With the advent of modern quick piecing methods, it’s easy to assume we time-pressed quilters invented all of our time-saving, stash-busting options. When it comes to string quilts, though, quilters long gone by, regularly used the pattern. Let’s look at some old and new variations.
Here’s a current example of a lovely set of blocks in progress, “Red String Blocks,” being worked by Ann of the web site and blog, “FretNotYourself.” Ann shares her design considerations as she has made a bunch of string blocks from her stash and, in her post, is deciding how they should be placed. You’ll enjoy working through her thought process when you go to her post, by clicking here.
Bonnie Hunter is a great giver of gifts on her web site, Quiltville.com She features patterns, tutorials, quilters and their quilts while instructing us every step of the way. Marsha R’s “Scrap Boxes” quilt is a great teaching example for one method of making string quilts. Notice that the angle of the strips is set by the strip in the center of each block, which runs corner to corner. Remember the importance of the center strip in String Quilt blocks! Click here to follow along as Bonnie shares working a string quilt up from a box of scraps, to an eye catching beauty.
If you have the string quilt bug, already, “Strips & Strings,” by Evelyn Sloppy is one of the best books I’ve found for increasing skills in a clear, easy format. By clicking on the photo of the book, above, you can go to Amazon and learn more, using my affiliate link.
With this vintage string quilt, called, “String Squares,” by LauraFisherQuilts.com. we can see a different variation, as the center strip is not regular in width, but varies. As the blocks are aligned in straight sets, their center strips don’t have to match to form a secondary pattern. The strips can vary their width within the block and from block to block. It’s a happy, “free for all,” where everybody wins, with the ole’ stash box coming in first place. This quilt is for sale and can be seen on display in all of its glory here. Be sure to pack a lunch and set aside some time, because looking through Laura’s stock of antique quilts may distract you for a while.
In this string quilt, Tim Latimer shows us how he takes older quilt blocks, trues them to their pattern and refurbishes them. His melon pieces were string pieced many years ago. Watching him rework this quilt, “Melon Piecing,” is inspiration to try string piecing with other non-conventional shapes. Strips can be sewn to a backing, then most any shape cut out. Yes! The prospect opens up a whole new world. You can follow along with Tim by going to his web site, TimQuilts.com found here.
Tim continues to share his vintage quilt collection showing a Spider Web quilt he’s re-doing. While the quilt, seen in its entirety, seems to be made up of large hexagons, it is actually string pieced diamonds. Notice that the center strip is of an even width, all the way across, and it is exactly the same width on each diamond. The even width of the center strip is what makes this quilt pattern a Spider web, while the one shown below, on Barbara Brackman’s web site is known as a, “Victorian Puzzle.”
The “Victorian Puzzle,” block is made like the Spider Web, but the center strip varies in width from one side to the other. All of the diamond center strips, making up the hexagons, are carefully cut in the same way. The widths of the outer strips vary and are hit or miss, making for a scrappy look. The varying widths are anchored by the regularity of the repetitive, predictable center strip. Join Barbara as she discusses string quilt blocks cut in a diamond shape that form into hexagons by going here. The subtle variations possible, with just a bit of adjustment, make for vastly different overall effects, using the same skills.
Here’s a video that shows several different string quilt methods. Maybe you’ll be trying one for your next quilt!
Colleen Tauke, of Fons & Porter, demonstrates three different String Piecing patterns.
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