Wednesday, February 3, 2016

gypsy wife strips

 the strips of the gypsy wife quilt form a major portion of its distinctive character. on the back of the pattern, the requirements list calls for "60 assorted fabric strips cut across the width of fabric, 10 x 10cm (4"), 50 x 5cm (2")."

this is slightly misleading. the actual strips needed can be conveniently cut from these measurements if you happen to have those on hand, but it is NOT what you need to cut to assemble the quilt. the pattern uses several 1.5"wide and 1" wide strips, rather than 2" and 4" strips.

there are 55 - 1.5"wide strips of lengths varying from 12" to 65.5". nine of these strips measure over 42" long, which is the standard wof  length you can get from quilting fabric. thus, for those 9 strips, you will need to make more than one cut.

there are also 9 - 1"wide strips, which add some play and variety to the quilt structure. one of these strips is actually also 1.5" wide in portions of its length (strip 8/D).

to add to the fun, these strips start and stop multiple times as they are interrupted by the quilt's blocks. all of this is a whole lot to wrap your head around and looks rather complicated when you try to figure out the pattern diagrams. but it really isn't that bad.

section 10, lower left corner - click to enlarge

i have simplified the whole identification process by numbering the strips on the pattern, and by figuring out their entire needed lengths. i didn't want to use a fabric for a strip in section one only to find out i didn't have enough of it left to complete the strip in lower sections when it picked up again.

section 6, lower middle portion - click to enlarge

you can likewise mark your pattern. just start with section 10, in the lefthand corner, and mark all the white strips by number, starting with 1, moving left to right. please note: strip #32 is missing in the original pattern! i've sketched mine in place, and you should, too.

the grey strips are the 1" wide strips, and these i've identified by letter rather than number. you can mark the strips in all the sections by following them up, or wait until the month comes up when i will show the marked diagram for the section we're making.

section 6, lower right corner - click to enlarge
for each strip, above it's id number, i noted the length of each segment and the total length overall. i also marked each strip segment in all the sections with its id number. don't worry, you won't have to try to read my doodles. i've transcribed my information into a spreadsheet, and i will include the strip measurements for the section we are working on each month.

click to enlarge

i don't know why the two pages came out different sizes. but i've invested all the time i'm going to in getting this made and up here. if you'd like a copy of the chart as a pdf file, click here.

 in the past, some people approached the quilt by making all the blocks and then cutting the strips for final assembly. that seems like a whole lot of tedious cutting at once. so when i started my blocks with the last quilt along, i hit on the idea of cutting strips as i went. whenever i pressed a fabric and cut pieces for a block, i'd simply cut a 1.5" wof length to set aside for when the strips would be needed. i've been gathering them on a platter that sits in my sewing room.

i'm still using this method, only now that i'm working by section and assembling them as i go, it's a tiny bit more complicated. since i don't want the same fabrics in the blocks and strips for the section, i'm still cutting strips from my block fabrics as we work on the first sections, but those are set aside for other portions of the quilt. i'm having to cut fabrics that i haven't used yet for strips in the first sections. not that big of a deal. it just doesn't feel quite as efficient.

 i'm trying to include a variety of intensely colored strips along with more subtle low-volume fabrics as well. i'm not going for an every-other-one stripe look, but i do want variety.

i've tidied up my tray a little and organized the strips by width and length, and loosely sorted them by color and volume. the strips i cut extra lengths of, for those over 42" long, i put in one pile, too. this is just to ease selection when it comes to assembling the sections.

 the end of the platter also contains a variety of small pieces leftover from my block making. these pieces can be used in future blocks as they are already cut to sizes standard for the pattern requirements. i may or may not use them, but i like having them all in the same place.

some of them are the triangles cut from sq in sq blocks, or are short strips leftover.

for more information on the gypsy wife quilt along 2016, see the homepage here on my blog, tab at the top of the page.

#GypsyWifeQuiltAlong2016 on instagram

linking up with lee's wip wednesday at freshly pieced.


  1. LOVE your fabrics! This will be a beautiful quilt. Good luck with the planning.. I am sure it will pay off in the end.

  2. It's going to be a really pretty quilt!!
    but goodness, I don't think my brain would be up to all of this figuring things out. Very nice of you to be sharing this with other gypsy wifers!!!

