Friday, February 11, 2011

Stringing You Along


Good day to everyone. Thanks to Madame Samm for the invitation to come back and post again. I really enjoyed my last visit here with all of you and I hope you like what I want to talk about again today. I'm Pam (Mama Spark) of Mama Spark's World and today I want to share with you one of my favorite techniques for using up some of your scraps.

If you are like many of us you have left over bits of binding, or those strips you cut when you square up your fabric or just little bits and bobs from some of your projects. I think mine are secretly multiplying in my scrap bins! I was first introduced to string piecing right after I got into quilting and I LOVE it. I have since designed several awesome quilts using strings. Today I will show you how I string piece. This project comes from the blog of Mary Johnson and the link to the full pattern for it is here. They used it for the logo for the Heartsrings project. The logo was designed by Forest Jane. You may want to take some time and explore their blogs as there is a lot of good information there! OK, with all the credits out of the way on to the actual making of the blocks.

To make the Heart quilt you see above you will need to make 22 blocks with red centers and 26 blocks with blue centers. I chose the heart design as it is close to Valentines day. The first thing you need is fabric to use as foundation, like a cheap muslin or some other fabric you may have in your stash that you no longer like, which is always a good way to use some of the old, cheap fabrics up right? You will cut your muslin into 10.5" squares, and cut 48 for this quilt. Next you will need to find some 2-2.5" red (or read as red) and blue (or read as blue) strips. These strips will need to be the length of your diagonal. That is the largest piece you will need the rest of the strips only need to be long enough to cover the section next to the first strip. For this quilt I used many different colored strings. This is a good way to use up some "ugly" fabrics too, because when they are all put together, the end result is beautiful!

Lay your red string, diagonally across the muslin with the wrong side of the red fabric facing the muslin. Try to center the string so that the points of the muslin square are approximately in the center of the strip (you can tell best from the back) Next take another string of a different color and lay that string on top of the red one right sides together, like this, lining the raw edges of the 2 strings up with each other.
first sewn line
Then you will sew along the edge to secure both fabrics to the muslin. You can pin at this point if you like but I don't usually do that as you will be squaring it up later.
sew right sides together
The next step is to flip the piece you just sewed open and to press it. I like to keep a pressing stick by me so I don't need to keep getting up and down and I also like to do more than one block at a time so I can chain piece.
open and pressPressing stick 3
Continue to add pieces in this way until the first half of the block is completely covered with strings. I like to make sure I have different sizes to add interest and I usually try to have at least 5 or more strings on each half. It just makes the whole block so much more outstanding and interesting. Do not fasch over what fabrics to use or what goes with what just pick and if it is long enough to use, use it! Trust me it will not matter in the end.

I was making one block so I could show you how I do it and I hate wasting my thread. Thread is expensive, right? I know many of you use "thread bunnies" to start and end projects so you waste less of it but once I learned from Bonnie Hunter about Leaders and Enders, there was no going back for me! If you already know about this just skip ahead as I am on a detour here! Let me explain the concept for those of you that are not familiar. I have a second project cut (again a great way to use scraps cuz' Bonnie has TONS of great free L/E projects) and I will show you what I mean now.

I had a lot of green and blue squares left over from a quilt I had made. I found a pattern that was perfect for them and since it did not require anything other than sewing them together randomly it was perfect for a L/E project. I grabbed 2 squares, one blue, one green and sewed them together (my Leader). Now I grabbed my string pieced block (my primary project) and sewed my next string onto my muslin like this. (See the "leader" right in front of the string block?)
Leader

leader followed by block


See that first pair there just in front of the string block? Now once I was done sewing my string onto my muslin I took another blue and green pair and sewed them together after the string block (my Ender). Never breaking the thread, thus saving oodles of thread!! (wish it was my original idea, sigh)
Ender

Now, wait for it...the previous Ender becomes the new Leader!! You just do this every time you are sewing and guess what?? You end up with a second quilt finished in no time!! How cool is that??!! Two projects for the time of one, amazing!!

