Sunday, October 21, 2012

Doing the string thing

   I promised a tutorial for the string blocks and I had second thoughts.....why try to improve on my original source.    The very best place for a tutorial on string quilts is at the Scrap Queen site of Quiltville .  Bonnie includes details and lots of photos of the sew and flip method for covering your foundation fabric.  So click on over there for the best information on the basic technique and a few setting ideas.  You can print out her info and have a great reference.
    If you prefer to use paper as a foundation that is fine.....just a couple of cautions.  Be sure to use a smaller stitch length.  When the paper is removed, the stitches often pull out on the edges.   You should also spray  starch your block before removing the paper to help stabilize it.....all the edges are bias.

   Decide on the size block you want to use.  I used  8" but it is your choice.  I don't think I would go smaller than 6", but I think a 10 inch one would be great to work with.

 For creating your layout plan, you will need to print out (or draw your own) this photo and color it in.  The diagonal through each block should be consistent, as it is your frame around each color.
   Note:   I ended up adding an additional row of blocks on the left side and bottom to increase the size.  It is so easy to do that with this pattern.

    Here's a quick recap of the steps I used.

 Step 1:  Mark your foundation block with the 2 colors.  I used a regular pencil for this.  It is going to be covered anyway.
   Step 2:  Place a 2 inch strip on the diagonal between the 2 marked sides.  This is your frame around the blocks.
   Step 3:  Begin in the center and sew and flip strips in the color family to cover the foundation.  (Refer to Quiltville tutorial!)  Be sure to extend strips beyond the foundation.   Press each strip as added.
  Step 4:  Repeat for the opposite side.
  Step 5:  Trim and square up your block.

     I found it less confusing to work with  blocks of one color family at a time.  I worked in groups of 3 or 4 blocks at a time---doing all reds, or greens, etc.  I had a stack of half covered foundations for a while.  Then I began working on the opposite side in the same way.  I found I could cover 3 or 4 blocks in about 30 to 45 minutes this way.  I tend to sew in short allotments of time between other things, so this worked for me.
     I pinned 5 projects over the weekend.....quilts and wall hangings.  And I discovered where a lot of  those strings come from......I had a huge pile of strings from trimming the backings!    Need strings, then make quilts!  Happy stitching.  


Lynne said...

I am so inspired by your "jewel" quilt that I am planning a knitted variation! I am now knitting the binding of my current blanket so it won't be long before I can cast on!

Gene Black said...

Yaay! I am so glad to hear that other people save the quilt trimmings to use in other quilts. I thought I was just being overly frugal when I do that. LOL.

Dana Gaffney said...

I save all of those trimmings too and use the trimmed batting to wipe the dust off of the T.V. or any table that needs it, on the way to the trash. More quilts = more strings and a slightly less dusty house.

Impera Magna said...

I love string quilts and your jewel string quilt is gorgeous!

Throw out fabric scraps/strings/trimmings or batting? Never!!!

Flo @ Butterfly Quilting said...

thank you so much! This is my list of things to try!!

Janet O. said...

Great info here, Deb, and you are so right to refer to Quiltville. Why reinvent the wheel? : )
I don't through away those trimmings I even use the leftover batting scraps in my practice sandwiches--sometimes placing three or four strips next to each other to make it wide enough for one 10" block. Frugal? You bet!!

KatieQ said...

Thank you for making the grid for the quilt available. I started to draw one out, but it was a bit messy so this will be a big help in starting the project.

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