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?