I am making this quilt mainly because I am blessed with an abundance of fabric leftover from other sewing projects! My own sewing projects, my late mother's sewing projects, and, even, some others' sewing projects, as, over the years, friends have blessed me with their leftovers! My baskets of scraps are overflowing! Sometimes, I look at all the fabric in my stash and feel stressed by the abundance! So much to store! At other times, I am grateful for the abundance and recognize it as a blessing.
These past few days of decluttering files and going through my books have been difficult for me. So, on Thursday, when I was feeling out of sorts and upset with myself, I knew that I needed to take a day off to relax and indulge in what has always been a joyful activity for me - play with fabric. Looking through the stash for suitable fabric for a baby gift (I found two or three possibilities), I realized that I really ought to sew down the stash of scrap fabric! I have two baskets of smaller pieces of fabric (solid colors in one, print fabric in the other) and both were overflowing!
I thought a string quilt would be a good way to use up the stash. In a way, I'm still decluttering! Decluttering my stash of scrap fabric, that is!
I started out with a foundation piece - I chose to do a 6 1/2 inch square, which should, hopefully, give me a 6 inch square block, when sewn together. I say "hopefully", because I always seem to end up with blocks that don't measure as accurately as they should!
For my foundation squares, I am using an assortment of soft fabrics which aren't suitable for regular patchwork quilts, as they are so thin. Some tutorials said one can use thin paper (which get torn off once the strips of fabric are sewn on) for the foundation, but, since my purpose is to use up the stash of scrap fabric, I am using fabric as my foundation pieces.
Basically, one sews strips of fabric to this foundation piece until the whole of it is covered. The individual strips can be of any width. Most of my strips are cut 2 inches wide, but some are a little more and some are a little less. I wouldn't cut them less than 1 1/2 inches wide, though, as I am sewing 1/4 inch seams and narrower strips will end up being mostly seams with not much of the fabric showing!
For this particular quilt, I decided I wanted to have one dark colored strip going diagonally across:
Some string quilt tutorials say to mark 1 inch on either side of the corners of the foundation square to help center the starting strip. I simply eyeballed it. It doesn't bother me if it is slightly off center. What does matter is that the starting strip is placed right side up!
The next step is the add strips on either side of this center strip. It is not necessary to trim the length of each strip of fabric to the size of the foundation square at this point. As long as the strip of fabric is long enough to cover the foundation square (if not, I'd sew another piece of fabric to the strip to make it long enough).
Place the second strip, on top of the starting strip, with the right side of the fabric facing down and sew it, on top of the starting strip, along one side:
|#2 Strip Sewn Down|
Next, open it out and iron it, so it lies flat:
|Strip #2 Pressed Open|
|Strip #3 Sewn and Pressed Open|
Other than a dark, central diagonal, there is not much planning as to the placement of the rest of the strips of fabric. It is a completely random arrangement. I am just taking a long enough piece of fabric strip and sewing it. Eventually, as I run out of longer strips, I can see myself piecing shorter strips together, and that will just add to the randomness. This is meant to be a "stash buster" quilt!
|One block, completely covered|
The next step is to trim the strips of fabric to the size of the foundation square. A cutting mat, rotary cutter, and a ruler are helpful at this stage. If not, a pair of scissors would be sufficient, I'm sure. But, if I was cutting this with a pair of scissors, I might sew my strips down around the outside edges of my foundation square, just to make sure they stay in place!
|The back, showing the foundation square|
This is the ruler that was included with the cutting mat and rotary cutter in the set that my daughter bought for me. It is 6 1/2 inches wide and 24 1/2 inches long. It's easy to measure a 6 1/2 inch square with this ruler!
|Ready to Trim off the Excess!|
I just rotate the pieced fabric square and trim all four edges:
|All Nicely Trimmed|
Most of the trimmed off pieces are too small to reuse. But, I've saved some of the triangles to use for the corners on other blocks.
|The Trimmed Block|
I've made 41 blocks, so far. My plan is to continue to make as many blocks as I can and then, decide just what I am going to do with them all! I think some will become a second border for the Mile-A-Minute quilt top I made earlier (the one I decided wasn't quite as big as I'd like it to be). Others might be sewn into a quilt for a certain cat who threw up all over my own quilt, this morning! He is now sleeping on "his quilt" in the spare room!
Today, I am grateful for:
- An abundance of scrap fabric!
