April 11, 2017

Week 5: Long Time Gone Sew Along | Trip Around the World Patchwork

Take advantage of strip piecing to avoid handling 169 individual squares repeatedly while cutting, piecing and pressing. Just because it is scrappy doesn’t mean it has to be piece-by-piece. 😊

I picked the 3 center fabrics from 1-1/2 inch strips I had previously cut and laid them out on my portable design wall. Since it was such a focal point, I did strip piece 6-1/2 inch strips of #2 and #3 fabrics, cut 4 pairs and then sewed them into rows to make sure I liked the center.

Next I picked 4 more fabrics from the group I selected for this quilt. After a few false starts I settled on these. Here they are laid out to see how they progress from the center out. It’s a go. Love that green!

(Click on photos for a larger view).

As I got ready to cut the strips I realized I wanted to center one of the “Y” shapes in the 1 ½” strip. See the pen on the fabric? That is the line I’m talking about.

I loved the effect, but quickly realized I had turned the fabric into a directional print. You can see in this photo that if I only make one strip set, one side of the Y’s go up and one down.

I know most people don’t care, but I’ll sew two different strip sets long enough to cut 8 1-1/2 inch squares (15 inches or so). Press the strips in one direction but remember you will need to repress every other row when you complete the block.

This is the exact number of inches you need for fabric positions 4, 5, 6 and 7. Make strip sets of two, three or four of the fabrics and cross cut into 1-1/2 inch units. Then position those units into rows on your design board. I saw that Jen used two fabrics each in positions 6 and 7. I love the crispness of a defined Trip Around the World and I chose to make the all of the pieces in each position match.

I actually use the 1-inch Log Cabin Ruler to measure and make the cross cut pieces. You can see in this photo how nicely the markings for a, b, and c identify that the finished strips are a perfect 1-inch wide.

Arrange all of the strip units on your design board. (We ran out of space for the last 2 #7 pieces.) You could sew these pieces into complete rows now, but we chose to wait to join the units until the background pieces were added.

Background Pieces

There are 84 background squares, 21 in each corner of the block. We pulled a few appropriate pieces from the fabric strip stockpile and picked 10 new neutrals and cut strips 1-1/2 inch wide by at least 12 inches long. The first thing we did was cut one 1-1/2 inch square from the stack of strips. We will need some single squares. Then we sewed some strips in pairs and one set of three strips together. After pressing, those strips were cross cut into 1-1/2 inch units and arranged randomly on the background corners. Here the units are ready to sew:


Joining the Units and Rows

Work one half at a time. There are different numbers of units in each row so just pick up the first 2 units in each row, going from top to bottom and chain piece. Press them in order and put them back into rows in order.

Do it again from top to bottom, as needed. Not all rows will need a seam. When all of the units are joined on one half, rotate the design board and complete the other half of the block.

Here the rows are ready to be joined.

Every other row needs to have the seam allowances pressed to the right and every other row pressed to the left.

Pairs of rows...

then pairs of pairs..

and finally the completed block, a perfect 13-1/2 inch square, including seam allowances.

More About the Trip Around the World Section

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Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell. Copyright 2016 by Jen Kingwell Designs. Available on From Marti Michell website, www.frommarti.com


  1. Thanks Marti - that strip piecing will certainly be a timesaver!

  2. Great minds, that's exactly what I did, including an accommodation to watch the direction of one of my prints!

  3. Really good tutorial! Thank you for taking the time to do it

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