Sunday, September 7, 2014

Just Sew: Stacked Squares Color Psychotherapy

Life is tough. The news sucks. You're tired of thinking. You're creatively stuck. You already sewed strips. You need a new therapy.

Here's another game that will make life much better: Stacked Squares Color Psychotherapy.

Rules: Use batik scraps, or solids. (The latter for more of a 'Modern' quilt look) If you don't have any batik or solid scraps, buy a pack of charms (or smaller).

Rule #1: Don't let anyone give you any rules, including me.

#2. Cut a bunch of them into 3" squares - maybe 12 - and lay them out on a larger piece of fabric. You can use your rotary cutter to cut these squares, if you like, but scissors are fine too. Precision is counter to our mental health aspirations.

#3. Pull your scrap bin (or stack of charms) over to where you are sitting or standing. Now, take your scissors and freehand cut smaller than 3" squares, and start stacking them on top of the 3" squares.

#4. Make even smaller squares and pile them on top.

#5. Play. Rectangles, strips, even circles are okay.

 #6. Don't stop to iron unless something is really creased.
 #7. Don't worry about all those dangly threads.
  #8. It's easy to start suffering over a particular unit. When you find yourself suffering/self-critcizing, work on a different one.
#9. As you finish a unit, use a temporary school glue stick to glue the layers together. You only need a dot in the middle of each layer (unless you have a strip, in which case, a couple of swipes should do it.) No need for complete coverage. 
Here's a ton of psychotherapy on less than a fat quarter of fabric: 
Isn't this satisfying? They each have a unique little personality. From left to right, Sue, Bill, Joe, Frank, Linda....oh never mind. 

#10. Sure they're adorable, you're saying, but they're a hairy mess. You could embrace that - stitch a button in the center of each and send it through the washer and dryer for a shaggy, groovy textured objet d'art. Name it "Hair."

#11. But let's say you're not in a hippie mood. OK, in that case, get out your gold metallic thread and install a topstitching needle in your machine. Don magnifying headgear.

#12. Pick 9 squares that you really love. NOW YOU CAN IRON THEM REALLY REALLY FLAT.

#13. Arrange and lightly glue them on a piece of fabric that's about 15" x 15".

#14. Put a piece of batting behind the fabric. (this will serve as stabilizer. If you don't want to add batting yet, put some kind of stabilizer behind).

#15. Zig-zag around all the edges.
How's that for a personality change? Now you have to rename them Yvette, Diaphanous, Aragorn, Cumberbatch, etc. 

#16. Quilt the background. 

Here's nine of them on a trial run gallery wrap. I'm deciding whether to leave it as is;
Or to add buttons/beads: 
This is for a fundraising auction at my local community arts center. What do you think? Naked or dressed?

The other big question: What's a gallery wrap and how do you do it? It involves installing the above onto one of these: 
I'm figuring out how to do it. Suggestions/directions welcomed. 

Tell me about your favorite quilt therapy! 


  1. I think I might try your therapy.

  2. Fun tutorial with a great result.

  3. Alternative therapy: staring at the photo of Benedict Cumberbatch.

  4. It's fantastic. A don't even know what a gallery wrap is.

  5. Terry Grant recently posted about mounting small pieces.


  6. Thanks, Margaret. It just means wrapping the thing around the other thing.

  7. Hi Cathy: I love this technique so much. However, I decided to make it a "take along" project. I have the base squares cut out (4") and then cut out layers 2 and 3 smaller and in geometric shapes. I have them all in a baggie and am hand stitching the blocks together. Once I get them done will hand stitch the blocks to a quilt sandwich and then embellish. Thanks fo the great idea. Diane


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