I told you all that Kelli and her kiddos were at my house and Kelli and I were trying to get some pieces sewn together for an upcoming deadline quilt we have that will be published with American Patchwork and Quilting. It happens to be a string quilt that we are both really excited about.
Being Kelli has the kids it’s not often that we get to sew together anymore…and honestly, this time wasn’t really sewing together as we took turns sewing and ironing as we had to be careful with the kids and the equipment. It was progress though and someday the kids will get a little older and we’ll be in a better place to sew together again.
Kelli and the kids left. I left the mess for a day then decided it was time to clean things up out of the dining room and wrestle the machine back up to the sewing room. I decided while it was out to finish the remaining pieces we needed. It gave me a little time to think…
As you can guess from the picture below, our project needs string pieces. As I was sewing I was thinking back to the first time I ever did string piecing…
To be honest, I thought what a stupid thing to do…cut all this fabric apart to sew it back together. Weird…but that was what the designer called for so I did it. At the time, I didn’t save strings and didn’t have a string box.
The quilt I was working on was Roll, Roll Cotton Boll. It was the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt in 2011. Oh, did I ever moan when it was time to make the string pieces. I was actually a little frustrated because they were introduced later in the mystery. Had I known at the time they were coming, I’ll be honest, I might not have made the quilt.
But after it was finished, I was in love. I love that I was able to use up and sneak in some undesirable fabric. I loved that the strings made the quilt look more interesting. I loved the movement the string pieces gave to the quilt.
At this point. I was hooked. At the time, there was still one thing I didn’t like. I cut up perfectly good fabric to make strings.
You can read all about my quilt HERE.
That all changed though. I started rethinking my scrap storage and purposely started collecting strings.
Nowadays I don’t cut up perfectly good fabric for strings unless it’s an ugly one I am culling from my collection. I save anything that is smaller than 1 1/2″ and throw it in my string bucket. Sometimes larger pieces make it in. Binding leftovers are cut in half and thrown in. Scraps from blog readers and thrown in. Leftover odds and ends that I don’t feel like trimming down get thrown in.
I’ve actually evolved into having several string/scrap bins.
I have two for dark colors like you see in the tote above.
I have two with bright colors…
I have one for batiks.
There is one for recycled shirt fabrics too.
I try and try to whittle them down with the hope of only having one tote for brights and reproduction fabric but try as I might, it never works.
I like to keep them all separated by color this way. It saves time when I’m piecing to not have to dig through the colors that won’t work in the project I’m stitching.
After Roll, Roll Cotton Boll, I had become head over heels in love with string piecing. My next project was Orca Bay. Again, it was a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt. The blue pieces in this were string pieced.
You can imagine my delight when… Bonnie Hunter released her book String Fling. You can find it HERE on Amazon.
I went on and made every quilt in the book. You can read the blog post I did when I showcased every quilt from the book HERE. For now, I thought I’d show you a couple of my favorites…Blue Skies…
I made this one after buying a big box of brown and neutral calico prints at a garage sale for $1. I went on and later gifted this one to the granddaughter of the lady whose sale I bought the box from. I’d love to remake this one.
My Pineapple Crazy quilt was in the book too but this one really isn’t string pieced. It’s paper pieced.
Santa Fe String Star
I could easily make another of this too. Oh, I love this quilt.
This was all done in Fall colors. It’s so pretty for Fall.
Daylilies (More about the quilt HERE) was the quilt from the book I was least excited to make. It required applique and I’m not an applique gal but I was so close to making every quilt in the book so I just did it. This one was in batiks. So fun.
In the end, I loved it! It was worth stepping out of my comfort zone to complete. I sewed all of the string pieces on my treadle sewing machine. So FUN!!
You can see that my first experience with strings back when I made Roll Roll Cotton Boll, really made me turn a page and embrace a new to me quilting technic.
I’ve embraced it so much that even now as I’m designing my own quilts, I often design them with strings.
Here is my Stained Glass quilt that will be featured in Quilter’s World in an upcoming 2023 issue.
…and now, we have the new quilt we are working on that will be out in a 2023 issue of American Patchwork and quilting.
I just love string piecing.
To date, I’ve made two Geese on String quilts from the book…a purple version…
…and a pink version. These were gifted to my childcare kiddos.
I also made this cutie.
I would love to get back to this book and make the rest of the quilts in it but for now, I’m saying no. I still want to get my UFOs under control and my sewing room back in shape…plus I have my own designing to do. It’s always something but you can bet that I still take the book to bed at night and page through dreaming about the someday quilts I’d love to make with more strings.
…and that is the diary of a string quilter.
How about you? Are you a string quilter? I’d love to hear.