Thursday, April 21, 2016
Readers want to know -- how to piece ladders like Cher Cartwright
Yesterday Robyn left a comment on my blog post about Art Quilt Elements: "I'm trying to figure our how the ladder work was done by Cher Cartwright... I don't know if I have the ability or the patience to hem tiny squares ... if that's how it was done!
Well, Robyn, I'm here to tell you that you DO have the ability to make pieced ladders! It couldn't be easier. Here's how.
Decide on two colors for your ladder (or three or four or whatever). Cut some strips from each of the colors, maybe six inches long. I like to cut the strips freehand for a more informal look, but if you are feeling very hesitant, use a ruler. I also like to cut the strips at different widths, for the same reason, but if you want uniformity cut them all the same.
Sew them into a strip set, alternating the colors.
You can also achieve different effects with your color choices. I used just two fabrics to make these samples, but because it was hand-dyed fabric with a lot of variation, you're seeing several different hues of green and yellow in the one fabric. You could have every other strip always the same (for a same-color ladder) or make strips sets with several different colors at random (this arrangement would probably look more like a path of stepping stones than a ladder).
I suggest that you make more strip-set-columns than you think you are going to need; you can always use the leftovers in another quilt. It's better to have more than not enough, because then you would need to eke out your column with fiddly sewing of little bits. Much easier to sew larger strip sets and slice them into the small size you need.
I'm not even going to offer suggestions on how to use the ladder(s) in a composition -- you're on your own for that!
If you decide to piece some ladders, send me a photo -- and even better, wait and show me how you put them together into a quilt.