On to finish the string block. Continue to add strings to the other side in the same way you did it to the first side until the block in completely covered. This is what the front and back look like untrimmed.
Finished and untrimmed, front

Finished but untrimmed from the back


(Pay no attention to that line on the back, I just grabbed the first piece of muslin I had and it happened to have a line on it, you will not see the back when the quilt is finished)
You will now be trimming your block to 9.5 inches. I used my 9.5"ruler and lined up the diagonal center line with the center of the red string to get my placement in the right area. Then make your cut.
Trim to 9.5"

First side trimed

Continue until you have all 4 sides cut ( a turning mat is a BIG help here too). Here is the front and the back all trimmed up and ready to use in the quilt.
final trimmingBack all trimmed up
So if you do this and follow the pattern you will make a quilt with 2 hearts inside it like this,

Because you trim all your blocks it makes putting this together a dream!


You could also use string piecing for leader/ender projects! I Thought I would show you my finished L/E block too, just in case you were curious.
L & E block finished
I used the pattern, Between Friends which was a free pattern from Darlene at Quilting Daze.

I thought I would share a few other string projects I have made that I designed. The possibilities are endless!! I hope you have fun with this and get creative using your strings too.



This one was designed by Mary Johnson and I modified it a little and made it for a friend that was injured in the Afghanistan war.
Matt's Quilt 02
Lest you think that you can only make BIG quilts here are 2 mug rugs I did using strings, just pieced together, no foundation. I blogged about how I did this on my blog, but here are the photos of the mug rugs.
Completed Mug RugFinished owl mug rug front
If you decide to use your strings to make something I would love to see what you make! Thanks for taking the time to read my post and I would love to have you come and visit my blog!!
"GIVEAWAY"
I have a little something to giveaway over there too so I really hope you stop by. " What is it?" I hear you asking. I have been saving my scraps from these 2 mug rugs just for you. I have part of a charm pack of Giddy and tons of little blue and green scraps.
You will need to leave a comment here telling me you are a follower of Stash Manicure. In your comment please tell me if you have ever done string piecing and what you like about it. You need to go to my blog and become a follower (please tell me you are) and let me know what you thought about this tutorial. That's it one comment here and one on my blog!

Have fun string piecing. It is a great way to play with your stash, and revisit favorite old projects too!!







106 comments:

  1. follower: I've never string pieced, but it's on my to-do list!

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  2. I have only made two string pieced pinwheels as part of the soscrappy monochromatic scrap challenge. I hope to make at least one each month which means I better get busy with one for this month!

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  3. I'm a follower of both blogs. I would like to make a mug rug or a table topper.

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  4. I've been a closet stringer for awhile. I Love the quilts you chose to show today! great job,lovely mug rugs too! cw

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  5. I have oodles of muslin just waiting for this!

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  6. I'm a follower of Stash - you wet my appetite when this popped out early with blogger hick-up. LOL! I string piece, but on paper. I should start using the light weight muslin to eliminate that paper removal. I make lots of blocks - multi, color theme, brights or juvinile. Some times they are cut diagonal and paired as is or with a solid, or just layed out on the floor and played with. Thank you for posting about leader/enders - great extra project evolves effortlessly. Enjoyed your visit.

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  7. I'm a follower of both blogs and I love this idea! Especially the heart - looks great. Also, I would use your scraps to make the green Dresden plate for my wedding quilt :) And probably a mug rug. I don't have a lot of green, so it would be a great addition to my scrap box.

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  8. Awesome job on your tutorial! I don't string piece yet but, between your blog and Bonnie's, I sure want to get started ... adding it to my "gotta get to that" list :) I follow your blog and I follow this blog. Thank you so much for your inspiring post!

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  9. Hi Pam, Really enjoyed your blog , great tutorial. I've just finished a quilt top using string blocks for the first time. It was SO much fun and I can't wait to do it again. I love the string heart quilt!

