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Stack and Whack Obsession!

I had the pleasure recently of taking a class with Mary Strinka, a member of guild, past president and quilt show chairman. Mary has delighted us for years with her creativity. She has tried everything from traditional quilts to art quilts, but what I most admired of her work is her Stack and Whack quilts. When a class was offered by the guild and taught by Mary, I didn’t hesitate to sign up.

Then came Covid-19 which caused us to postpone the class until fall. We finally found a venue that would let us have a small class and we are grateful to Quilt Quarters for letting us share their classroom space.

Even though I have done a couple of Stack and Whack quilts before, I always benefit from taking a class from someone to learn any new tips and tricks I haven’t figured out on my own. This class was no disappointment in that regard.

If you are not familiar with Stack and Whack, it is a process of buying enough yardage of a wild print (the wilder to the better) to get at least six repeats of the pattern and then stacking the repeats on top of one another using pins to accurately line up the designs. Once layered, the layers are cut into strips and then triangles or whatever shape you care to design with. I chose 60-degree triangles to play with.

Once the triangles are cut, the fun part begins, which involves laying out the triangles together to form interesting new designs. Usually this become a whirl of images. The six triangles coming together forms a hexagon. During class we started sewing three triangles together to form a half hexagon. This is the preferred way to construct this quilt since you can easily put the hexagons together in rows rather that trying to sew Y-seams around the hexagons.

Mary showed us examples she has made of different layouts using hexagons and also four patch and eight patch versions. She even went shopping with us to help us pick out fabrics that would make great Stack and Whack quilts. Typically, she looks in the sale racks for large, colorful prints and I found two that should make good candidates.

When I got home, I had more work to do with the layout. I didn’t like the way the blocks looked when they were laid side by side so my alternative was to add some green sashing. That lead to some ideas about different shapes and pretty soon I was cutting diamonds and making stars. I got a bit carried away with the possibilities. The whole process really got my creative juices going. Below is the result which I’ve posted on Facebook. I tried alternating the stars shapes with hexagons which presented some math challenges and more than a few coping strips. In the end the green got to be too much so I added a row with lavender just to break it up.

This was a fun project and I plan to do a few more quilts using this method. Mary says it’s addictive and I can now understand why!

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