It happened this week that I needed a large panel (20 by 7) of randomised 1.5" patchwork squares - as you do?! I read about this great technique in Australian Quilter's Companion #47.
Kathy Doughty, of Material Obsession fame, used it to quickly piece her 'The General's Wife' quilt.
From fabric scraps (or a jelly roll of 'Etchings' by 3 Sisters in my case), cut twenty-eight 11" x 2" strips. Divide the strips into four sets of seven strips each.
For each set, join the seven strips along their long edges. Press the seam allowances in one direction.
Lay the pieced strips right sides together so that the seventh strip joins the first strip. Join to make a tube.
Place the tube of strips on the cutting mat and cut five circular 2" segments.
Unpick one seam of each of the five tubes, choosing a different seam for each. This will yield five strips with differing fabric placement.
Repeat this process for each of the four sets of fabrics to yield twenty strips.
These strips are then stitched together in rows. There is plenty of fabric variation using this technique. You may need to re-press the seams in the opposite direction for some strips as you join them together. And quick as a flash, you have a 20 x 7 panel of randomly distributed 1.5" squares!
This panel is part of one of those annoying 'secret' projects that I can't disclose just yet, but I wanted to at least share what I thought was a great time-saving technique.