Tuesday 20 May 2014

String Quilt Tutorial

As promised here is a quick tutorial of how I used foundation paper piecing for this string quilt, it's really fast and easy....

All that's needed is a tub of string scraps and a telephone directory. String scraps are strips of scrap fabrics measuring 3/4 - 2 inches wide.....length can vary even pieces as short as 3 inches can be used up in this technique as long as your paper foundation is covered. 
In the UK we have these dinky telephone directories. The size is perfect for a 6 inch finished block.... I pull out a few pages in a wad and quickly cut of the glue residue from the edge with a rotary cutter and ruler and then trim to a square roughly 7 inches x 7 inches. You can if you think it necessary draw a diagonal line on each piece of paper however I don't.

From your tub of string scraps take a light and dark string, place right sides together and sew right on the diagonal line. For this quilt design a good contrast between the light and dark fabrics for the first two pieces really adds to the design.

It is necessary to press each piece as sewn so have your pressing station close to your sewing machine and press open.

Keep adding lighter coloured fabric to the light side of your square, they don't have to be in any particular order just as long as the colours are in the light to medium range. Make sure you cover the paper foundation and be sure to press open after each piece is added. 

Now pull darker strings from your tub and add to the darker side of the square, again no particular order as long as these strings are in the medium to dark colour range.

Once all of your paper is cover it will look like this from the back.....

I used a 6 1/2inch square up ruler and trimmed to 6 1/2 inches x 6 1/2 inches.

I made up 48 blocks and then removed the paper,  this paper is very easy to remove.

Then all that is necessary is to choose your layout. The contrast fabrics on the diagonal provide many opportunities for choice...

I chose a layout that gave a diagonal looking block design where the darker part of the blocks fell to the edge of the quilt and gave the impression of lighter blocks in the middle. I added a red border and quilted with an all over pantograph design by One Song Needle Arts called Chocolate Leaves.


  1. I've never thought to use the phone directories for string piecing! Guess I won't be tossing them in the bin right away next time. I love the way this one looks.

  2. Thank you Kay. I love the simplicity of this block and yet you have so many options when putting them together. Your quilt looks lovely. I shall put this quilt on my to do list...which is getting very long I might add.

  3. Thank you Kay, I have never pieced string quilts onto paper, but I may give this a try to see how I like it compared to sewing the strings onto cheap see thru muslin I buy at JoAnn Fabric for $1.00 a yard. It is so flimsy and seem pretty light weight on my string blocks. I make 10" blocks. But, I love your 6.5 inch blocks and your layouts of the blocks are beautiful!

  4. Thank you Kay for taking the time to make a very helpful tutorial!


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