Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 2, Japanese Jigsaw

I doubt that today will be as productive as yesterday. As I have mentioned, I’m working a day ahead so today’s journal was really written on Monday to post on Tuesday, giving me time to type, edit the photos and prepare everything for the blog. Monday is a long day at the shop. I get here before 7:30 am and we don’t close until 9:00pm. I work the entire day, just like I have every Monday and Thursday for 15 years. I also have an appointment with a sales rep sometime this morning along with my normal responsibilities. I guess I better get started!

Today is Japanese Jigsaw day! This is a Tracey Brookshire pattern that I absolutely LOVE. It has everything I look for in a pattern. It is extremely easy, fun to put together and looks like it was WAY harder than it really was when you are done.

My first JJ experience was this small version. It is the wall hanging size in the pattern and I followed Tracey’s instructions exactly. The pattern is written so that each of the shapes is a different fabric. Nice, but not the “punch” I was looking for when I made the second, larger version to show of a new batik line at Quilt Market. The larger quilt done in neutral colors is the exact same pattern, I simply cut every other shape from the same fabric. This has been a customer favorite the entire time it has been hanging in our store… it is easy to see why!

Now it is confession time. The tan quilt is an entirely different size than the one featured in Tracey’s instructions. I made the neutral quilt using the sample pieces for a new line of batiks. They “air in” a very limited amount of yardage from Bali for those projects and I used every thread I had available of the tan background print. I didn’t think Tracey’s was the wrong size, I couldn’t possibly make mine larger and have it finished on time. I think that caused Tracey some headaches caused by people that wanted theirs exactly like MINE. –sorry Tracey!

The truth is, you can make YOURS any size you want. If you just want to TRY the technique (which I have to admit is irresistible) make enough blocks for a table runner! You will need the pattern (available on our website) AND I highly recommend that you purchase the ruler (also available on our notions page). A paper template is included in the pattern, but the ruler is well worth having. That probably comes as a surprise to those of you that know me well. I generally refuse to invest in a new tool that does just one thing. Like Alton Brown from the Food Network, I like my tools to be multi purpose. The JJ ruler is an exception to that rule. I also like this pattern so much that I am willing to make it more than once, another unusual occurrence for me.

I think I should give you “the good news and bad news” about this project before we get started. The good news is, you are going to love making this. It is just plain fun. The bad news is, there is A LOT of waste. Not so much to prevent you from trying the technique, but enough that you need to pay very close attention to how much fabric you are buying. For the tan quilt I used 3 yards of background just in the CENTER of the quilt. The borders were extra. More good news, the block construction is a simple 4 patch. That’s it, 4 squares. After you create the 4 patch blocks you trim them into the diamond shapes. That creates the waste.

It is easy to calculate how much fabric you need. Decide how many “shapes” you want to create and count the number of squares you will need. Each shape requires 4 squares. There are plenty of quilters math books that help you with these calculations. I think every “great” quilt shop should have one on their cutting table. We do!

A little later I will post the step-by-step photos of the construction technique. In the mean time, several people have emailed me because they don’t know how to “comment”. It’s easy. Click on the little word “comment” at the end of this post. That will take you to a page where you can type your message. Your comment will not appear on the blog, you have to click on “comment” to read the list. If you get a message saying you are not a member, feel free to sign-up, it’s free.



Anonymous said...

I have always admired this quilt ... have purchased fabric, pattern and special template to make it ... almost up next on my list of projects! I'm loving this daily comment event!

Flatlander (Linda)

Karlene said...

Awesome...this I can do...will go back in and read your blog and I am going to make this quilt...I am sure I have enough fabric from your shop to make it...if not I will stop by...didn't know about the Harts Run Rd...I hope you have this again in the future...Karlene

Karen said...

YES! you ALL can do this. Even better, you are going to enjoy making this project. It is great fun watching it come together.

I better get back to sewing!!!

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to more detailed instructions. I'm a novice but fell in love with the Japanese Jigsaw. Would like to make it queen size. Am I delusional?