Friday, March 4, 2011

all about Ticker Tape

the What

Ticker Tape is a style of quilt-making that uses small scraps. Where patchwork involves sewing precisely cut fabrics together (right sides together) to make a larger fabric, ticker-tape involves sewing scraps down on top of a background fabric.  With ticker tape, scraps are usually placed like a puzzle.  This puzzle is not usually planned in advance, but rather evolves as you cut and attach scraps.  You can see lots of examples of diverse ticker tape quilts here

tickertape doll quilt
doll quilt by Teaginny
the Quilting

Traditionally, ticker tape quilts are "quilted" at the same time that scraps are attached.   So, traditionally, you would make an entire quilt (quilt top, plus batting, plus quilt back, basted) and then sew the scraps onto that quilt.  As you attach the scraps, you are sewing through all layers, thus "quilting" your quilt and creating an echo of your ticker tape layout on the back. 

tickertape back
by Teaginny

I think that's pretty neat!

This works especially well for a small doll quilt, but what about a big quilt?  You experienced quilters know that maneuvering all those turns on a large throw or twin sized quilt (like our Bottled Rainbows) would be a HUGE CHALLENGE!    Still, it's been done. In fact here is an amazing example by Snips, Snippets:

Finally Finished!!


She really did quilt them by machine, but she did all the horizontal lines and then went back and did all the vertical lines.  So, that would be a lot of starting and stopping, but it's a very clever idea!  I've also seen larger ticker tape quilts that are made in several sections and then pieced together.

Owl 3 of 4
by PinkPlease!
You can call me Owl.
by PinkPlease!

I personally like the idea of making ticker tape blocks one at a time, as an ongoing side project.  And, that's how I've designed the Bottled Rainbows quilt-along.  I've seen several other block-by-block approaches to ticker tape around the web, both here and here


the Edges

Any kind of edge finish is completely compatible with Bottled Rainbows!    Let's talk about your options.

Most ticker tape quilts seem to be made with raw edged scraps.  In the wash the edges will fray, creating a very soft quilt top. 

Finally Finished!!
by Snips, Snippets


If you're wondering, this does require some upkeep. Each time the quilt is washed you'll likely want to trim some threads.  And the first time you wash a large raw edge ticker tape quilt, expect to spend 2+ hours trimming according to folks with experience.  Some worry that raw-edged scraps will fall off eventually.  I have not heard of this happening, but it does seem quite possible as eventually the edges will fray right to the stitch line.  But, again, I have not heard that this is a problem.  Especially if you are making a doll or throw quilt that won't be washed that often, I wouldn't let the idea of scraps un-attaching worry you.  (oh, and you could always sew them back on). 

for scale


I love the raw edge look, but for my Bottled Rainbow quilt I wanted something that would be easier to care for.  I am considering adding a border to my blocks to make it a twin-sized quilt.  Little boys and girls can be hard on their quilts, which can require frequent laundering.  That's why I opted for a zigzag finish on my edges when I made this example block.  I used a narrow zigzag stitch in the same color thread as my Kona bone so that it would blend in nicely.  With a zigzag finish that wraps around the edges of each scrap, there will be very little fraying and I feel confident that they will not fall off.  This seems more secure than the raw edge straight stitch finish discussed above.  However, I will admit that using an even wider zigzag would make the scraps even more secure on the block.  So, keep that in mind if you're concerned.

Bottled Rainbows, Green Block
by City House Studio

So cute!  Who doesn't love pinking?!?!  This is another Bottled Rainbow block I found in our Flickr pool with a pinked edge finish.  Michelle is making a square version as she quilts along.  Pinked edges can be cut with pinking shears or a pinking blade in your rotary cutter (which I highly recommend).  Pinked edges will not fray (not significantly, at least), so they require less upkeep and are easier to wash.  The only downside is that you'll have to re-cut all of your scraps as you go.  Now some cutting is going to be necessary regardless of what edge style you choose, but with pinked edges you must cut all edges and you loose a bit of fabric in the process.  It will be harder to use your teeny tiny scraps with this method, which is why I chose to go with zigzag stitch on straight edges.  But I love the look!

