My grandmother, Irene, at age 24

I blame my scrap quilting on my grandmother. I can’t help being scrappy – it’s genetic.

When my sisters and I were teen-agers, my grandmother presented us each with a 9-patch quilt made from the corduroy scraps of all the clothes she had made for us during our childhood. I loved that quilt to tatters.

But in my opinion, when it comes to scrap quilts, string quilts are the final word in scrappiness. This quilt – strings from strings – is the mother of all string quilts.

While making a few string quilts this summer, I accumulated quite a few small bits of cut-off strips. And, of course, I saved them….. because…. well…. maybe…. I’d find a way to use them….

And, of course, I did find a way to use them. I inserted those tiny strips into the centers of squares of leftover taupe fabrics. And it made me so happy!!

Here’s how I did it:

#1. I cut the taupe solids into 6” blocks and then made a diagonal free cut (no ruler).

#2. I laid the string sliver between the block to check length.

#3. I sewed the oversized string cut-off  (appr. 7”) to each side of the cut block and squared it up to 5 3/4.”

 

Oh my! I loved the effect of that little bit of assorted fabrics peeking out through the center. Of course, I had lots more tiny squares and rectangles to use as inserts but I decided there must be a faster way to make the inserts because even I did not want to make 64 (or more) one inch to one and a half inches of 7”strings of fabric!

One of my self-imposed rules of string quilts is that I rarely sew strips of fabric and cut them into strips  – I like to keep it scrappy and don’t like seeing a string of fabric obviously repeating itself throughout the quilt. However, with these small strips of strings I realized you didn’t notice if the string is the same because the size of each strip varied, keeping the strings from being the main focal point.

Instead I made string strips that were 3-6” wide and then cut them into 3-5 strips of varying widths. I cut more 6” squares in half, free form, and inserted the new strips. OMG! I loved seeing the variety in the widths of the strings playing with the slight variations of the taupe. In addition, the diagonal free cut gave the blocks a subtle movement.

This quilt came together in a frenzy of excited creativity. The taupe solids are such a perfect foil for the bright multi-hued prints – A straight man to the wild and crazy scraps. It’s now pinned and I’ve started handquilting it. It only needs a name – any suggestions?

 

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15 comments

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Fern this is so fabulous. I can’t wait to make one. I’m not quilting as much as my are taking jerry is taking up so much time. Taking one day at a time. Love your blog. Xo

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I think ‘scrappy’ is the perfect name 🙂 FABULOUS!!!

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Thanks. Bet some of those corduroy fabrics looked familar!

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I love seeing your corduroy quilt made by your grandmother. She was obviously doing her own thing, back in the day. You come from a long line of innovators! Your string quilt has the energy and life of the moment you made it. Your hand stitching will be make it even more special. Your grandmother would be proud.

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Thank you LeeAnn. That quilt holds a lot of memories. Some day I hope to finish restoring it.

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I love reading about your creative process and about your love for scrappy string quilts. I recognise your feelings and share your love totally. Have to start one again myself, just have to figure out what pattern to make. A good way is to just start sewing and see what happens.

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Thank you. I’m so glad you enjoy my posts – writing about it also helps me figure out how to teach it!

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I think your own description is a good call: Strings from Strings

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🙂 Sometimes the perfect name is there all along!

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I assumed it was called Waste Not… my grandmother lived close to a pajama factory. She got scraps for free and we had plenty of odd flannel quilts. Still makes me chuckle.

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Yes, those were the days people really did use scraps. We are truly spoiled (or blessed) with such an abundance of choices now.

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Love the use of different width strings and the shades of taupe in the quilt – lovely!

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Thank you Maureen

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love this! I’ve been sewing scraps to paper adding machine tape (tip from a guild member) and this is a perfect way to use the results. A bit more regimented than what you’ve been doing, but I will find a way to make it work.

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Hi Caroline – Glad it inspired you! I would love to see what you do with your strings!

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