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  10. Hello Pam... Great tutorial and the heart string quilt is fabulous. Thanks for sharing with us! I am off to visit your blog!

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  11. Love the string quilts, it is on my to do list. I am a follower!! Great tutorial, thank you.

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  12. Great tutorial! I've never string pieced but I'm going to now!
    I follow Madame Samm!

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  13. I'm a stash follower! I have never done any string piecing, but it's on my "to do" list. Love what you have done with the star and letter M quilts especially. Very inspired!

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  14. Follower. I wrote in your blog about my WISP project with strings.

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  15. I'm a follower of yours and now a follower of hers! I've been collecting to make my first string quilt!

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  16. I am akeen follower of Stash Manicure,read it every day. The strings tutorial was really good,easy to understand.

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  17. I am a follower here! No I have never tried string quilting! Looks like fun though!

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  18. I loved your tutorial and the pictures of the quilts really were inspirational. Thanks!

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  19. Good Morning Pam. Finally some good use for all of the square rulers I just had to have.lol And to think I finally have enough scraps that I actually can attempt a string quilt. For the longest time I heard this term, (string quilt) but had no idea what it really meant, and certainly did not want to ask...gee, I should have known right lol...Ahhh a link to Darlenes' cool...I made her a whole tut once when she asked me about how I did an applique, took me a whole morning to do for her, I think this string quilt would be a perfect fit to share very soon... with what I did for her. I am positive she never shared it, sew perfect timing. Your string quilt, Darlene's tut and my project...Team work...Ohhhh and you know I love those birds...and owl..string quilting..who would have guessed at the possibilities...

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  20. I'm a follower of Stash Manicure and love your string block tutorial! I also love your mug rugs and am going to HAVE to try the machine applique on my next mug rug...

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  21. I string piece without foundation and it works just fine. I just sew up seams to the size I might need by eyeballing the square template, and when done, iron all the seams open and cut it out with the square ruler. Bingo...done!

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  22. Loved the Tut and I am a follower of Madame Samm. I introduced string piecing to our guild's (Mid-Del Stitchin' Sisters Quilt Guild In OK) Charity Program to use up our scraps. The "matchy,matchy" ladies couldn't get the hang of putting just any colors together. Finally they started having a contest to put the ugliest colors together saying, "Oh, Mary Ann will REALLY like that one!!" And guess what? We produce some really beautiful string quilts!.

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  23. Wow, I have string quilted before, but never thought of the stars. Love the M quilt too. How cute are the mug rugs! You are such an inspiration!

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  24. I love the string piecing - love to make some pillows with them! Thanks!
    I follow here and at MamaSparks!

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  25. Love the string pics!! Especially that owl!!

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  26. I'm a follower of both blogs, and love your string designs. I think I would make a wall hanging similar to your heart...it's beautiful and would cheer up my sewing room.

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  27. Wonderful! I think these would be nice with decorative stitches on top of them too, and then it would look a little like a not so crazy, crazy quilt.

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  28. I'm a follower of Stash Manicure, and I really love your string designs! Such a creative way to use them....

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  29. Love the tut for string piecing. Being a follower is one perk for this blog. The other is way cool posts!!

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  30. Of course I'm a Stash follower! Who isn't?? How could you start your day without a Stash *fix*?? I REALLY want to do a string quilt and your tut was easy enough for even ME to understand! That is a Miracle, believe me it is!! I now know who made one of the mug rugs for the contest...I loved the owl but never dreamed it was string pieced. Who knew?
    Off to visit you
    Blessings
    Gmama Jane

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  31. Follower of Stash Manicure and I have never done a string quilt, but I may just have to now instead of the postage one I have been cutting strips for!! You have me convinced;)

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  32. I am a follower. I JUST finished a queen size string quilt. I love it and plan to make many more. I do agree that I think my strips multiply in my basket. :) I want to start to get into the habit of making leaders and enders. Love this idea, but have to get myself organized to remember to get into the habit of making the leaders and enders.

