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. 



Robin said...

This is wonderful! You have been so busy and so persistent. I'm impressed. How long did it take to do all this? AND, did you empty all your boxes? Where did you find your kaleidoscope ruler? Can't wait to see this all come together.

cityquilter grace said...

loved seeing transformation from scraps to blocks!

Julierose said...

Hoely Moley--my brain is in a whirl after reading this!! Talk about being able to multi-task--you are the queen for sure...:)))
can't wait to see the next group of "string" quilts!! Hugs, julierose

Joyce Carter said...

WOW! That was so amazing how you made all your pieces for different quilts. I love string quilts and I am looking forward to seeing yours.

Linda said...

Good heavens, how do you keep all these ideas from swirling together into one big mess? You have an amazing amount of patience to think these processes out and to cut, sew and press all those long strings!

Cathy said...

You’ve sure got a great system for strings! I don’t let mine accumulate, but maybe I should!! I’ve been wanting to do that Crossed string quilt for a couple years now, and 2022 may be the year. I also like that string quilt from Crazy Mom (bookmarked it) because I’m overflowing with low volume scraps and strings. You’ve made my brain nearly explode from all the ideas!

The Joyful Quilter said...

Wow!! That's QUITE the production line you had there. Nothing going to waste, that's for sure!

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

So Impressive!! and what a buck of colorful awesome quilts will come from this!!!!

gayle said...

Wow! I mean really WOW!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Oh, Cathy - you have done it again. Blown me away, that is. I have been trimming WOF strings from every piece of yardage I've touched as I've cut pieces/parts for projects and the lined drawstring bags. So far they are sorted low volume (lights) and darks and I had already planned Crazy Mom's June QAL for the light ones (great minds obviously think alike - but I am SURE your version will be even scrappier than mine). I admired Maureen's vertically pieced strings in her kaleidoscope quilt last year but hesitated - now I know I need to listen to that intuition since you are already on a roll with your version. HOORAY for blogging and how we inspire/validate each other's efforts!

Janie said...

Thanks for sharing your process! Simple but amazingly effective!
Have a great day!

Ann said...

What a treat to read today's post. I enjoyed discovering how your fabric leads you to choose blocks and how you prep so many at one time. Now I want to try that kaleidoscope, too.

mangozz said...

You are so organized! I could accomplish a lot more too if I could just get my ducks in a row.

Betty Anne said...

You are so efficient! I am wondering what the Crazy Mom block is?