Today I had a light bulb moment. Probably most people know this already, but just in case you haven't thought about it, I thought I'd share.
There I was this afternoon, wrestling with 3.5 yards of white Kona cotton for the lattice strips of the quiltalong nine patch I've been working on. My usual way is to cut lattice strips 2.5" WOF (width of fabric), as you see below:
I like to fold the fabric over and cut four thicknesses at a time because it's easier for me to handle on my smallish cutting board that way. As I started to sub-cut each strip into 6.5" pieces, I was getting four pieces and what you see below as leftovers:
Now, I don't really mind the two little squares, but I do mind the folded over pieces because I have to take them back to the ironing board, re-press, and line them up again before I make the second cut. I've done this lots of times before, but today I stood there and wondered if there might be a better way.
Then I thought, what if I make the cut the other way around? Instead of cutting 2.5" strips, what if I cut 6.5" WOF strips and then sub-cut those into the 2.5" lattices?
So I tried it. For each 6.5" strip, I was able to sub-cut 4 sets of 2.5" strips--that's 16 lattice strips.
I'm pretty sure there was less waste. The little strip you see to the right in the picture above is what was left over, and that was from 16 pieces. It measures a bit less than 1.5" when it is unfolded.
It is much easier to go from large to medium to small when you're cutting. I also like that the lattice strips are now cut on the grain because there will be a lot less stretch as I assemble the blocks.
Since I was in cutting mode today, I also cut and assembled the binding for one of my nearly finished quilts. Maybe I'll actually be able to get it sewn on some time this week.