  3. Thanks for making up the strip chart for us, I have it on my wall above my cutting table with fabrics all ready to cut!

  4. Thanks for all the info! I've ordered the pattern but haven't gotten it yet - any day! I'd love a copy of the PDF file you've made. My email is nancy dot chesnutt at gmail dot com Thanks so much! Can't wait to start!

  5. Thanks for the copy of the chart! And, I got my pattern today, along with some coordinating fabrics for what I already have!

  6. A belated thanks for all the epic work you did here on 'strip management'. I know I had to do a bit of creative thinking first time around because I didn't have enough fabric to continue the strips down in one or two places. I'd love a PDF of your chart when you get a minute. Maybe while you're waiting for the paint to try on your barn doors which look so fab!!

  7. I will start on the quilt in the coming days. I will work at my own pace since I have a lot to do other than quilting, unfortunately!!! I have started my fabric selection and I think I will start with what I have now and add as I progress. I have found that it works better for me that way because even it I choose all my fabric before I start a project, I make a lot of changes as I make progress!!!

    I would really appreciate if you could email me the files for the blocks and the strips. They will be a tremendous help!

    Thank you so much!

    Gatineau, Québec, Canada

  8. I don't know how one could do this quilt without going a bit wonky unless they had your strip chart. I ma sure you know but there is a slight error. the 8.5" strips of H , I, and 47 are for section 2, not section 1.

    I am printing out so many of your instructions and the charts to keep with the pattern. Very very helpful.

  9. Could you send me a pdf copy of your strip spreadsheet? Jean C

    1. Jean, if you click the link in the text above, you can download the list. Unfortunately, you are showing as a no-reply blogger, so I don't have an email address to send it to you. But the download link should work!

  10. I have just completed my first (not last) GW. I could not have done it without your charts. Thank you so much for your generosity of sharing your work.

  11. Thank you for the all the work you put into the chart. I was about to try to work out a list myself when I found yours. Bless you for you time and effort.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your organization and knowledge with those of us just starting out. I appreciate your hindsight!

  13. Thanks so much for sharing your excellent prep work! I'm a "figure it out as I go" quilter, but I only have fat quarters of some of the prints I really want to use, so I need to cut those wisely. Your chart will make it easy to see which columns will suit those 22" cuts so I can design around them. Thanks again.

  14. You are a quilting angel to share all this.

  15. I am making "Gypsy Wife" using a French theme, for my 16 yr old granddaughter who loves all things French. I am so grateful to have found your site!!! I have made lots of complicated quilts, including Bargellos..I enjoy the challenge, but this pattern is MOST challenging. Thank you so much for your charts. I have used them constantly while working on this quilt.

  16. Like Karen above says, Thank Goodness for your site. It's a God send. Bless, bless, bless you!

  17. You are an angel! I would not even attempt this pattern without the help you've provided.

  18. Thank you so much for going to all this work for us! I haven't started mine yet but have the pattern and fabric ready to go.

  19. Thank you for the strip chart. Working on the 2019 Gypsy Wife QAL.

  20. I have printed out your PDF of the strip chart as well as your charts with your handwritten notes and I’m confused. (My excuse is that I’m really old and the brain is full.) would you please tell me what the letters A through I refer to on the left side of the chart? And what does the bright pink at strip #32 mean? Thanks for your generosity in making all this available. I could never do this with the pattern book only!

  21. Mayo, you’re showing as a no reply blogger so my email didn’t return to you. The letters indicate the strips that are 1” wide, as (opposed to the numbers, which indicate 1.5” strips). The pink block at #32 is just to highlight the strip that’s left out of the first edition printing of the pattern.

  22. Hi. I came vety late to the Gypsy Wife party. I've had the pattern for quite a while and don't recall where I got it. I finally decided to get started, on my own, and made all the blocks first using whatever I had on my stash. When I was ready to cut strips I was totally lost and then I found your post. God bless you. Your worksheet gave me all the info I needed and really clarified how to complete the quilt. I've enjoyed this quilt probably as much as I've enjoyed any I've made. I'm going to search for similar projects and just hope I find something similar. Thank you again for your work, your posting, and for it still being around 5 years later.


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