I managed to learn a new technique and finish the string quilt I began back in June of 2010! Click the link to see some block layouts I tried.
The blocks stayed in a plastic tub on my shelf, because there was no recipient slated for it, and I didn’t have a deadline. I learned that about myself, I need a deadline. I saw this post on Margaret’s Hope Chest blog, and decided the string quilt can be finished and used for this purpose. Check it out, and see if you know anyone that can help out this great cause.
String quilt complete
I am not going to write out the tutorial for Quilt-as-you-go sashing, because so many others have done it. What I would do, though, is adjust what I did so that the sashing is a bit narrower. All my great corner fabrics were hidden! I used the same fabric for front and back sashing, and at the end of cutting the strips, I had a piece left that is 2″ by about 20″. Just enough!
As I was trying a layout, I wanted the heart shape, but wanted only 5 blocks wide instead of 6 as I tried a couple of years ago. I made it 4 blocks wide and cut blocks in half as a kind of self border. I’m very pleased with how it looks!
View of the lake on a snowy January day.
Since this is my view today, I think I’ll be sewing some more! Projects recently completed include doll clothes and wool mittens, but today I’m going to concentrate on fleece vests for myself.
I worked a bit yesterday and today on some string quilt blocks. I sewed some, organized the strips (as they had been pushed aside while I worked on other projects), and cut more strips.
I figured out a shortcut: I cut the strips very long, not to a certain length. I can use them for the center strip, then cut off the end and use the rest wherever it fits. Better than pre-cutting it, I think.
I felt I needed more variety in my fabrics so I set to work cutting more today. Now I have piles ready to go when I have a few minutes.
In thinking about the family’s grandchildren having babies, I’m reminded of some favorite quilts I’ve made in the past.
This quilt had a variety of patches sewn together, starting with a 4-patch center and some other combinations that I cannot remember after all this time. I believe I made this about 12 -13 years ago. This was before I had a rotary cutter and mat, and to cut a piece of fabric I measured and marked and cut with my scissors. I might be willing to try this quilt again, now that quilting science has advanced past the horse and buggy equivalent!
I very much enjoyed making this quilt! I took a whole cloth, added contrasting borders and appliqued satin stars and a moon. With the extra starry fabric, I made my favorite chubby floppy bear toy. This was given about 11 years ago.
Today I looked around my sewing room and saw the pile of old kitchen towels. I had purchased several new kitchen towels and decided to make the old ones into hanging hand towels for the kitchen.
I used 5 towels in all and made 4 hand towels. First, I used my serger to finish one towel into fourths. Then, I laid out the other towels, one at a time. I used my incredibly accurate eyeball estimator and pinched some pleats in the full towel at the center of the length, then pinned down the 1/4 towel with the right sides together on the back edge of the towel. I should have taken pictures of the process, but I didn’t, and it’s too late. Taking a short length of ribbon, I made a loop and sewed it all at once with a zigzag stitch, loop in the center of the stitching.
To make the front shaped edge, I took the two corners and folded them to where they would overlap in the center. I stitched them down with a short zigzag stitch at the center. I sewed a button for the loop to go around, and I was finished. I think all 4 towels took me about 30 minutes to create. I know it’s not elegant or glamorous, and I didn’t even finish all the edges or think about the back edge of the hanging part that can still be seen. I just wanted something functional from cast-offs.
I mentioned before that I don’t have a design wall. I do have a design floor. I placed the string blocks on the floor and went to the upstairs landing, where I could look down directly upon the layout. I did two variations and I like them both:
This is a basic diamond layout. I didn’t try to get fussy with colors or matching things up.
This is a heart-shaped layout. When I was looking down from the balcony, it wasn’t apparent unless I traced the lines with my eyes (or my finger in the air, like a little kid!) but in the photo the heart really shows up well.
I don’t have to commit to a layout just yet, so I put the blocks away and cut more strings and batting squares. Day 15 of my 50-day challenge.
Day 14, moving right along….
I used my square-up ruler for the first time today. I guess I understand Eleanor Burns a little better now, the way she says her blocks are oversize and she just uses the square-up ruler to make them right. I started with the pile of blocks I had complete, 18, and made them square. Once I started sewing with the batting, that drew up the block so it was no longer 7 x 7. I thought I was making them 6.5 x 6.5, but I forgot that the ruler has an extra 1/4″ to the edge. Oh well, no reason not to have 6.75 inch square blocks!
As I was working, I started to see I was choosing green fabrics for the first three on a block. I continued, and this is the result. I really like it!
I don’t have a design wall as many quilters do. I don’t really have a wall I can get up close to. For now I make do with my ironing board. I laid out a few blocks when I was done sewing for the day, 36 blocks in all, and if I make a diamond pattern I get this:
Today I worked until I ran out of batting blocks that were cut. I noticed I was seeing all the same fabrics again and again (again) so at least one day is going to be spent finding small pieces for unique fabric strings, and cutting batting blocks.
I love it when I have a new project to work on, and I get excited about working on it. Once I get into it, it becomes just another quilt in progress for me, but this summer is supposed to change all that.
I got into an easy rhythm of laying down strings, pinning them, making a pile of 3-6 blocks to work on at once, then moving to my sewing machine. I worked until I realized I was seeing the same fabrics over and over again. I knew I would have to begin cutting some more, but I also had only a few batting blocks made. I kept working until I ran out of batting.
These are rough still, not squared up and still looks like just a pile of fabric pieces.
I was interrupted again in my work, to go with my husband to look at a camping trailer to buy. It turned out to need far too much repair, so we came back home. I didn’t get to work on the sewing again Sunday evening (Day 12).
Today, Day 13, I concentrated on cutting more batting blocks, cutting more fabric scrap strings, and started putting a few more together. Again, interrupted. We have a new boat, motor and trailer, and we have to go to the license bureau to take care of paperwork. Ah. Normal life gets in the way, no wonder I have many quilts in progress!
Today I decided to start on a string quilt. I had it in my mind to use up some scraps and stash by doing one. I found some different ideas for quilt-as-you-go and how to bind the blocks, but for now I’ll just start with the blocks.
I cut white cotton into 7″ squares. I don’t know why I chose that number, but it’ll do. When I had a stack of them, I started on the scraps of batting. I had to zigzag to sew pieces together and cut them into 7″ squares as well.
Then I was all set to begin sewing, but I decided I needed my scraps organized at least a little bit. I cut them into roughly 1 1/2″ widths, and the longest ones are suitable for the center of the block, point to point. I got further into my tubs of fabric and even found some more dark and light blue that I set aside for the Mystery Quilt I’m doing in blues. So, after a great session of cutting strips, I have this to show for it:
If you have sharp eyes and remember a previous post, you’ll see a concentration of blue in the top of the photo. Yes, those are the rectangles of incorrect size that I cut for the mystery quilt, only to find out I could not use them. Viola, I can use them here!
By the way, I’m keeping track, and this is Day 11 of my 50-day challenge.