Hello! Last week I posted an article on how to trim and match points on string quilts, and in particular how to do this on a pattern I wrote earlier this year called the “Let’s Mingle” Quilt. There are lots of varieties of string blocks out there, and I’ve pinned quite a few on my Pinterest Board if you’d like to take a peek. Today I thought I would share a technique for how to make a string quilt block that is really simple and is a perfect introduction to foundation or paper-piecing.
It’s one of those rainy days with gentle rumbles of thunder here in northeastern Oklahoma, the kind of day I like to just linger by the window with my coffee. Hopefully, you’re having one of those kinds of days, too, and you can sit back and absorb this little tutorial. Several times on this blog I’ve mentioned my friend, Emma, who first introduced me to quilting. Today just happens to be her birthday, and thinking of her made me remember the time she showed me this technique.
Shortly after Emma had thoroughly infected me with the quilting bug, I asked her what she did with her scraps. That day, she showed me several ways to use “strings” of fabrics in quilts to use up leftover scraps from other projects. What follows below is the technique she showed me to make a string quilt block, with a few modifications that I made after playing with the concept.
But first, the legal stuff:
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And now back to the show. You will need to gather a few supplies.
These instructions will make an 8″ finished quilt block:
One of the things I love about string quilts is the total randomness of the blocks and the colors, but you can get some interesting effects with just a little planning. What I like about this particular String Quilt Method is that it brings a little cohesiveness to the design. Earlier, I said that I would explain the need to use the same fabric for all of your 2.5″ strips that go along the diagonal. In the examples that follow, you will see the effect brought out by those wider strips when the blocks are put together.
Below are a couple of examples to show you the variety of effects that can be achieved.
First, here is a block with random colors except white is always used for the 2.5″ center strip.
One cool thing to do is to use more darkly saturated colors one side of the block and light/low-volume strips on the other side. Below, I used that scheme, except I plopped a dark gray at the corner of my light side.
Grouped together, here is how that looks:
So, play around with the concept and see what kind of beauty you can create. As a bonus for all of you who stuck with me to the end of this postl, I have a free gift for you. Click here to view the String Quilt Block entry in the Quilt Block Library, where you can download a String Quilt Coloring Sheet that you can use to plan your next String Quilt Project!
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