- The memories they bring
- Time in which to sew and play with fabric
- Cutting mats, rotary cutters, sewing machines, etc., which speed up the process
- My eye sight and being able to see well enough to sew!
Have you made any string quilts? Do you think you might make one, one day?
From what I see, this could make a fun baby quilt--colorful and fun.ReplyDelete
It would certainly be an easy pattern for a baby quilt! :)Delete
I was taught this technique a long time ago - and my tutor showed me exactly your method. Sew a centre strip then left and right sides alternately. Also it was not called "string quilting" but "strip and flip" (presumably because you sew a strip then flip it over) I haven't done one for ages. It would be a good "Stash buster" though! I look forward to seeing how yours turns out.ReplyDelete
I think we used to just call it "foundation piecing". Strip and flip is a good name for it, too. :)Delete
I've enjoyed seeing your photographs of the quilting process. I have no clue when it comes to fabric, so it's interesting to see how it all comes together. I imagine it can get quite addictive.ReplyDelete
I hope, by spending time doing something you love, it has left you feeling a lot less out of sorts. X
Thank you, Jules. Yes, it has been rather therapeutic and I am feeling much better. :)Delete
This looks like a fun way of making a quilt. Do you have memories associated with all the fabrics you are using? This would be a good method for making a memory quilt.ReplyDelete
It is a very quick and easy way of making a quilt. Yes, I have memories associated with almost all the fabrics I am using. There are one or two pieces that were given. Practically all my quilts are memory quilts, in that sense. I might purchase the fabric for the backgrounds and borders, etc., but, most of the patchwork is done with leftover fabric from making clothes or other projects. For example, when my daughter moved up to Berkeley, she wanted me to make her two cushions for her sofa, and she wanted them in a particular cherry print fabric. There was a small piece of that fabric leftover after I made the cushions; yesterday, I cut that piece of fabric into two strips and used them as central strips on two squares. My daughter will be able to pick out those two pieces of fabric in the quilt and remember the cushions I made for her. :)Delete
That looks like fun. I know what you mean about having an abundance of craft supplies. I have been given so much yarn. I think it is time for me to donate what I'm not using, though.ReplyDelete
It is fun! I am enjoying myself. :) Maybe you can bag up some of your excess yarn and sell through your online shop? I used to buy bags of odds and ends of yarn, sold by weight, usually 1 lb. bags, at a yarn shop, long ago (before they went out of business!) They were good for making granny squares, etc.Delete
I did make a double bed sized patchwork quilt about 40 years ago, plus quilts for cots and prams. Later I made a smaller one from my Laura Ashley maternity dresses, but don't think I shall do again. I don't think I have the patience but admire those who do. My creativity moved to card making and writing and cooking. I think many of us have inside us a need to create.ReplyDelete
I enjoy the patchwork part of making quilts. I don't like to do the quilting part of it! I like the idea of a quilt made from maternity dresses; it is a nice keepsake quilt.Delete
Your photos and description almost make me want to start on a string quilt!ReplyDelete
I've been visiting my friend this afternoon and took round an album of our son's wedding, which she and her husband attended, and she enjoyed finding herself on some of the photos at the reception. She then brought out some photos of her own, and one showed a party they had years ago and there I found DH and myself among the guests!
Why not have a go at making your own string quilt? If you don't have a lot of fabric remnants, you could make a smaller, lap quilt or something.Delete
Old photo albums are fun, aren't they? Although, I've been wondering what to do with my mother and step-father's wedding album. My daughter isn't interested in it and I already have two framed photos of their wedding. There isn't a wedding album from my parents' wedding, only a framed photograph.
Are you good at rotary cutting? I could never do it.ReplyDelete
I am able to cut with the rotary cutter, as long as there aren't too many layers of fabric to cut through. Although, I think my cutting blade is getting blunt, now! I need to figure out how to sharpen it!Delete
I always veer to one side. I like to use regular scissors ✂️ReplyDelete
The trick is to hold the blade of the rotary cutter pressed firmly against the side of the ruler as you cut. Scissors are good, too. That's what I used until I got the rotary cutter.Delete
I just had my sewing machine serviced and now I need to put it to good use. I might start a string quilt to. My granddaughter has outgrown the youth bed and needs a twin. The string quilt would make a cute bedspread.ReplyDelete
I'm sure your granddaughter would love a quilt made by you. If you are buying the fabric especially for her quilt, you could buy an assortment of the lovely prints they have for children.Delete