Designer Sharon Tucker offers these suggestions for fun and efficient string piecing.

String piecing (also sometimes called improvisational piecing) involves sewing fabric strips together. The strips, or "strings", can be any color combination, from scrappy to graduated color families. The strips do not need to be a uniform width, which makes it a great technique for using scraps!

1. Before trimming each strip unit, spritz it with spray starch, press it again, and let it cool on the pressing table before handling it.

2. To prevent distortion, press and trim small (8"-8-1/2" long) string units. If you try to sew an 18"- or 20"-long unit, then press and trim it, you can easily warp it and it will not be straight.

3. Randomly grab pieces and sew them together with little regard to color. Once you join a stack of strips, you may decide you need more or less of a color. If so, add or remove the color from the next batch of strips you join or use that color when joining strips. I like to start and/or end my string strips with a slightly wider strip. This reduces bulk in the seam corners.

4. To create truly random string sets, you need to sew individual strips together. Do not sew 21"- or 42"-long strip sets, then cut them into units.

5. To build up a stash of string-pieced units, keep a pile of string pieces by your sewing machine and sew them together at the beginning or end of a seam when making blocks for other quilts.