Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine (String) Blocks for February!

Hello KC Scrappy Bee-ers!

I am so excited to be your Queen Bee for February! When deciding on the block for my month, I had so many ideas flying through my head that it was hard to decide.  Finally it came down to this...I want to make a quilt that will be a keepsake, using a block construction that is fun and simple and one that eats up scraps.  I have always loved quilts made with String Blocks so...that's what we're making!

Elizabeth Hartman has this block in her Practical Guide to Patchwork book - the quilt is called Valentine. Film in The Fridge has an excellent String Quilt Block Paper Pieced method tutorial here.  I'll share some basic information in this blog post, but FITF's tutorial is a great reference!

In your kit, you'll receive four 11 inch squares of paper, four 1 1/2 x 16" strips of Kona Snow, one 2 1/2 x ? rectangle of Kona Snow a few scraps (some trimmed, some not).  There are diagonal lines drawn on the paper to help line up the center strip of Kona Snow.  I used a few dabs from a washable glue stick to hold the strip in place - please don't go overboard with the glue or I won't be able to peel the paper off!

Gather your scraps and trim them into strings with widths varying from 1 to 2 1/2 inches and length from 3 to 16 inches.  Place the string on top of the Center Strip, right sides together and matching raw edges.  Stitch through both layers of fabric and the paper foundation.  VERY IMPORTANT TO REDUCE YOUR STITCH LENGTH!!!  This is important when it comes time to peel paper off the back of the block.  I set my stitch length to 1.2 and it worked great.

Press the strip open, and repeat adding strips until the entire square of paper is covered.
Working outward from center (both sides, then press)

Some time-saving tips that worked for me:
- prep a big pile of strips with varying colors and intensities of shades
 - once the first two strips were sewn to either side of the center, sew both the right and left strips before pressing.
- set up a pressing station near your sewing machine to save you time
- use assembly line sewing if making multiple blocks.
Pressing Station
Soon, you'll have your entire block covered!

Turn it over, and trim the fabric so that it is even with the paper foundation.

and voila!  You are done.  Please do NOT peel the paper off - I'll do that when I'm ready to assemble the blocks.
Finished block...lousy lighting!

Now...what to do with that rectangle?  I'm asking everyone to make a label.  Select a favorite fabric strip that appears in your string block - one from your own scrap stash - and sew a border around the rectangle (using a strip between 1 and 2 inches wide).  Sign your name and date with a Micron Pen - either on the vertical or the horizontal.  I'll use these labels on the backing and I'll be able to trace your block in the future!  

Some final details:

Read the tutorial


Use any fabric scraps you like...batiks, novelty fabrics, solids...the scrappier the better.  I just ask for a  balanced distribution of colors and shades.

I have provided paper and center strips for four blocks but do not - by any means - feel obligated to make four.  I found that this was such a fun block to make you might want to just keep going! ;-)  Please do return any materials that you don't use.

I know that we typically turn in our blocks the following month, but feel free to keep them until our April meeting.  I've got plenty on my plate to keep me busy in the mean time!

If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an e-mail:


1 comment:

ScrappyStuff said...

LOL. MA I was looking over the note you stuck in w/your supplies ~
Maybe i'm slow - but i just noticed your 'Freudian slip' ...
"Hesitate to contact me if you have questions" !!!

Thanks for the chocolate ;0) ... digging through my stash ...
~ t.