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  33. I am a follower and have always wanted to do a string quilt. Lord knows I have enough scraps to make many,many, many quilts. I also need to start doing the leader and enders things. So many good ideas in your post. Thanks.

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  34. I am a follower of Stash Manicure. I am in the process of finishing the RRCB from quiltville and that was my first string piecing ever. I now have a bin for strings to start another one. Love having a purpose for all the left over fabric I cut. Loved all your quilts.

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  35. I am a follower of both your blog and Stash Manicure. I have started a string project but have put it away for a while. I piece on the batting so that when I am done I have a complete block for quilting-as-yo-go.

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  36. Love the hearts quilt but I would to know of theres any info on the M quilt I have someone special that would love thisM quilt in there M Den. How cool would that be.

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  37. Wow the hearts are wonderful. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  38. I am not 'into' string quilts, but I want to tell you your string stars are lovely!!

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  39. I just finished my first project that includes string blocks -- it's Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery, Roll Roll Cotton Boll. The string blocks were fun and fast, especially when I string pieced 4 or 5 at a time! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  40. Oops, forgot to say I'm a follower of Stash and soon, of you too!

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  41. What a great tutorial! I've done the string piecing with and without paper, but never used muslin. Thinking I need to use it since I really hate tearing away the paper! Better yet, I do have some ugly, what was I thinking, fabric. Now I can use it up! Thanks so much!!

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  42. I am a follower of stash manicure and we have had the pleasure of having Mary from Heartstings at our guild. Off to your blog:)

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  43. Fabulous tutorial and thank you so much for the shout out about my silly pattern, Between Friends.

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  44. I'm a follower. I love string piecing too. It is so relaxing and takes your mind places. I've meade several string quilts. I usually lay my blocks upside down when I trim them, it is easier to see where to cut that way.

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  45. I am a regular follower of Stash Manicure. Thanks for the tuturial. I need to make a few string hearts for Block Lotto and have never created anything string so this was a huge help.

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  46. Hey Pam...great Tutorial! I've done a lot of string blocks. They are a great way of de-stashing strings.

    Your string-heart is georgous. I remember when you were putting that together!

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  47. I am a follower of both blogs. I ahven't string pieced before but think I will try it now. I love the quilts you did.

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  48. I’ve never string pieced, but after sewing a bargello quilt, I have a gazillion strips to use up. I hope to fit string piecing in soon!

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  49. think i would make a sting mug rug great tutorial

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  50. I just love your tutorial. I have never made a string quilt, but have done little projects with strings. I am definitely a follower at Sew we quilt @ Stash Manicure. Love this blog. Thanks for the wonderful post. Hugs Ariane

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  51. Great tutorial and great reminder to use up those strings. I've made several string quilts but never thought of using the same color in a block to make one like your blue and gold - now that's stunning! blessings, marlene

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  52. I have never done string quilting and really love the creative designs one can do with them. I am a follower of your blog and love it. Thanks for sharing your great ideas.

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  53. Thanks for the tutorial. I have a bag of Martinique scraps that are in the pink, red and cream family that would work great for a heart shaped string quilt.
    Added this blog to Google Reader as well.

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  54. What a great way to lay out the string blocks. I can't wait to get some made up and see what I can come up with. Wonderful post.

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  55. I am a follower! I am saving a bunch of strips from my quilts to use in a string quilt. Thanks for the tutorial!

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  56. Hi Pam, I loved being stringed ("strung"?) along! I really like the way the hearts in your first quilt echo around the center heart. When I want to get my hands in the fabric but don't want to think about what I'm doing, string blocks are the perfect solution ... it's like a "mind-candy" sort of thing. The other ones are gorgeous, I want to try a controlled color in my next totally string project. Thanks for a great tutorial!

