Saturday, April 1, 2017

Strippy Scrappy Thread Cone Block

Scrappy Strippy Large Thread Cone Block
6 and 1/2" block unfinished


I have been a member of this scrappy fun for some time and enjoy the inspiration
so I thought I would drop in and post my tutorial for this scrappy string block.

I have been trying to use up some of my overflowing stash of strips.

Where do they all come from?

I think they multiply like spring bunnies in my scrap jars and boxes.

Last weekend I improv pieced a bunch of red thread spool blocks for the

This month is "Multi-Color" Month
so I gathered a handful of small multi-colored strips
to figure out how to duplicate the 

Large Thread Cone Block


3/4" to 1 and  1/2"  assorted multicolored strips

Two 2" by 5 and 1/2" strips white
Two 1 and 1/2" by 5 and 1/2" strips white
Two 1 and 1/4" squares
Two 1"  by  4" strips white
Two 1" by 2" strips white

Two 4 and 1/2" by 1" strips gray
One 1 and 1/2" by 1"  strips gray

I sewed the strips randomly together, 
pressed in one direction
 and trimmed the center of my cone to
3 and 1/2" by 5 and 1/2" 

My multicolored scraps are random and uneven strips.
so the resulting thread looks "wonky"
like my variegated threads.

I am also using various scrap strips of a favorite gray and background white 
to make this block.

 This is what I had when I started to sew.

I sewed one the corners of the top of the cone 
and pieced the spool strips.

Cut the side pieces and sewed them to either side of the cone.

Sewing tip:  finger press to find the center of each piece and 
align the centers when sewing on the top and bottom.

Sew on top and bottom of cone.

Trim square to 6 and 1/2"

I hope you enjoyed my block tutorial today.

If there is enough interest, I will post tutorials for the other thread spool blocks here
as well as on my blog.

Happy strip sewing! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Anatomy of a modern string

I've been playing with strings again -- experimenting and asking "what if?", as usual.  And also as usual, some of those experiments didn't work very well. This one has been sitting around for yonks and when I finally took a photo, I knew I had to rework it.  Bleh.

So...this morning I took it apart. Separated all the blocks and discovered they were all slightly different sizes and shapes. Uh - was I drunk or just tired when I sewed them together?  Most likely, just in a hurry.  Not a good idea.

I trimmed all the blocks to the same size (5") and tried another arrangement, without sewing them together.

Better, but not much.  The blocks were too big arranged this way.  They needed more space around them but I had no more of them and wasn't about to make additional ones.  Other fish to fry!!

Then - what if I  put space between the small units and played with a sort-of alternate grid?  Here is what is on my wall now.  I still needs more negative space around it, but I think I'll stick a fork in it.  What do you think?

Of course, once I sew the pieces together the whole thing will get smaller and may change a bit - but that's okay.  It can't be worse than the first version!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I've been stringing along with 10 quilting friends.
I put out a call for help with a string quilt 
in greens and blues and neutrals.
A week ago we gathered to put it together,
sewing blocks from a pile of strings.
The blocks finish at 5.5 inches.
It has a basket weave layout of 11 by 15 blocks
with an interior border of dark blue blocks.

Here's a test layout.
I've moved around some blocks so there are no dark bits
touching the border.

Here's a view of it sewn together.
A week later it is basted and ready to quilt.
Stay posted!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Using those Orphan String squares

I decided to use those Orphan String squares as centres for Wonky star blocks.
I trimmed the blocks down to 4.5" square and used them for the centres of the QAYG stars.
They made a finished block of 12.5" as requested by Adrienne  (On the windy side blog) for her Block Drive so she can make some quilts to give to children affected by the November Kaikoura earthquake.

My favourite block is :

I made similar QAYG blocks for Alison's Soy Amado Project back in 2014 and was very pleased to see how good they looked in Alison's  finished quilt.

Google Soy Amado No 38 on Little Island Quilting: Sunday 15 June 2014.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Making single colour string blocks

I am trying to use up the small stash of fabric I have here in NZ so I have been making some String blocks in a single colour. They are small, only 5" square as I had lots of scrap paper that I could cut this size from for my foundation papers.

Here they are:

I also made these blocks:

But, when I trimmed them I discovered I had made a mistake, somehow I had cut a few of the foundation papers around 4.75"!
As I didn't have many long strings I started to piece strings and the yellow block really doesn't work as the central string is pieced and doesn't stand out enough in the block.
So, these will be used in a different way.
I have two ideas:
They can either join other Orphan Blocks or I can use them to make a large Wonky Star block like these I made back in March 2014:

I made these for The Soy Amada quilts project, using Crumb blocks for the centres of the stars. I could do the same, using the five Mistake blocks. I have plenty of calico here in NZ so I could make these QAYG blocks easily.

A week or so ago I saw an NZ blog post about a QAYG blocks drive to make donation 12.5"square blocks for Kiwi kids.  As I am in NZ I thought this would be a good way to use these poor Mistake blocks. However.......... I can't remember which blog it was!!!  If anyone reading this blog post can let me know the blog name please email me or leave a comment on this post!  Thank you.  Otherwise I'll donate them to the Soy Amado Project.

