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.
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.
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.
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?)
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)
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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!