    Linda

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  57. i'm Madame's follower of course, never miss a post! :), never done string piecing, but it's on my to-do list for sure. Love yr post!

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  58. I am a follower of Sew We Quilt! I have done stringing and what I love is that you don't have to be exact with your piecing of the strings and it still comes out gorgeous. I'm SO not a perfectionist and this gets me in trouble with 'traditional' quilt blocks. ;)

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  59. I too love string quilts and Mary's patterns are great to follow.

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  60. I love strings except pulling em off black pants. I follow both blogs

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  61. I'm a follower of both blogs as MarciaW
    I would use these fabrics to make my first mug rug. I've made one strippy quilt (as you go) using Bonnie's and psiquilt's directions (sort of) I would make another one sometime as it was fun - I used paper but muslin might be easier. alternate email mlwright29 (at)hotmail (dot) com

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  62. I'm a follower. Your quilts are beautiful. I haven't used this method of quilting but am now anxious to try it. Your tut made it look very easy. Thanks for sharing.

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  63. I am a follower here. I have made one string block. I loved it. I loved the freedon of it. My pieces had already been cut all I had to do was grab and sew. Thank you for your post.

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  64. I am a follower of the wonderful Mama Spark! I tried my first bit of string piecing back in the fall with left over table runner strips. I really like the look you achieve with so many different prints jammed up together.

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  65. I've never string-pieced, but we had a program aat our local quild about it. I would love to try it. I also like Bonnie Hunter's Leaders and Enders. I'm working on getting in the habit of doing that as well. I really enjoyed your post, it was very informative.

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  66. Dang clever! I've never made a string quilt but I'm fascinated by them and just might have to give one a try! I love the heart design - Ca-Ute! I'm a follower of Stash - now I'm off to follow you!

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  67. String quilts are my all time favorite. I'm working on one now. Thank you for posting here.

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  68. I am a beginner and am fascinated with how you use up the smallest pieces of leftovers. I have three bags working, large scraps, small scraps and selveges. Am bookmarking this as a way to use some of those. Thanks for the great ideas - love the hearts!

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  69. I'm following along here and I've never made a string quilt (I don't really have strippy scraps..more like odd pieces that lend themselves to crumb quilts more than strippy ones!). I love how you turned your string blocks into larger motifs when you pieced them together - that's really cool. The star is amazing!!

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  70. Ah ha a light bulb just went on of what to do with the rest of the strings I have left over from the king size quilt I made for my son after earning his masters at Boston U. I love the star idea as well as a couple of other ways to use colors in string quilting. Thanks for the ideas, love what you have done.

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  71. I've made two string quilts. Your tutorial reminded me to get back to it. They are so much fun.

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  72. My mom taught me to string piece as a kid. We used newspaper as our pattern, and tore it off when we finished. We really made a lot of quilt tops from literally strings - much smaller than what you used. This brings back memories.
    I would love to make my grands some lap quilts. I've enjoyed making the mug rugs too!

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  73. I am a follower of Stash Manicure, and no I have never done string piecing, but you definitely made it look easy and something I am going to try once my scraps get built up enough. There are so many possibilities just from looking at the pics you posted along with the tutorial! Thanks for the great post!

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  74. I love to string quilt but never have made the amazing things you did! beautiful! thank you for sharing.

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  75. Beautiful quilts. Love all the colors. I follow Stash Manicure and enjoyed your post. You gave me a great idea for a section of writing in one of my novels.

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  76. I am a follow now! So glad I stumbled across your blog. I just started my first string block. I am using pink and purple scraps to make a baby blanket.

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  77. Great tutorial will be making one of these!

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  78. I have been a follower of Stash Manicure for a long time. Loved the tutorial and hope to make one of these someday. I also follow Mary's blog, so I get to see all of her string quilts as well. Love your creative options!

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  79. I just recently started getting updates from Stash Manicure and am enjoying the exposure to so many blogs and such creativity!I am inspired to try a string quilt now.