Happy String piecing!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Group strings

My local quilt group is working on a donation quilt from little strings in a restricted colour palette.
We're making blue, green and neutral string blocks measuring 6 inches square.

I made these 16 in just a few minutes and they'll join others
when we meet for an all-day sew-in next month.

Anyone one out there inspired to join us?
Make some six-inch string blocks and ask your friends for contributions
and post the process or quilt here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Neutral Strings

These were absolutely the last of the string blocks. Knowing all the colorful ones were gone, I didn't have much hope for them. How wrong I am.

Brown, white, and black string quilt top

I may like this one best of all. More details on my blog.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Green Strings with a Bit of Paper Piecing

It's the time of year to finish things up. Back in January I sewed all my strings into single color blocks. I used a few to make a baby quilt but the rest sat on the shelf. Until now.

Because they are the liveliest I pulled the greens first. Almost enough to make a toddler quilt. Two blocks short. But there were two purple blocks in the pile so they were added.
Green String Toddler quilt
The red bits are a discarded paper pieced border from years ago. I sewed them in the middle of the blocks until there wasn't enough. You can see the last smidge in the top right corner, placed to use all of it. I didn't worry about centering properly or perfect points on the string blocks but think it looks fine.

The channel quilting was done with a walking foot. No measuring; just used the foot as a guide. After washing the quilting really stands out.

The binding came from my box of leftover binding bits. It's an easy finish for a soft toddler quilt.

More information on my blog here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Very Scrappy Strings

I just finished this string top using leftovers accumulated from  recent projects.  In Gwen Marston's "Liberated String Quilts", this style is called STRING BARS.

This will probably become a donation quilt after it's finished.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

It's From the Heart

Hello fellow string-quilt lovers !

I ran across this blog and was overwhelmed with all of the lovely eye-candy.  Of course, it happened as I was googling string quilts, and working on one of my own.

I've liked the looks of string quilts for quite a while, having been a steady quilter since around 1986 or so.  I had never attempted to make one myself, but recently was intrigued by the  technique of using a white strip diagonally down the center of each block.  I really liked how this one little step really tied a lot of different width fabrics into one cohesive design of squares on  point.

When I discovered that Missouri Star Quilt Company sold 10-inch papers to be used for string-piecing, I ordered some and added them to the 'someday' stack in my fabric credenza.

Well, that someday came this summer.  Having made several bright quilts, I decided that I liked the idea of a medium-toned quilt, so I went through my stash and pulled out as many pastel and richly medium fabrics as I thought would work together.  I cut them into stacks of strips measuring anywhere from 1 1/4 inch to 2 1/2 inches.

I started the blocks by using an Elmer's glue stick to lightly secure a 1-inch white strip diagonally down the center of each paper square. Then, with a laundry basket on the floor beside me, with strips draped around the edges of it, I started piecing the strips onto the paper on each side of the center white strip, and pressing them outwards toward the edges.  I tried not to be too choosy what went where, but sometimes I did get specific, especially trying not to repeat fabrics in a block.

I was going for a specific size of quilt.  I love to make what I call 'generous nap quilts', which generally measure around 60 x 80 inches.  I trimmed the blocks down to 9 1/2 inches each, and made 63 for a quilt with 7 blocks across, and 9 inches down.

I finished the quilt top in late July, only taking around a week to make the entire thing, but I had family coming for a visit, and having to give up my sewing room to provide sleeping accomodations, I folded up the top and pretty much forgot about it.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran across a 5-yard length of fabric that I had tucked away in a drawer after getting a fantastic buy on it at Walmart .   It was a beautiful rose print, and as soon as I saw it, it brought to mind that string-quilt top.  I knew that it would be just perfect as a backing for it.
So, I found the top, and spent a grueling day basting it within the confines of my small front bedroom.  That's a whole 'nother story, don't ya know, but suffice it to say, I was thrilled to be finished with that step.

Well, the machine-quilting went pretty quickly, probably being totally done over maybe 4 days.  First I quilted in the ditch along the seams of the white strips.  Then I ditch-quilted every single strip's seam, and if the strip was 2 inches wide, I quilted down the middle of it.

I bound the quilt int the same rose print, washed it, and thrilled to the wonderful texture that was wrought from the use of the 80/20 Pellon cotton./polyester batting,

By Sunday afternoon, the quilt was ready to be test-driven, with a good, long nap,.... and Lottie-dah and I gave it a FULL thumbs-UP !

I loved this quilt so much as soon as it was finished , that the first thing that came to my mind to call it was "Heart Strings".  That's just how it struck me as I petted all those lovely colors and prints, and the roses on the back.  I had to laugh out loud when I discovered that there was a contest with the same name, and many, many previously shared string-quilts.  Oh, well, the name CAME FROM MY HEART, and I just guess that great minds think alike !

Please feel free to stop by my blog every once in awhile. Specific stats on this quilt can be found there, including links to the paper squares and the batting.

And thanks for letting me share my quilt and my story.