String Quilts and “The Chieftan of the Puddin’ Race”
Posted 25 January 2010on:
What a fun day, at the Saturday workshop our Guild held. There were scrap strips flying and machines a whirring. Several times, participants commented on how quiet it was (no murmurming, no chatting).
Our instructor displayed several design options for us. They can be viewed at the guilds blog. So where does one begin? We were given a supply list, and were told to bring our strips.
After the presentation, and the wonderful variety of design options… how does one choose which way to go! Squares? Diagonals? Double Diagonal (Split Diagonal)? Rectangles? Diagonal Rectangle (4 blocks make a diamond)? Spider Web? X’s and O’s? Fans? Equilateral Triangles? I chose not to go the “easy” way. If I had, maybe I would have left with more than four blocks done… but that’s okay. I am sticking with my choice. I chose the Double Diagonal. If you select a design option that requires just straight stitching with all the strips going in the same direction, these options lend themselves to chain piecing, which will make things go a lot faster.
Now the next choice was colour. Now, you don’t have to have a colour option in mind, as I soon found out, I didn’t have a lot of certain colours. You could use all one colour, and select darks, lights and mediums. Make one block all darks, one all lights, and alternate, and rotate to give a really neat basket weave effect. The possibilities are endless! Okay… back to what I decided to do.
I chose two colour options… blue and yellow. I had brought all my strips with me… from 1″ right up to 6″. I only used up to the 3″ strips. (PAUSE: My mind is wandering all over the place here, so bear with me, I’ll eventually get on track. I’m getting excited about all the different options that are buzzing around in my head! But first things first, I need to get back on track and tell and show you what I did).
I didn’t have any old sheets laying about, so I had picked up some very inexpensive muslin. I first cut the muslin into squares of 9″. I started with just 4. To make things go smoother, I think I would have cut them all. Working at home, I will definitely cut them all up, and then they are ready. I prefer my cutting table, it does not cause any back pain, from being hunched over!
To begin the Double Diagonal, you need to draw a line from one corner to the other, and use this as a guide. You then start adding your strips. Strip 1 – wrong side to muslin. Strip 2, right side to right side of Strip 1. Stitch and finger press open. Oh Yeah! Remember I said no rules! No pressing with a hot iron required!
Click on the photo to read the descriptors.
This is another block with three strips added. You work from the centre… but not quite the centre, and move out towards one corner. Then you continue in the other direction from the centre piece. Over extend the end of your strips at least 1/4″ for when you add the second diagonal piecing.
I used the pencil line as a guide, but actually I ignored it. Some of my blue pieces did not quite reach over, so I lined up the yellow, allowing at least 1/4″ or so to the blue ends. Stitched. Trimmed to at least 1/4″… some of those pieces were long! Then pressed. I have to confess, I did press the yellow strip with an iron.
And more yellow strips (strings) being added.
Yellow strip added, right sides together, just before being stitched
It was much easier chain piecing the yellow strips. This part of the blocks went by much quicker.
You may recall, that I mentioned I cut the foundation fabric to be 9″. This is NOT the unfinished block size. Our Instructor suggested cutting the foundation piece a bit larger than your planned unfinished block size. I then trimmed to 8 ½”. What a difference trimming makes!
This is the four blocks completed, and laid out, with a yellow centre. If you look closely, you’ll notice that some of the strings are a bit “wonky”. You can precut your strips to be wedges, and stitched, or stitch them so they are a little off.
Isn’t it amazing how changing the orientation of the blocks, gives this quilt a different feel. Warm colours have a tendency to advance, or come towards you, while cool colours will recede, or move away from you.
I haven’t decided if I’m going to make pillows, or make a quilt from them. I do have 4 more blocks on the go, and will be using this quilt as a fill-in between finishing up some of my UFOs! Photos of the other participants will be posted on the Guild blog within the next few days. Be sure to check them out, for some other design and colour options!
And now for the remainder of my Saturday. The Robbie Burns dinner was a very neat affair. A beautiful Prime Rib dinner, with some haggis. What a tradition.
And that sums up my Saturday activities. I did try the Haggis, and unfortunately, there wasn’t enough gravy. I can’t say I liked it, but I can’t say I disliked it either. I found there was way too much Sage. But I’ll keep my options open.
OOOh… and today is Robbie Burn’s Birthday. I just remembered that!