt out of Grunge. Luckily, the shop had a decent selection to choose from. I picked the following colors:

I took my half-yard cuts of Grunge and starched them before cutting into strips. 

Once the strips are cut, you sew one of each color togther along the long edge to make a set of six strips. When you have all of the strips sewn into sets, you cut those up to create new sets. 

Then you sew four each of the new sets together to make a strip. After you sew the strips together, you pull three out and set aside. The remaining strips are sewn into individual loops. Yes, loops. 

And here is where the seam ripper comes into play. Using the layout shown on the pattern card, you take apart the loops depending on what the starting color will be at the top of each column. When I started doing my layout (I strongly advise using a design wall for this part), I got the first several columns laid out correctly. Then I got ahead of myself and didn't double check the pattern layout. As I got towards the end, the strips were not lining up as I thought they should. I had the columns wrong in the center section.  It only impacted two of my strips that I had taken apart so I had to use the seam ripper to split them at the correct spots. You also need to make sure your strip colors are running the same direction or you will have another mess on your hands.

Once I straightened out my strips and triple checked against the pattern, I could sew them together. What a pain! All those seams to nest up. Lots of pinning was required. I did it in three sections of strips so they would be easier to manage at the machine. Then I sewed the three sections together to finish the quilt top. I had some seams that didn't come out perfect but I am okay with that. I am pleased with the final result. 

Now to get it quilted. I have a stack of quilts I need to long arm. Hopefully once I retire in less than two months, I will start on those.

Have you done a bargello quilt? Link it up in the comments. I'd enjoy seeing yours. 


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