Thursday, July 22, 2010

Some Thoughts About String Piecing

Here is a little string doll quilt I made, looking at the label, in 2003. Our little group was on a quilt shop hop of our own, and I saw a quilt in a store in Ohio similar to this. When I returned home, I made one for myself straight away.

It was in one of the Guild shows later, and I remember the judges comment was that the strips of light were distracting and didn't complete the design, or something to that effect. Jeez! It wasn't made to be a showpiece, just a little doll quilt made in the spirit of quilting of old. Just one of my gripes about modern quilting.

This backing fabric is just lovely, imho. I have no remembrance of who manufactured it. It is nice to have a good sized piece for a backing so that I can look at the design. The label was cut from some yardage of images like this.

I am still plugging away at my string quilt. Here is my messy sewing area with boxes, and bags and basketsful of strings, and pieces too small to be called strings. Our friend Susan, who I have mentioned, calls this scrapnel.

When sewing the other day - a cool-enough-to-be-upstairs day, I was thinking about why it's so fun to make these quilts.
1. There is something in me that just wants to use the last bit of everything when it pertains to quilting. Little pieces in a quilt, of any size, just make me want to look at every square inch of that piece.
2. It is difficult to work on more than one project at a time because there is fabric everywhere. Maybe if there is more than one work station, but my room is pretty packed.
3. It is a great use for fabrics that are hard to use otherwise - the old VIP and Cranstons, and just plain weird prints. The weird ones are the ones that look the best, I think.
4. Lots of thread gets used. Having no history of home sewing, I wonder where the yellow and aqua threads came from. I know where they are now - in these blocks.
5. Speaking of thread, a downfall of this type of sewing is little threads that can get caught in your bobbin case. The little pieces are the culprit here.
6. String quilts have to be unique, by their nature. Even if a dozen of us were to make the same pattern, they would all have our signature look to them. As Gwen Marston says, "You can't even copy yourself!".
7. Very light fabrics can be hard to use in most reproduction quilts, but really sparkle in a string quilt. I was hesitant to use them, but Bonnie Hunter reassured me that they really are necessary, and she was right! The lights just dance around the blocks.
8. The ends of strip piecing are usable, at least in the string star, and look pretty cool, I think.
9. Just when you think you can't look at the same strings that you seem to grab again and again, you find a "new" one that you hadn't noticed before!
10. And, finally, people have given me their scraps because of my love of little pieces. They get incorporated into the blocks, and when I am sewing with them, I can remember who gave them to me. And, with my own fabric, I can remember many of the pieces and where, and when they were purchased. It's a trip down memory lane!


Lee Prairie Designs said...

Wonderful little quilts. They are so much fun to make. Thanks for sharing. I will visit you again soon, Carolyn from Des Moines, Iowa

Country Log Cabin Quilter said...

The doll quilt is lovely. I love strip quilts and am now finishing my first one. I plan to make many more.

YankeeQuilter said...

Shrapnel...I love that! Sort of goes with the "a fabric bomb exploded on my Dining Room table" excuse....

viridian said...

I do throw away my littlest pieces - b ut now you have shown me a way to use those, too!

Janet said...

I like your 10 reasons :0) You're right about the lights in your quilt - jugdes don't know everything.

Lori said...

I love the word scrapnel! It is perfect to describe all the funky fun strings!!
Sometimes I think judges look for something to complain about on a quilt. Your little quilt is adorable and perfect as it is!!!

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Barb said...

I love your little dolly quilt - it is very sweet and I actually like the sparkle of the light - judged - poo! that's what I say. They neither understand or appreciate doll or utility quilt or their inherent beauty.
Scrapnel - that's good!

Sharon said... the term. And that is what my sewing room looks like sometimes...but I do enjoy it! Love your little string quilt and I loved reading your reasons why you love to make these little string quilts.

Kathie said...

I really love your little quilt and that backing fabric is beautiful.
I may just have to whip one up too with all my little bits!
thanks for sharing!

Jane said...

Thanks for sharing the photo of your sewing space. I like it! I love the word scrapnel too. My sewing space is littered with it all the time!

Jane said...

Thanks for sharing the photo of your sewing space. I like it! I love the word scrapnel too. My sewing space is littered with it all the time!

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taylorsoutback said...

Love your little string doll quilt...and your color choices! Very sweet.
Have a good weekend.

Lisa said...

Your string quilt is lovely, inspirational. I completely understand and agree with your observations about thread colors, small pieces and how fun it is to get up close to a quilt with little pieces. I, too, can remember who gave me which piece of 'scrapnel' and where I bought the fabric. It *is* a trip down memory lane. Thanks for the pic of the old bag factory. We have not been to Goshen or Shipshe for a couple of years, that's where hub is from, and it's great to see pics. Got to get back there asap. Love to visit.