Wednesday, May 27, 2015

rain, rain, go away...

I shouldn't complain, based on what is going on in the rest of the country.  Hope all of you in Texas and Oklahoma are safe.  But I'm going into the City tomorrow and would prefer not to use my umbrella. 

Today, I did not put one toe out of the house  aifter I retrieved the newspapers from the driveway.  I sewed.  

String squares: the original paper piecing.
A friend of my mother's showed me how to sew strings to newspaper squares a full decade before I made my first quilt. She was not a quilter - just had a lot of sraps and was making summer coverlets. I thought it was fun, but I was newly married and forgot about string quilts  for about 40 years.  Then I discovered that they made fun baby quilts -- and made some for gifts. Then, forgot about them again when my kids' friends took a break from having babies.

 A week or two ago, too tired to think, but needing to sew, I cut a bunch of squares from a junk mail prospectus (phone books or newspapers are good, too), threw a pile of strips into a trash basket, and went to work. These were single strips of all lengths and widths.
But I also have a ton of already-sewn-together leftover free-form therapy strips.
I set my machine stitch at 1.5 because it's easier to rip the paper off when you have small stitches.  I assume that every quilter on the planet has made a string quilt at some point because they are so basic.  But just in case you haven't, here's my process.

1.  Lay two strips down and sew them to the paper.

 2. Flip the top one so it's face-up.  Then flip down the rest of the triangle so it is out of the way.
 3.  This is what it looks like on the back with the corner flipped out of the way.  Now just ignore it and keep adding strips to the strips.

4. Add a few more and flipped the triangle back up for a minute, just to see what length the next strip needs to be. They get shorter as you go along -- no need to waste long ones as you get closer to the top of the triangle!
 5. Almost there - then do the same on the other side. The center strip is anchored, so you can flip back the paper and just add strips.  Saves a lot of grief when its time to take the paper off.
6.  This is what it looks like when the whole square is covered.
 7.Now turn it over and trim off the overhanging pieces, using the paper as your template.
 See? This has only one or two seam lines going through the paper, so it's easy to remove.
 Because the stitches are so small, it rips away easily.
Done!  Now, on to the next one.
I have four more string squares to make and then I can cut them all to the same (more or less) size, put 'em together and go from there.  But I'm done for tonight, so these four will have to wait till I get back from the city tomorrow.


Eva said...

What a clever method! Thank you for sharing!

Judy Sall Fiber Art said...

Wow! No, I have never made a string quilt, but based on your description I am definitely going to give this a try. How cool! Hope you have clear skies today...

Kat Scott said...

Have been working on a string quilt, but do dread tearing all of the papers... Great idea! I love the look and the therapeutic nature of string quilts.

Kaja said...

I too have never made a string quilt, though I do have a big pile of strips. Clever idea just to stitch through the first pair.

Martha Ginn said...

What a light-bulb moment--only sewing the center strips to the paper and then using it for a guide for the rest, without stitching through the paper. Because I hate the paper ripping part, I usually use something like muslin for backing so I can leave it in.

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