String Piecing and Improvisation
I’m getting things ready for a String Piecing Quilt Retreat next week in Arapahoe, Nebraska. I decided to make a few more samples because you can never have too much inspiration.
String piecing is generally done on a foundation. The “string” name came about when people used their narrowest strips of leftovers—so narrow they could be thought of as strings. The charm in these quilts comes from using many, many different fabrics. Variety is what counts. A relaxed, easy attitude is essential!
I made step-by-step samples to show how this pinwheel block is made. I think it would make a great Quilt of Valor. When the retreat is over, I’ll post a step-by-step tutorial for this block.
The beauty is that since it reads as half light and half dark, you can set it any number of ways, just as you’d set Log Cabin blocks. Think Barn Raising, Straight Furrows and Streak of Lightning.
Today was the first time I’d made rectangular string blocks. There is enormous potential here! I put in anything and everything, but you could limit your palette for a completely different effect. I needed to work quickly so my strips are fairly wide, but narrower strips would be dynamite! This is a 16″ block, so you’d get a big quilt pretty quickly.
I ran across this image of a string selvage block. So much fun to make! It’s part of a quilt I designed and made called MerryJoyCheer. It’s not as fluorescent as it looks below. The selvage block is toward the bottom right.
This whole quilt was improvisational, which just means that I made it up as I went. It’s a joyous, exhilarating, challenging and happy way to work.
Then because I had lots of bits and strips pressed and taunting me, I grabbed the pansy print above and pieced an improvisational Log Cabin of sorts around it. This kind of sewing is addictive.
This Ohio Star is made with string piecing.
I used lights and mediums for this block. Wouldn’t a whole quilt be amazing? Like something you’d sleep under at your grandma’s house.
I used a limited palette of reproductions for these string pieced fans. The cheddar corners are a happy accent.
I don’t know if I can resist making more of these modified Log Cabins with very narrow strings. Can you imagine a bed-size quilt in these? Over the top.
Fourteen brave souls signed up for the retreat next week, Sept. 24 to 27! One lady broke her arm and had to cancel, so if you want some last-minute adventure, you’re welcome to join us. Call Wagner’s Quilts & Conversation at 308 962 8458 to register.
Tags: quilt retreat, scrap quilts, stash sewing, string piecing, wagner's quilts
Your quilts are awesome. Thanks for sharing them.
Thank you kindly, Matti!
Love these blocks, especially the Oho Star — wow! I think the retreat would be a lot of fun, if only it were closer…….
Love the Log Cabin blocks.
Congrats on your adventure. You are such an inspiration.
I’m organizing 9 months worth of scraps right now and thankfully you’ve given me loads of ideas of how to use them since if I don’t make quilts from them soon, I’m going to have to move in order to store all the scraps. Thanks for the inspirations. Once they are done I will share pictures.
Diane Paul, I’m so glad to hear you’ll be using your scraps! You made me LOL this morning. Can’t wait to see your pictures!
Timely inspiration! My string drawer is full, and I was just trying to think of what I could do with them.
What isn t there to love about a patriotic quilt? Dawn s Early Light was first a block for one of the Quiltmaker Magazine 100 blocks by 100 designers issues, and I knew right away that I wanted to play with this in big quilt size. This quilt is S crap User s System friendly, and use of my Essential Triangle Tool will have you making those triangles quickly and easily as always my neutral stash knows no bounds, and I threw in everything but perhaps the most fun I had with this quilt was designing the border.