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  80. I appreciate how people share their ideas with others...it helps me so much. Your mug rugs were so cute...I follow both sites and enjoy them a lot. Thanks

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  81. Very good this technique, I can use to advantage my remnants. Its blog is pretty. Congratulations Marlene from Brazil

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  82. I'm a follower of both your blog and stash manicure. Thanks so much for the great tutorial and the chance to win.

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  83. Love your tutorial, I would never have imagined the ways Mary used her strings, she's very inspirational. I've only done one string attempt years ago, this makes me want to do more. I am a follower of Stash manicure.

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  84. I am a follower here as well as at your place. I have made string quilts before...two graduation quilts for my daughter and her best friend (which I've shared pictures a few places on line), and coincedentally, I am a member of the blocklotto blogspot and for the month of Feb, we are making heart string blocks. Already got mine done...(I'm Shelley on that blog).

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  85. So fabulous! Thanks for sharing these clever ideas!

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  86. I just became a follower on Stash Manicure--this is my first time here! And no, I've never done strip piecing. I'd love to win your giveaway.

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  87. I am a follower on Stash Manicure. I have done some strip piecing/strings, and I really like it.

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  88. I am a follower on here and also over at Mama Sparks! I have not tried this process before but I am still building up my scraps since I cleaned them all out before our move 3 years ago. But once I have enough to get started I would love to try this.

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  89. Hi! I am a follower of Stash Manicure. I have made string quilt blocks...but I haven't made them into a quilt yet.

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  90. I just became a follower even tho I check your site almost daily. I've done a few string quilts. I love them. So easy and quick. You can have a top done in no time at all.


    uschbear at gmail dot com

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  91. I JUST LOVE the string quilts!! I have NEVER done one, but it is sure on my list! GREAT IDEAS!! Nanner

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  92. I never done a string quilt but it's a great idea and so effective. I'm a follower of Stash Manicure.

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  93. I have done several string quilts. I love string blocks because they are so easy but there are so many fun ways to use them. I have used them with kids form 4th grade up through high school, to help them practice using a sewing machine.
    I am a follower of Stash Manicure.

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  94. I am a follower of Stash Manicure. I am so addicted to string quilts. They make such great charity quilts and they are sturdy being sewn to a foundation. I am just finishing one using dryer sheets and when sewn together they make a diamond. There are endless variations to make. Thanks for you great tutorial.

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  95. Great tutorial....I love this technique and I like that it is mindless.....just can't get used to doing the leader and ender quilt at the same. I worked on my red and blue one for Charles last year at this time. Took my machine and all my scrapes to Hersey PA. Your Jack-in-the-box is too cute:)

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  96. Excellent Post! I can't wait to make a string quilt. Thank you for your post.

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  97. Your HeartStrings quilt turned out great!

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  98. I'm a follower of Stash Manicure. Enjoyed your post. I wasn't completely sure exactly how to string piece so this was very helpful to me. Thanks!

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  99. Thanks for the great tute! I've never string pieced but love the effect! I never thought to use old fabric for the foundation, I don't know why but I thought it had to be white or muslin. I'm a follower of stash manicure!

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  100. I'm a follower.

    Great tutorial! I love to make string quilts. I recently made 36 string blocks for a swap. Once I receive all the blocks back I will be donating them to Heartstrings. My next strings will be for QOV.

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  101. I follow stash manicure. I haven't ever done string quilts before, but I want to try it out! :)

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  102. I'm a follower of Stash Manicure and a new quilter. I thing I can manage the string thing!

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  103. I follow the stash manicure blog and have done a little strip piecing.

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  104. I love to make string quilts, but your string quilts are so much prettier. Love the heart string quilt!

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  105. thanks for the tutorial. Just finished some coasters- scrappy and no binding!- and working on some "Springy" place mats! Great way to use scraps to make room for more!

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