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.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Kaleidoscope String Quilt

It's just been gifted to a charming new baby. Her parents love the bright, cheerful colors of balloon launches. So...
Suhavi's Stars - a spiderweb quilt
I pulled these scrap triangles to make stars. After several arrangements, they looked best on the diagonal.

Stars for the spiderweb scrap quilt
Then it simply needed leftover strings - loads of them.

More information about the quilting here and the backing and binding here.

Quilt Details

  • Size: 40" x 40"
  • Pattern: Spiderweb
  • Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose 100% cotton
  • Thread: Gutermann peach cotton
  • Quilting: Walking foot
Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Red Basketweave Strings

I've been cleaning out a UFO storage tub, and came across this top.  I sewed it a while ago as a sample for a guild activity that didn't happen, and then stored it away and forgot about it.  Just a simple basketweave block arrangement, but red always makes me smile. 

I don't use foundations for these blocks, since they're not being pieced on the diagonal.  I just sew enough strings together to cut a large enough square. 

Now that it's out in the light of day again, I'll add it to my To-Be-Quilted stack. 


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Here is a string quilt I made using quilt-as-you-go technique. I used black and white strips with some occasional red. Each block has a different red in the star points.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Annette's String Quilt

My friend Annette made this string quilt using the 'quilt as you go' method to piece it together.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Another Fracture

This measures 45" square. I made it as a donation quilt. I quilted it on my Janome.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Yellow and White Strings

I finished this baby quilt while visiting Boston. Quilted on my daughter's featherweight.

Yellow and white string baby quilt
At New Year's I sewed all my string scraps into 8.5" blocks by color. These are all the yellows and most of the white. Edit: The quilt finished about 41" square.

Detail of quilting and binding.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Playing around with strings.

Hi all!  I've been crazy/busy with travel/teaching and an on-line class that is now finished.
But thought I'd poke my head in and share this with you before I finish packing and leaving for another week of teaching.  Waaahhhh -- I want more time in my studio to play!! Too many ideas coming from "what if?" and not enough hours to try them out!

warm regards to all of you.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Really big strings

I made dozens of string blocks last fall and winter
for a group string project in my group.

The requirements were piecing bright strings with no blacks
onto an 8.5 inch foundation, 
with a 1.5 inch white strip at the centre.

Together we made lots of blocks

enough for a 96 inch square quilt.

The woman who collected blocks put the together in groups of 16
and made a nine-patch with a dark green border and binding.

She quilted a loopy meander all over the quilt
and you can see the quilting better on the back,
which has a sunflower theme.

This was a great quilt to use up lots of narrow strings.
Most of my bits were 1 to 1.5 inches wide.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Strings for QOV

These are the first four 12.5" string blocks
for a quilt top that will be donated to Quilts of Valor.

These are being pieced onto thin muslin.

One consistent 1.5" red string
plus a variety of scrappy blue strings
form the center for each block.

Thirty-five blocks will use up a LOT of scrappy 
white-on-black and black-on-white strings.

The goal is a layout five blocks wide
by seven blocks long.

LOVE the way these look together!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Rail Fence Strings

Since I wasn't careful with the amount of strings cut for Chinese Coins, there were enough to make a second quilt, too. This used some of the strings discarded during the first quilt; it's much louder and more vibrant.

I also found some strings of triangles in the scrap bin. They were a failed experiement that worked beautifully here.
Improvistational Rail Fence from Strings
Using stripes was great fun! There were more striped fabrics than I originally saw. So many fabrics look completely different in small pieces.

I used two different striped fabrics in the binding... Because there wasn't enough of either to go all the way around. More on my blog here.

Enjoy the day,

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Round Lake is Rectangular

I love to reuse fabric found in clothing. 

There is really something mystical about it.

This little quilt has found its way into our old camper. Its a rough style of camper that is mostly a "Man Cave on wheels."

This quilt is my way of putting our family in the camper with him. This quilt was formed from intuition. I was a young Mom with two toddlers of my own and I provided paid childcare for other mothers who worked outside the home.

I had my sewing machine in a case ready for a complete nap time in my house.

