Each month, learn a fun trick or tip to make your quilting easier and more polished!
The rules for string piecing are simple–there are no rules! So give this technique a try. It’s the perfect way to use up your scraps while enjoying the freedom of piecing without perfection.
1. Position a strip diagonally across center of a muslin foundation square. (Note: foundation square should be 1/4″ larger on all sides than finished block.) Pin in place.
2. From an assorted print scrap, cut a strip that is at least as long as first strip.
3. Place print strip right side down on first strip; align a pair of long edges. Sew through all layers with a 1⁄4″ seam allowance.
4. Press print strip open.
5. Roughly trim print strip about 1/2″ beyond muslin foundation (Photo D).
6. Cut a third print strip that is at least as long as the long raw edge of the first print strip. Repeat steps 3–5 to add third print strip to foundation.
7. Continue in same manner, covering each half of foundation square with print strips; skew strips in opposite directions so interesting angles are created.
8. Trim foundation to desired square including seam allowances to complete a string block.
I’ve discovered another reason why I love pulling from my stash: I change my mind. Using scraps and collected fat quarters from over the years makes me feel less guilty when I make a block and then decide not to use it. And it allows me the freedom to experiment with colors and sew some sample blocks without wasting my money.
If you read my first blog on making Tula Pink‘s City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks, you’ll know why pulling from my stash became especially important. (Read my first blog here.) I started this quilt thinking that I would replicate the colors Tula used in her blocks. I started with reds and pinks and was planning the design of what would eventually become a rainbow-inspired quilt.
After a few weeks of making blocks, I realized that rainbow would not match my home decor OR my own aesthetic. Although I love the look of rainbow, I’m much more drawn to creams, blues, and greens. And after a quick look through my stash, it was clear that those colors were ones that I had been collecting more than others. I “scrapped” the blocks I’d already made and started over.
My new quilt (at least that’s the plan now!), will have two brown rows on the outside, will move through greens, teals, light blues, and end with a dark blue row in the middle.
Block numbers 13, 2, 10:
Follow our blog to watch my progress! And follow us on Instagram at @allpeoplequilt to see weekly pics of the blocks I’m making.
Buy Tula’s book here and play along with us!
Once a month, we highlight our favorite free quilt and sewing patterns around the web!
Circle Tree Quilt by Gayle Schliemann for Bernina
Combine a classic holiday shape with a modern design. Bright circles arranged in a Christmas tree shape pop off the white background in a quilt that will deck your hall (and wall)! Plus, the shapes are so simple, that it’s a perfect quilt to practice your machine applique on!
One way to take your holiday table from blah to fabulous is with some handmade napkin rings. They add color to your table, are a festive embellishment, and show your guests you went an extra step to host a great party! These napkin rings are durable AND washable. Plus, the hook-and-eye closure allows them to have a reversible design, so you can use them for multiple occasions!
Use favorite scraps of Christmas fabric to make a holiday pillow using this seasons’ hottest shape–the hexagon! A red rickrack ruffle around the pillow adds a whimsical touch. This is a great project to practice your ruler and piecing skills without a big investment in fabric.
Sewing Patterns Wreath from Dritz
Take handmade holiday to a new level with a wreath made from old sewing patterns! A simple foam base wrapped in burlap gets transformed with paper pattern flowers. Embellish with some leftover supplies like buttons and decorative-head pins for a great door decoration that shows off your love of sewing!
Every month, we highlight a trend in quilting and show you how you can add this hip style to your projects!
Quilts should be the shining star of your decor! And we’re seeing a lot of flash in new fabric lines. Metallic fabrics and metallic floss are perfect for adding sparkle to your projects. Whether it’s adding some merry and bright glitz to a holiday or winter quilt or highlighting colors and designs with a little sheen, these fabrics are sure to add some glimmer. See how to add this hot trend to your quilting.
Metallic fabric for your shopping list:
- Stonehenge Starry Night collection by Deborah Edwards for Northcott (top left)
- Glitz collection from Michael Miller Fabrics (top right)
- Holiday Classics collection by Kenisington Studio for Quilting Treasures (middle left)
- Oriental collection by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics (middle right)
- Shimmer Mist collection from Timeless Treasures Fabrics (bottom left)
- Confetti Sparkle from Dear Stella (bottom right)
And now that you have the inspiration, browse our collection of free quilt patterns that feature sparkle! See them here.
I’ve always been a fan of Tula Pink! And after reading the profile we published about her in American Patchwork & Quilting October 2013 (buy the issue here), I was both inspired and curious of her design process. Her new book City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks seemed to be the perfect introduction to her design process, but also a way for me to expand my own skills and creativity.
The book features blocks inspired by traditional work sewn together in a sampler quilt. The blocks, numbered 1–100, are organized into section by the simple shape they use to make up a more intricate design, such as rectangles or triangles. Tula also shows sketches of her quilt block designs, so you can see her use of color and prints in each block. As a beginning quilter, I’m so excited to use this book as a way to experiment with different shapes, as well as see how color and fabric can combine to form something beautiful.
I have an ulterior motive for starting Tula’s 100 block quilt, too. I’ve developed quite the fabric stash over the years and it’s starting to get out of hand. My taste in fabrics has changed, and I want to start a new stash with more recent fabrics. This 100 block challenge gives me the opportunity to clean house. Since there are so many blocks, I can use scraps of fabric I’ve been saving for too long. Even if it’s a fabric I’m not completely in love with, I can still say that it’s only one fabric from the hundreds I plan to use in my quilt. Plus, it’s so easy to just remake a block if it doesn’t turn out the way I expect.
Since Tula already did the work of choosing colors for each block, I’m sticking to her choices. I love the look of rainbows and look forward to showcasing a spectrum of colors and prints in my final quilt. I’ve dug through my stash and pulled out all my reds and pinks. I’ll be starting with those blocks. Here are my first three. Although these are three very different colors of reds, I plan on finding colors to bridge the gaps between them to form a nice flow of reds.
Block numbers 23, 56, 94:
Follow our blog to watch my progress! And follow us on Instagram at @allpeoplequilt to see (almost) daily pics of the blocks I’m making.
Buy Tula’s book here and play along with us!