Monday, February 11, 2013

Taming the Scrap Bag, Part 2 My Take on String Quilts

String quilt block tutorial
I do love string quilts. They are such an efficient way to use scraps. I use foundation fabric for piecing my strings and pair them with a solid fabric to make a diagonal block. Some quilters recommend using paper, but after spending over 20 hours picking out the paper from a paper pieced quilt I made, I said never again. I now use the cheapest thinnest cotton muslin I can find and pre-wash it to avoid shrinkage.
I begin with a color scheme in mind. In this case I had some yellow batik I wanted to use as my background fabric, so I chose strip scraps of yellow and orange for the strings
I cut the muslin to 7.5” squares. The first strip is laid face up diagonally across the center of the muslin. Since this strip will be cut in half later in the process, I choose a strip 2.5” to 3” wide.  I then pin strips on either side of the wide strips right sides down.  For efficiency, I pin both sides, so that as soon as I have stitched one side, I turn it the block around and stitch the other. Working with a pile of 15 blocks makes it easy to chain piece.
laying out the first pieces
After stitching both sides, move to the iron and press sewn strips face up.
first pieces sewn and pressed
Add two more strips face down on both sides of the block. I try to alternate width of strips as well as color to create contrast. I very my strips between 1 and 2 inches, and like that they are not cut straight.
When all the muslin has been covered, the block will look like this.
ready to square and trim
I then turn the block over and trim it to 7.25” square. The sewing process does tend to draw up the muslin. Your blocks may differ slightly, but all the blocks need to be the same size.
backside ready to square and trim square and trim
You could stop here and make a quilt with your trimmed blocks.
could call this finished
But I’m going to double the amount of blocks and increase my seting options by sewing them to solid yellow squares.
Cut your solid fabric into 7.25” squares. (or the size of your trimmed blocks) Your trimmed string blocks need to be exactly the same size as your solid blocks)
Lay your trimmed block face down on the solid block, making sure the corners and edges are lined up.
Draw a line with a pencil diagonally across your string pieced block.
draw a line corner to corner

draw  the line in direction as the stitching

Taking your blocks back to the sewing machine, use your 1/4” foot and sew on both sides of the drawn line.
sew on both sides of drawn lines
Now for the reveal!
Now cut your block in half diagonally, on the drawn line.
slice on drawn line
And open your block
the reveal
Decide on how you want to set the blocks and complete your quilt. The finished blocks will be about 6 3/4” squares.
Here are some setting options
barn raising reversed  barn raising setting

light and dark setting pinwheel setting

 streak of lightening horizontalstraight furrow setting
And that’s another edition of taming the scrap bag. Even for a scrap hoarder like me there are limits as to the size of the scraps I use.
You might also like taming the scrap bag

1 comment:

  1. Looking good... and what a satisfying feeling to reduce the scrap stash! Thanks for the step-by-steps.