Then I'd sew slowly and quietly on the machine while babies napped on the floor beside me. Eventually, I returned to hand stitching, it was must simpler and easier to stash away from inquiring little fingers.

The light denim in this top came from a pair of "Preggo Pants" that I made but it was a pair of overalls.

The orange corduroy came from a set of overalls that were given to one of our sons when they were just a wee one and didn't have any use.

The darker blue denim came from a pair of jeans that my husband wore out.

The green corduroy was a remnant found at a thrift store.

The rust corduroy is from another pair of pants I made after I started to get my figure back after pregnancies.

The cream colored border fabric was a new remnant fabric.

The fish appliques were the fabrics of my first ever purchase of a thing called a "Fat Quarter" and the backing was an emergency blanket from a garage sale. The sandwich was missing the batting. But the layers provided a really nice fluff and warmth to it. I did my first machine quilting on this blanket back in 1992. It was simple 'in the ditch' machine quilting that taught me that sewing a straight line inside the ditch is actually trickier that I first thought.

Strings come in many shapes and sizes. 

Happy Quilting everyone!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

QAYG String blocks

I have made QAYG Strings blocks for Jan Macfadyen of on a couple of occasions.  Over the past couple of days I have looked through the small stash of fabric that I have here in NZ and decided a lot of it has hung around too long - it needs to be used up! 

I cut all the scraps and unwanted pieces of fabric into strips of varying widths, de-boned one of my husband's shirts which had a worn collar, used bits of batting leftovers and created these blocks to send to Jan to augment her depleted stock of QAYG blocks.

The first two sets of blocks measure 10.5" square, the last set measures 12.5" square. These are the sizes Jan works with to create the many, many quilts she makes for charity.  At present she is making quilts for a Woman's Refuge.

Jan welcomes all sorts of donations: quilt tops, orphan blocks, fabric and batting (pieces or scraps), QAYG Strings blocks like the ones I have made.  All is explained on her blog, even how to use those small bits of leftover backing and putting them to good use.
Give it a go!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2016 January Blocks

HI!  I'm Myra from Busy Hands Quilts.  In an effort to use more of the stash in 2016, I'm participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2016.  I'm using a ton of 1930s 1.25" strips which I purchased off eBay over ten years ago.  I remember vividly that we were building our house when I bought ten pint size bags stuffed with 1930s strips.  They represent a tiny drop in the amount of fabric I bought that year due to stress.  These fabrics could potentially be 20-30 years old depending on how long the person before me had them; I've no way of really knowing.

January's blocks are blue, and there is lots of variety among the strips which is perfect for a string quilt.  My goal is to not use the same fabric twice in a block.  I'll end up with a rainbow of blocks by year's end, and I'll probably make transition blocks that are half of two colors to blend the movement between colors in the quilt.  I'm envisioning a barn raising pattern at this point.  I'm using 10" foundation paper with a thin layer of glue stick to hold the middle string in place, leftovers from this custom Thimbleberries string quilt I made in 2013.

I'm aiming for a large bed quilt 95" square for my bed.  We turned off the heater on our waterbed last spring and didn't notice a difference until this fall/winter when we've found we need more blankets than ever before.  The current count is 5, so I should use wool batting in this quilt!

After making 7 blocks this afternoon, I realize the bags of strips will make far more blocks than I need for my quilt.  I'm even wondering if I could make the whole bed quilt from blue alone since the 7 blocks didn't make a dent in the blue pile!   I'll make as many as I have time for each month and make a second {or third or fourth} quilt with the extra blocks.  

RSC 15

Friday, January 8, 2016

Hello, fellow string thing alongers!
A reader emailed me yesterday to join us here at this blog.
Now I can't find the email in my inbox or my deleted folder.

Please send me your message again
because we would love to have you.
My apologies for being a techno-idiot.

This photo is from two years ago,,
but I thought I'd include it to show the vertical variation
of Wanda's quilt below.

Keep stringing along!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Crooked strings........

I finished the binding on this quilt tonight.  I wash my batik fabrics (I don't wash any others) so that always makes a crooked end on them.  When I do the clean up cut it is generous (1" - 1.5") and that is what I used for this quilt and another similar one (see here).  This quilt is about 58" x 68.5".