Tube piecing

Streamlining quilt piecing


Who, What, Why

Who am I

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My  name is Irena Swanson. I have been developing tube piecing  for several  years and I have used it to make many projects very fast, efficiently,  and accurately: all-over triangle quilts, zigzag patterns with triangles  and parallelograms, flying geese, pinwheels, double pinwheels, ocean  waves, LeMoyne stars and other stars, sawtooth border, bear's paw, lady  of the lake, square in a square, square in a parallel square, diamonds  in rectangles, 3x3 diamonds in a square, 2x3 diamonds in a rectangle,  2x5 parallelograms in a square, ... hourglass blocks, seamless double  and triple hourglass blocks, hexagons in halves, hexagons in triangles,  tumbling blocks, paired peaks (my own design), Roman stripes, milky way,  Indiana puzzle/snail's trail, Japanese puzzle, hearts and flower buds,  rail fence, storm at sea, log cabin, courthouse steps ... . Since January 2014 I have been writing a book about my  tube piecing method and the project has grown into several books.  I keep adding projects and having lots of fun!

You can find several of my mathematics-related quilts at people.reed.edu/~iswanson/quilt.html.

What is tube piecing

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Tube piecing means that much sewing gets done on tubes, but the final  product is still a flat piece. The  photo above shows the  tube nature.  Most photos of the tubes shows them lying flat with only one side showing.


You do not need to buy any new gadgets —- scissors, a rotary cutter, cutting mat, ruler, sewing machine, iron, fabric, thread , pencil, pins will do.  For a few projects I also use a seam ripper: not to correct mistaken seams but as part of streamlined design.


Tube piecing is accessible to any quilter who is comfortable with the rotary cutter and accurate measurements.


I actually have several streamlining methods: 

tube piecing, 

enhanced strip piecing, checkerboarding, 

gridded accumulation (formerly I called this piling on), 

shorten-and-widen maneuver, multi-tape, angling and rectangulating.

Why tube piecing

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Tube piecing is an enhanced version of strip piecing; it is to strip  piecing as strip piecing is to traditional piecing: more efficient and  more accurate. You get to experience quilting from a new point of view:  it is often about cutting large constructions down rather than building  from small pieces up. 


Tube piecing allows any angles, not just the standard 90, 60, 45, 30 degrees, it minimizes seam starting, it minimizes inaccuracies inherent in seam starting, it avoids corner discards of strip/row piecing, it minimizes the number of seams needed for the constructions, it manages the numerous small pieces more sanely, it reduces the amount of thread clipping, it speeds up the quilt-making, it makes the final product more accurate, it handles bias edges with their proneness for stretching more appropriately, and it allows for exploring new pattern possibilities with successive stages of wide and narrow tubes, and of pre- and post-tubes.

Check out my first YouTube video on making half-square triangles. Direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmCsxMFV2Qg


Or check out my video on making rows of other beautiful triangles. Direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOAbxMbUCyU

Contact and Social Media

Email: irena@tubepiecing.com (questions, presentation invitations)
Facebook: Tube Piecing (quilt updates)
Instagram: irenaswanson (quilt updates)
YouTube channel: Irena Swanson (instructional videos)

Website: tubepiecing.com (this site)


 

About my YouTube channel:

As  of August 2019, I have nineteen videos on YouTube, and they include  instructions for general triangles and parallelograms, half-square  triangles, maple leaf blocks, horizontal and vertical zigzags, LeMoyne stars (one of these also has beautiful co-star byproducts), pinwheels,  hourglass blocks, four-patch, mass marking on fabric, rows of squares on  point. 

I link to two of my YouTube videos directly from here.  But you may want to watch the one on very streamlined bias tape and multi-tape making https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK0R1zJnwak&t=17s

If you don't know what multi-tape is or why you would want to make it, then watch the video!