My scrap stash is getting bigger and bigger these days so I’ve been looking for fun ways to use up my bits of precious prints and sassy solids. I’ve got quite a lot of strips and squares of fabric, so I think string quilting just might be the ticket!
String piecing is a fantastic way to use up the long, skinny pieces of fabric you might have left over from trimming blocks, backing, or even as excess binding. Lynn Harris teaches us how to use string quilting to make a pieced block in the pages of her book Every Last Piece.
How to String Piece a Quilt Block
1. Cut a larger scrap so its a bit longer than the template you are using.
2. Use scissors to divide that piece into more manageable string pieces. A block with a few wide strips will have a chunky look. A block with more narrow strips will have a more directional feel to it. I like working with strings that are cut about 1″–2″ wide.
3. From your pile of scraps, choose 2 fabric strips that are at least as long as the template you are using and sew them together.
4. When sewing the strips together, sew them so the top strip is at a slight angle to the bottom strip, as shown. Sew with the ¼” seam from the edge of the top fabric with the bottom fabric sticking out. Trim the bottom fabric seam allowance to ¼” to match the top fabric. Starch and press.
5. Choose another strip to add to the pieced unit.
6. It is a good idea to alternate or vary the angle at which the strips are added. This time, the bottom fabric sticks out more at the starting edge of the stitching line. Trim the seam allowance, starch, and press after each addition.
7. Keep adding strips until the unit is larger than the template on all sides. Pay attention to the seam line markings on the ruler when you get to the last piece. Don’t make your last strip too narrow or the seam from the string piecing will be in the way when you are sewing the blocks together.
8. Trim the finished block to the size of your square template.
I like the idea of string piecing blocks as a way to keep my fabric scrap stash from becoming too large. Plus, once I have enough blocks accumulated I’ll be able to create a wonderfully improvisational quilt using string piecing.
If you’re a scrap fabric addict like me, you won’t want to miss Bonnie Hunters Scrap Quilts online course. Register for your seat today to get expert instruction from Bonnie plus projects and ideas to help you create one-of-a-kind quits from your fabric scraps.