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String Quilts


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String quilts are great for beginners and for scrappy quilters.


There are many ways to make a string quilt.  String quilts are made from blocks.  The blocks are made from strips of fabric.  You can make the strips the same width, or you can vary the width. 


Here are the basics.


1.  Most string quilts are made by sewing strips of fabric on a foundation piece of fabric.  Many vintage string quilts were made by sewing the fabric on newspaper.  Sometimes the paper was removed, and other times they left it in place.  I don't know if that was because the paper provided extra insulation or it was too difficult to remove. These days most quilters use pieces of muslin or another fabric for the foundation.


So the first step is deciding the size you want to make your block, and then adding 1/2 inch to the size of the cut foundation piece for the seams.


2.  Next you place your first strip vertically down the middle of the square, right side up.  You can put it a little to the left of right, but the reason you start in the center is so you can press the seams away from the center, and when you sew the blocks together, any seams that are touching will be going in opposite directions.


You can pin the first strip in place, or use a dab of blue to hold it there if you like. 


3.  Attach your second strip to one of the sides of the center strip, right sides together and sew your 1/4 inch seam.  Finger press, or use the iron, to get the seam out of the way, and then attach another strip to the other side of the center strip.  At this point you should press both seams away from the center, as you can see in the picture below at the far right.


steps to make a string pieced quilt block


steps to make a string pieced quilt block


steps to make a string pieced quilt block


Initial Strip on foundation piece   Joining of 2nd strip   Front of joined pieces



steps to make a string pieced quilt block   steps to make a string pieced quilt block
Joining of 3rd strip


  Front of joined pieces



4.  Repeat as above, until the foundation block is totally covered with fabric.


steps to make a string pieced quilt block

steps to make a string pieced quilt block



4th strip 5th and final strip


5.  Turn the block upside down and trim the fabric even with the edges of the foundation piece.



steps to make a string pieced quilt block

steps to make a string pieced quilt block



Back before trimming Completed block



You block is now complete.  When all your blocks are done, you can play with them, turning them in different directions until you like the design.


One way to give more unity to a string quilt is to make the first and final strip the same width.  Then, when the blocks are place together,  depending on your colors, you will either make hourglass blocks where they come together, or squares, if you have made those strips the same color.


Here is an example of how 4 of these blocks look placed in a quilt design.  When string quilts are made scrappy, they don't look this formal.


String Pieced Quilt made from one block.










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Color Basics 

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