Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Crossed - A New String Top!


57 x 76

This is the second top to come out of this year's box of strings.  

The first top, in case you missed it, was a String Star. 

When I have a big box of strings I start making tops that will use the longest strings and then I gradually make tops that use shorter and shorter strings. 

Really, anything goes when I make a string top. Most of these pieces are from quilt back trimmings or yardage ends. All colors, all widths mix and mingle and work together.  Diversity. 

Actually this is a lot like how I made quilts when I first started out. In the old days which were my younger days I never knew people actually bought fabric just to make quilts. I made clothes or curtains or pillowcases when I bought fabric. Then leftover scraps or old clothes went into making a quilt. I still have one of those old quilts I made in the 70s and one of my sisters has one as well. And I have the shirt I made of one of the fabrics to match! 

And on to the next! I wonder how many more string quilts are in that box of strings.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Monday Musings

Autumn is the time when I start collecting seeds to sow next year. It is also a time to put this year's gardens to bed and a time when dreams of spring gardens begin. 

And there are still time to stop and smell the roses now that the deer, rabbits and Japanese beetles have let them be. 

I think I'm supposed to pinch out my mums earlier in the year so they make a nice mound. I have two different plants of them and every year they are full of blooms but they flop over. 

Monkshood is in bloom. 

This year I staked them otherwise they, too, would flop over. The stems are about 5 feet tall. They do well in a very shady area. I've had these for many years. They used to have blue flowers and more flowers on each stem. They have changed as they have aged. 

Some Cosmos are still blooming. I save the seeds from year to year and some years I buy seeds of a new variety. If I remember correctly this variety is called Bright Lights. I had a couple of mutant plants that came from my saved seeds. The plants looked kind of like a cross between a Cosmos and a Marigold, they grew taller than the rest of the Cosmos of the same variety and they were multibranched with smaller flowers. 

I'm still enjoying the Zinnias...

...and I've been gathering Zinnia seeds...

...to sow next year. Like the Cosmos I sometimes buy a new variety to add to my saved seeds. 

I was surprised to see the Gaillardia blooming. It's a perennial I started from seed this year so it will be back again next year. 

This is my little patch of Foxglove seedlings. When my Foxglove set seed this year I sprinkled the seeds that are like dust in August in another part of the cottage garden. It is a biennial so I am hoping that next year I will have lots of Foxglove blooms. 

Earlier in the year I cleared out brambles and honeysuckle and lots of weeds from an area I want to make a cutting garden next year. Part of the area was shaded by Boxelder and Locust trees so hubby and I decided it would be a good idea to cut down four trees in that area. Clearing all the brush away ended up to be a lot of work but I needed the exercise and I think I will be glad we did it come spring. 

I used the big pieces of wood to outline paths and beds in the new cutting garden area. 

Hubby surprised me with a bunch (90) of tulip bulbs with names like Brownie, Grand Perfection, Orange Princess and Sugar Crystal. So next year this space in the cutting garden should be full of tulip blooms. I started preparing the bed and hope to get the bulbs planted soon. That is part of my Sweet Pea trellis in the background. 

I have several large brush piles and as time permits I usually end up cutting the limbs into smaller pieces to use on garden paths. And sometimes I don't go near the brush piles because I find furry critters nesting in there. Eeeeeeeek!

I also cleared more space in the Wildflower garden that I started this year. A few months ago this area was filled with wild black raspberry brambles, locust tree seedlings that sprouted anew, and poke weed. I have been hoeing it every few weeks since then to keep it weed free. But every weed seed that sprouts now will be one less weed seed that sprouts next year. Right now it is full of bindweed seedlings. Yucky stuff! After a hard freeze I will fill this area with some wildflower seeds that need cold stratification. So watch this space next year for some more wildflowers! 

I hope to have some string quilt tops to show you soon! For now I'm enjoying the nice weather outside. I still have to help hubby clean up the veggie garden and turn the compost piles. 


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

What's In A Box of Strings?

In Cathy's world strings are a natural occurrence. I don't cut into yardage to make strings. If I cut yardage I call those strips. Strings come from quilt back trimmings, or wonky yardage ends or yardage ends that are usually less than 1.5 inches. I keep selvages separate from strings but I do consider selvages strings.

I keep a box for strings under my cutting table. When it gets full I start another one. Well, I had several boxes of strings so decided to put all of them except for some light ones in one big box. The box height is 16 inches, the length is 19 inches and the width is 13 inches. 
The strings are fluffed up and not smashed down and the box is FULL. I was not going to deal with the strings until next year but that box sure takes up a lot of space so I started on them this year instead. 