Other edge finish ideas include a satin stitch (a dense stitch which tends to slightly distort blocks.  I don't love the look, but you may like it!), a turned edge (which I would find much too time consuming) and using fusible interfacing (again, time consuming, but also an added expense that I'd like to avoid).  

my Approach

When designing the Bottled Rainbow quilt-along my choices were heavily influenced by my desire to find an easy, leisurely way of using my tiniest scraps. Easy & Tiny = straight cut edges.  Leisurely = making one block at a time.  You may have other influences, so feel free to adapt our project to meet your needs!

I've been asked how I will quilt my quilt top, once it's finished.  And, you know what, I hadn't even thought that far!  Yup, I don't have it all figured out sometimes =).  Right now I'm liking the idea of quilting with a zigzag stitch down the seams that join one block to another.  This would be a continuous line from one edge of the quilt to another in the same cream thread I'm using to applique the scraps and would make a large grid.  I think it would be a very playful look!  More quilting will likely be necessary, so I'm thinking over doing quilting inside the blocks, between the ticker taps.  I think that would need to be free motion work in order to be enjoyable.  Or, I could add a box outside each ticker tape center, around the Kona sashing.  Or, you could also do an overall design of course.  Since this is a leisurely quilt along, I figure we all have time to think it over.  Let me know if you have any suggestions!

So, that's ticker tape.  Thanks to all the nice artists who allowed me to share their examples on this post.  Please let me know if you have any questions or tips for everyone!

24 comments:

  1. Thanks for all the info. Love the look of this and the frayed edges.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for addressing my question. Now to decide if I was to pink or zig zag. I'm probably going to create the quilt it all because that would be fast in the long run. We shall see!

    ReplyDelete
  3. THANK you for this post! I've seen these quilts everywhere and I've been wanting to try my hand at it because I have TONS of scraps (I can't throw anything away!) that I need to find a use for. I'm excited to get started now!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is going to be so much fun! I think I may do the sewing/quilting sandwich style. By sewing on the scraps in the center and leaving the colorful borders to quilt after sewing all the blocks together.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post Rachel! You've really broken down all the steps well. And you've addressed most of my questions...I need to make up a block to get a feel for this.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for sharing my pics on blog. I can't wait to do this quilt along. I'm trying to recruit some friends to join us!

    ReplyDelete
  7. How fun to see my pinked edges block on this post! Thanks for sharing it, Rachel. This is such a fun project, I'm really enjoying the process so far.
    Michelle

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for the overview! I'm not in the quiltalong for now al least but have been keeping up with your posts because I love the technique.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Is anyone considering quilting these blocks as you go?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am in favor of quilting as you go, also. I just sorted my fabrics and I am short in a few colors. I posted a few pictures to the flickr group. So pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hmm... quilt-as-you-go really may be ideal. I'm going to think about that myself!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wonderful post!
    Thanks for including my pics.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've experimented with a mug rug but do love the idea of making the blocks as scraps accumulate and then collecting those blocks into one big quilt! Super fun! I do have a Chinese food take-out container hanging above my cutting table and cut my scraps into ticket tape size as I go! It's labeled: future ticker tape quilt! :-)
    Thanks for the great tips... glue, hmmm, gonna try that!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love these!!! thanks so much for this inspiring post...I am certain I'll give it ticker tape try.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow, amazing! I had never heard of that but those quilts look fantastic! Thanks for sharing. I'm just startig out, so all inspiration is welcome.Laura x

    ReplyDelete
  16. So cool! I loved all the examples - reminds me of mosaics (duh) and also Stained Glass! Beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for all the info on ticker tape quilts ~ I've been wanting to make one but I don't care for the frayed edges. Never thought of using pinking shears! thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love Ticker Tape quilts and have one basted that's been sitting. They always make me think of Amanda Jean.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  20. oh my word I love this whole ticker tape quilt! Something I could actually DO. Matching up corners on a patchwork is not my strong suit. lol

    ReplyDelete
  21. I LUV LUV LUV this!!!! what method are you going to use to join the finished squares together? i love QAYG methods but i have not found a good way to add the connecting pieces any thoughts you have i would love to hear! great job and thanx for the info as well

    ReplyDelete
  22. We'll be connecting blocks with right sides together and a 1/4" seam - just as if they weren't already quilted. It really works just fine!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails