Different looks, different block sizes & settings!
A Special thanks to Marsha R for sharing her
pictures of her "Scrap Boxes" quilt!
are her pictures you see below. We both belong to the Stashbusters
email list on yahoogroups.com
have both made similar quilts in the past couple weeks. Hers is a
big one, one of mine is a tiny one! We are collaborating together
on these directions for you! (Thanks Marsha!)
addicted to string
quilts just as much as other scrap quilts.
I love their whimsical appearance, riot of color and the freedom from
having to match match match! Do you have a bin of over flowing small
strips and strings? This page will show you a couple of different
methods for turning your humble strips and strings into a beautiful
This is my bin of strings! :c) What a mess! But so much potential!
this bin I toss odd shaped pieces from squaring up backings,
tapered ends from trimming up yardage when rotary cutting, anything
that I don't feel like cutting down into uniform strips, and anything
less than 1.5". This is the END of my fabric food chain! The last stop
on the road to being "useable". But strings, as humble as they
are...can be beautiful and so fun and rewarding to work with!
you don't have a collection of strips and strings you've been saving,
you can cut random strips of varying widths from 1" to about 2" wide
from your scraps for this project. It is great too if not all the
strips are straight...angle them a bit. It adds alot of interest to the
In addition to your strips and strings, you will need fabric foundation
squares for this project:
can use ANY size square that you would like. Marsha used 11"
squares for her base. The white that you see forming the diamond
'sashing' in this quilt is actually a center strip down the diagonal
of the square that is left 'uncovered'! You can use any color of
foundation square you would like. You might choose a black if you are
working with all brights, or red if you are working with all blue
strings. Think of your fabric foundation squares as being your 'accent
color'. It gives your eyes a place to rest in between all the busy
your ruler and a pencil, lay the one inch line corner to corner
on the diagonal of the square. Draw a light line. This is a 'placement'
line, not a sewing line, so it will be covered up in the next step.
Flip the block around and do the same thing. You can use your previous
line by putting the 2" mark on it, and drawing the second line 1" from
the center on the other side of the block.
your first strip of fabric, and align the right edge of the strip
up against the first pencil mark. Sew 1/4" from the edge of the strip
and press your strip out towards the block corner. Place another
strip on top of the first with right sides together and stitch,
press! Continue adding strips until you finish one side of the square,
and then repeat for the remaining side. It helps to put a piece a
couple of inches wide at the very corner or you will "lose" it in the
seam allowance later!
Looks a little jagged, doesn't it? That's okay! Next we trim!
Press the whole block well and trim it to 10.5" square! One block
Two block quarters make a block half, two halves make one big 20" block!
quilt uses 48 block quarters sewn into 12 big blocks set 3X4
for a quilt center that measures 60"X80". With borders, her quilt measures approx
made this lap sized string quilt for a children's charity! My quarter
finish at 8", and I used paper foundations, covering the whole
foundation square, without leaving the accent strip uncovered as Marsha
did above! A slightly different look! You can use fabric foundations
for this one too, but I prefer to remove the papers after trimming to
eliminate the bulk of leaving fabric in. To
make my quilt the size it needed to be, I have a row of 1/2 blocks at
the bottom of the quilt center.
This is my friend,
Kabnet Wax Paper!
how beat up the box is?! I get this at Sam's Club or Costco. This
is the kind of deli paper that you would find lining the food baskets
at your local deli, the size is about 10X10 and is great for foundation
piecing. It tears off very easily when it is time to remove the paper.
Other paper I like to use....OLD PHONE BOOKS! The pages aren't as
large, but the paper also comes off easily when it is time to remove
it. For this project I do like to use paper foundations because my
strings are not all straight cut strips of fabric. Some have torn
edges, some have slightly curvy edges...and having a foundation means I
am going to have a square of "manufactured fabric" from my strings that
will lie flat.
your first string/strip down the center of the block on the
diagonal. Take your second strip, and place it on top of the first
strip with rights sides together.When piecing through paper, you want
to use a larger needle (like a denim needle, size 14 or 16) and set
your stitch length smaller. This makes the paper very easy to remove
after trimming the block. Stitch this strip with an approximate
1/4" seam. Because some of my strips have uneven or torn edges, I am
more concerned with "enough" of the fabric being caught in the seam,
and the seam being straight, than I am with the exactness of that 1/4".
the second strip open away from the first, and continue adding
strips to either side of that center strip in the same way, filling up
the block. I like to go beyond the edges of the paper so that I
definately have enough when squaring up the block. You don't want to
run short and not have enough to catch in the seams when you join the
blocks up to 8.5" square. Remove papers at this point. Stitch
blocks together in rows, and stitch rows together to form quilt center.
lap quilt above used 20 8" finished blocks for a quilt center
32" X 45". With borders it measured approximately 45" X57", a good
home from taking mid terms
with a desire to sew something, but not having
energy for anything big. I didn't want to have to think too hard on
anything! I decided little string blocks would be
just the thing!
been trimming and cutting scraps down into useable sizes and strips,
and there was this little
pile of leftovers that weren't long enough to be strings, weren't big
enough to be strips or squares, and I couldn't chuck them out. Still,
talking SMALLER than 6" long and some really narrow stuff here. So....I
cut some 4" foundation papers from the deli papers I use for string
piecing, and I started piecing these little string blocks with them.
They are so
cute and finish at only 3.5".
I remembered a pic of an antique
quilt that I had seen that had used a comon fabric down the
center of the block so, I cut 1" strips of the pink accent fabric, and
just laid it across the
diagonal as my first strip. I sewed random width strips on either side
of the pink one to fill up the corners of the blocks. The strips aren't
centered exactly as in Marsha's quilt above. I wasn't in the mood to
to think that hard with midterms nagging at me. So here
is another option for you if you want to try an accent strip and like
the wonky look.
Little blocks in progress:
The corners of the blocks are actually the triangles I
trimmed off from joining lengths of 2.5" binding strips on the
diagonal! Just can't bear to toss anything "useable" away!
machine quilted it, placing a plume in every square, following the
direction of the pink X's formed by placing that pink strip down the
center of each block. I used a variagated rayon thread called
"horizon". Perfect name I thought, since the end of school is on the
Close up of feather plumes in blocks, and 'peacock
feathers' in the outer border.
Want to REALLY save everything to turn into
a fabulous string quilt? Check out this stringy delight by
Baritz! Many friends in
places all over the world contributed fabric selvedges for this quilt.
There about 1000 selvedges. Close up pic.
How about some "Antique Eye-Candy!"
quilts and this is where I get my inspiration! Most of the time these
quilts were worn out and used up with living, but there are still some
great ones out there. Here are some pics to inspire you. Can you
imagine having to resort to nothing but a scrap bag of the smallest
pieces to quilt with? Many of these quilts had such humble beginnings
when whole yardage was scarce.
This fun old quilt has the string blocks set in a zig zag setting!
Another fun one I want to try!
What if we added
These blocks are made as the ones above, but are separated by wide
sashings and large cornerstones that make it seem as if you are viewing
the quilt through window panes!
This one uses a narrower light colored sashing, and no cornerstones
around 4-block units.
See how fun it is when strips angle and are tapered instead of all
Ooooooh green! That will keep you awake at night!
These blocks are placed so the center strip makes an 'X' where the 4
quarter blocks are joined...but notice that some of the blocks on one
edge are 1/2 blocks...and some of them don't make the X at all!
More of "THAT" green, and this time a cheddary orange-gold!
This piecer must have had very small pieces to work with! Her blocks
are made of 16 small string squares!
One that I made in Amish Solids:
This one is still in the 'waiting for quilting' pile. I was thinking of
there ya have it! I hope this inspires you to try
some string quilting of your own!