Inside that box there is also a bag of black strings I separated out when I made Let's Party blocks last year. 

I am going to keep novelties in a separate bag for a string quilt for kids.

I have already separated out dark strings from the big box and I made a String Star top a few days ago. 

I blogged at the beginning of the month about making that String Star as well as a Kaleidoscope Quilt.

Now in addition to the Kaleidoscope Quilt I will make another Crossed Quilt. 

The Kaleidoscope Quilt will be made of 10 inch blocks with wedges cut with a Kaleidoscope ruler. I would like 48 blocks. That means I need 192 string wedges and 192 wedges of the red fabric I am using as the background.  

The Crossed Quilt takes 10 x5 pieces and 6 x 5 string pieces -- 48 of each for 48 blocks. 

So I got started on both quilts at the same time. I grabbed a bunch of strings...

...to make string fabric. I separated out the novelties and the really skinny strings went into the gardening bag to use as garden ties.  I first cut strings 22 inches long -- that will give me made fabric for cutting 10 inch pieces for Crossed as well as two 5.5 inch strips to use to cut wedges for the Kaleidoscope quilt.  No sense in sorting strings again and again...might as well use all of the strip if I can. 

After I cut 22 inch lengths from the strings if I could I cut...

...12 inch pieces which when sewn together into a big piece of fabric can be subcut into 6 inch strip for Crossed Quilt as well as a 5.5 inch strip for Kaleidoscope wedges.  And then, guess what! ...there were still some length left on some of those long strings so I cut 5 inch lengths for a string quilt I saw at Crazy Mom Quilts. 

So on and on it went...sort and cut...

...sort and cut...

....sort nd cut...

...until I had several stacks of different lengths of strings. 

I didn't cut the final round for Crazy Mom strings at 5 inches  because I was not sure if I would need those for the Crossed or Kaleidoscope Quilts so I will cut those later after I have all the pieces I need for Crossed and Kaleidoscope Quilts. 

I sewed together all of the 22 inch lengths of strings along the long edge until I had several long lengths of fabric. One was 56 inches long and the other was 76 inches long. 

I ironed all seams in one direction then trimmed up one edge and cut off a 10 inch strip and then two 5.5 inch strips. 

I then cut the 10 inch piece into 5 inch width pieces for the Crossed Quilt. I ended up with 32 - 5 x 10 inch pieces for the Crossed Quilt and need 48 pieces. 

I used a Kaleidoscope ruler and cut wedges from the 5.5 inch pieces. 

I ended up with 112 wedges and need 192. 

Then I sewed the 12 inch lengths of strings together for one big piece of fabric and then 

...trimmed that piece of fabric off and cut off a 6 inch strip and a 5.5 inch strip. The six inch strip was subcut into 5 inch widths for the Crossed Quilt and I ended up with 30 out of the target of 48 pieces for Crossed. 

I cut more wedges from that 5.5 inch piece that came off the 12 inch piece. I ended up with a total of 178 wedges. Only 14 more to go!

So then I cut 6 inch lengths of strings and made a width of fabric I thought should be enough for 14 more wedges. I ironed, trimmed it up, then cut wedges. 

I now have more than enough string wedges for my Kaleidoscope Quilt. Next I will cut the background red wedges and I'm thinking I will use blue and yellow scraps for the Kaleidoscope block corners. 

After that I finished up 16 more 10 x 5 pieces for the Crossed Quilt so I don't need any more of those. 

Now I only need 18 more 5 x 6 inch pieces for Crossed and I will have all the strings I need for the Kaleidoscope Quilt and the Crossed Quilt.   Then I will probably make the String Quilt with novelties because that will take some longer strings. After that I will probably finish cutting and making all the pieces I need for Crazy Mom string quilt. Then I wonder what will be left in that box. 


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Eclectic Flower Garden

Eclectic Flower Garden
It's a top!
54 x 72

Last year I made string blocks for a couple of different quilts - Let's Party and Crossed.  After I made those blocks I was left with a lot of short skinny strings. 

I first saw these blocks at Den syende himmel and thought they would be a good use for my short and skinny strings.  For the backgrounds I cut 5 inch squares from an eclectic mix of florals.  For the black corners I used waste triangles. 

Actually some of the florals were kind of ugly. And some have polyester in them. A few are a dotted swiss print and a few are upholstery/heavier fabrics.  So...eclectic. 

I finished all 192 of the blocks back in March and put them into my Some Assembly Required (SAR) box. 

My October One Monthly Goal (OMG) was to assemble at least one top from the SAR box.  I like to get my goals out of the way as soon as I can so this one is "at least one top" assembled.