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Thursday, February 18, 2021

String Quilts

Traditionally string quilts are pieced using a foundation of lightweight muslin or newspapers. In old quilts you often see the newspapers still inside. A string quilt uses long scraps of fabric. You can use scraps of any color or use coordinating colors for your quilt.

For my Quilts of Valor I use scraps of blue and red with a single white or tan fabric on the diagonal. I place the blue fabrics on one side of the diagonal and the red fabrics on the other side. This creates a look that is similar to the log cabin block. Where log cabin blocks have a light and a dark side, this block has a red and a blue side.

Watch this 8 minute video of Lenny and Laurel demonstrating this fast and easy technique.

For my first string quilt I used lightweight muslin that I had on hand for the foundation and this made the quilt a little heavier than I like. For the next quilt I decided to use newsprint for the foundation when I discovered StringAlongs, a new product from Black Cat Creations.

StringAlongs are packages of pre-cut newsprint ready for you to stitch. I used the package of 9″ x 9″ squares to piece an 8-1/2″ finished block. There are 100 sheets in a package and a free pattern is included.

If you want to place the diagonal strip in a more precise way, line up the 1″ mark of a ruler along the diagonal.

Mark a line along the edge of the ruler.

Now when you glue the diagonal fabric strip you will have a line to help positioning.

The pictures below show trimming the pieced block. A rotating cutting mat is great for this next step.

Turn the block over. Using the edge of the paper as your guide, trim the fabric from all 4 sides.
Now your block is complete. I like to leave the papers in when I piece the blocks together. I remove the papers after the top is complete.
A great way to save strips for string quilts is to use leftover fabric from other projects. Cut strips of various lengths from 1″ to 5″. The strips do not need to be the width of fabric to be used in a string quilt.

Happy quilting!


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