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.
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.
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.