Monday, October 7, 2013
Because I can't bear to throw away even the smallest of my scraps, I've been saving odd strips and strings for years. I've also been occasionally piecing blocks with these pieces and sharing them here on my blog. I've been meaning to do a quick tutorial to share my method for some time now, and since I recently acquired some wonderful new strips and strings, I thought this might be the perfect time to take photos of my process.
Last Friday I was able to get together and sew with my friend Camille, and she sent me home with a lovely box of strips from her upcoming collection April Showers. Now this box of strips was so amazing that I was determined to put them to use immediately...and so the sorting began! I sorted the strips first by color and then by print, grabbed one of every design, and then headed into the sewing room.
I decided on 8" finished blocks for this project. My ongoing string block quilt uses smaller blocks (5 1/2" finished), and so I thought using a bigger block for this quilt might make it go together a little more quickly. I also thought that by using this size block I'd be able to easily cut extra strips from fat quarters if I end up needing more.
I use a fabric foundation method for my string blocks which helps the blocks maintain their shape and also doesn't require any of the paper removal other methods use.
I cut my background fabric 8 1/2" x 8 1/2". Using a thin muslin for the foundation helps keep the blocks from becoming too bulky. Choose a center strip fabric and place it face up on the foundation piece diagonally across the block. You can pin the strip to the foundation to keep it from slipping, or use a couple of dots of applique' glue or even an acid free glue stick to secure it. I've learned the hard way that if the center strip slides a bit before it's sewn to the foundation that the block will be a little "off-centered."
Next place another strip face down, right sides together on top of the center strip. Sew the strips together through all layers (including the foundation square) along one edge of the strips using a 1/4" seam.
Set the seam with your iron, then press the top strip open.
Add a third strip in the same manner.
Continue to add strips until one entire side of your foundation square is covered with strips. Don't worry about the uneven edges yet.
Next, continue sewing strips beginning with the other side of your center strip. Continue until you have covered your entire foundation square with strips.
If your flip the block over it will look like this...your foundation square will be centered with all sorts of uneven strips hanging the edges.
Next, use an acrylic ruler and your rotary cutter to trim the edges even with your foundation square. Repeat on all sides.
You now have a completed string block!
I've found that I like strips with widths between 1 1/4" and 2 1/2". Using a variety of widths gives your blocks a whimsical feel. I'm hoping to make 56 blocks total which will give me a scrappy string quilt measuring about 56" x 64". I have five blocks completed and 51 to go!
I can hardly wait until I'm able to start setting them together!
If you've never tried a string block, I hope you might want to give it a try--I'll have to warn you though, you may never be able to throw away a strip or string of fabric again!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
♥ Posted by Sherri at 3:00:00 AM