Quiltville Custom Quilting
String quilts are one of my favorite methods of scrap piecing. I pieced this quilt several years ago, and have had requests for the pattern, I just haven't gotten around to making up the tutorial! So here you go.
The following directions will show you how I draft my template for the spiderweb block, and then complete the piecing on scrap paper. This pattern makes a 10 3/4" block!
I keep a box by my printer where all misprints and throw-aways land. These used pages get a second life when I use them for foundations for string piecing! To start the process, take a sheet of 8.5"X11" paper and square it off to 8.5" . The excess strip is discarded. Cut the 8.5" square on the diagonal from corner to corner. From one of these triangles we will cut our kite template for the spiderweb background fabric.
Take the triangle and fold it in half along the long side. Draw a line 1/4" from the edge on the long side of the triangle. This is included seam allowance. Also draw a little line 1/4" from the fold, so that the line crosses the long seam allowance line you drew. You can see a tiny hash mark on the fold, I needed to be able to SEE the fold with my ruler on it.
Measure with your ruler 2 3/4" from the fold and make a mark along one short side of the triangle. Connect the dots between where the two lines cross and the 2 3/4" dot along the top of the triangle with your ruler and a pen or pencil.
Fold the triangle in half again along the fold and cut on the cutting line. Open up your template. This is the shape you will use to cut your background kites! The seam allowance has already been added.
This ugly little piece of plastic is what I traced my paper template on to! You can see the square I drew with the diagonal line, to show me what size to cut the papers for the foundations of the spider web blocks. The next photo...oy! I tried to use a marker that would show, but it is pretty faint. I fold my fabric so there are 4 thicknesses. I draw around the template with a pigma pen fitting as many as I can along the width of the fabric by juxtapositioning the template back and forth. Cut the kites out with a rotory cutter being careful not to shift fabric as you cut. You will need 4 kites for every spiderweb block that you make. You will also need (2) 8.5" paper squares cut once on the diagonal..this gives you 4 paper base triangles for the block quarters,
I put a bit of glue stick on the center of the triangle..just one swipe will do! The glue stick helps hold the kite in place and doesn't distort like pins can when pinning through paper.
Place your first scrap wrong side up on top of the kite piece and begin to feed it under the machine. I use a small stitch, about 1.5 on my bernina. I also use a denim needle when piecing through paper foundations. This leaves a bigger perferation through the paper and it tears off very easy! After you have sewn your first strip on the first triangle, align your second triangle and feed it through the machine without breaking the threads between the triangles. Reach behind the presser foot with a small pair of thread snips and cut off the back triangle. Press the first strip open. I like to piece with two foundations at once because they both act as "leaders/enders" for the other. It saves from having to deal with a lot of long thread waste!
Continue to add strips in this way to fill the triangles completely! The great thing about spiderweb blocks is you can use your smaller crumbs towards the points of the triangles! Here are 4 foundations covered. They look messy! But just use your rotory cutter and ruler to trim them up even with the paper foundations. I like to sew four block quarters in every "sitting" because it gets me up and out of my chair to stretch a bit while I trim. When trimmed, remove the paper carefully from the block quarters.
This is one completed block! The circles will appear when you place the blocks side by side. Make as many blocks as you want to make the quilt the size you want it to be! My first spiderweb had a dirty pink background that is very hard to photograph! It just looks BLAH in photos, but it looks so much better in real life! Here are some pics I took of the construction process:
This is 2 rows of 7 across! See the circles appearing? My son called this "The Pizza Quilt!"
5 rows of 7....that pinky color is still not photographing right!
This pic was taken outside on a cloudy day...now it looks VERY pink, and it's not this pink in reality either! But this gives you a close up of the border fabric, and the fun strippy inset border that finished it off.
Jan 2009: A couple months back I got a phone call from an editor at Country Magazine asking if I could supply her with a picture of a string quilt to go with an article that someone had written. Could I EVER!!
What came of this was a very fun email exchange, some phone calls, and me doing a photo shoot to get things "just right". I did shots in the yard, on the porch swing, and of course in the guest room. I even sent her a pic of my overflowing wicker laundry basket of scrap strings.
I am so tickled with the story that goes with the pic. It's perfect. And there in the middle of the pic for all the world to see is my Emmylou (also called Louisa, and LuLuBee)like she owns the bed AND the quilt (which she does)
There are a lot of old spiderweb quilts out there! I'm always looking for fun tops and pictures for inspiration.
This one has a great striped border.....she used muslin kites, and a solid red strip on either side of the kite before filling in the remainder of the block quarter triangles with what was in her scrap bag. Great old quilt!
If you make this quilt, I'd love to display a picture of it here!