Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blueprints for String Quilts

Let's see. What project shall I work on today? I had several choices. As I was sifting thru my scrapboxes, I decided to begin another string quilt. I wanted some 'mindless, stress-free' sewing.  HA!

I had a small bundle of muslin to use as foundation. I cut that up into strips. It will make 40 blocks. I have a mundane sort of green fabric. I decided to use that up for the center strip and outline it with a narrow black frame.  This method of framing the string blocks with a narrow sashing strip was first used by Melva and shared on the HeartStrings group. I do not take credit for creating this design element. This post is for illustration only.

I had planned to make a 48- block quilt with a narrow border. As I was preparing the green strips, I discovered it will not yield 48 pieces. Now what?  Why not spend the day in EQ and find out what you can really do?  LOL

I can see this will be a recuring issue, so I made up some blueprints for my string blocks. I want to know how many blocks I need and what size I will get from each plan.

This is a string block drawn in a 4-patch setting. You can achieve a few different settings, depending on the orientation of the patch.  Here are 2 different orientations. The sample layouts which follow, are using the first layout.  The measurements in the layouts are based on a string block finishing at 9".

This is a really nice size for a baby quilt or wheelchair quilt. The basic block setting measures out at 36". You can decide your own border treatment to make it a size you need. This diagram finishes at 45x45.

This one has 24 blocks and works up to a nice lap size of 49 x 67

Here is a 48 block plan with a narrow border. I think a border contains the strings and gives a nice, finished look.  This plan incorporates the QAYG joining strips. It makes quilting and assembly a very easy process!

I'm pretty sure this is the layout I'll have to use this time. It is a nice, squared plan and "sofa sized". It has 36 string blocks. The black joining strips are the same size as the black in the accent frame.

What is your favorite blueprint? Please leave a comment for me.


  1. If I had to pick, I would pick the last one shown. Someday I'll have to try one of these.

  2. I think I like the 48 block layout. It's got more than enough room to snuggle in even if you're tall.
    I have a string quilt UFO that I can't bring myself to finish. I stitched it on muslin, but it seems so heavy I can't decide what to use for a batting and backing.

  3. I thought you said this was a 'mindless' sewing project - love you to death Kat! I'm with the 48 block - but I don't plan. Katie Q - if you put it on muslin you could just use a flannel back, no batt.

  4. I thought my first one heavy, too; but I live in the midwest. I used a foundation and I used warm & natural batting. Yes, as Sharon said, flannel would be a great substitute or maybe you like fleece.

  5. I like the QAYG sample. You could sash four blocks without doing QAYG. Saw a quilt with the narrow black strips done with fall colors. Center was a warm med brown. Fall colors are my fav.
    Paper foundation is what I used on my last string quilt so no worry about the finished quilt being heavy. Oh, and I am one that enjoys tearing paper off the finished block- LOL

  6. I like removing the paper while in front of the TV. I also do alot of paper piecing. I've sampled a set of xmas string blocks working on newsprint paper. After trying out the various methods, I still prefer using a fabric foundation. I would probably not always use such a heavy batting.


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