I save all fabric that is 1 inch square. Quilt fabric is expensive y’all! At some point though I have to deal with all those fabric scraps. When they get to be too much I just make a string quilt block! They are so versatile and use up those fabric scraps quickly!
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Storing Fabric Scraps For String Quilt Blocks
I have a complete post about how to store fabric but for my string fabric I use a set of these plastic boxes. When all three are full it’s time to start making up string quilt blocks. Sometimes it feels like I’m making string blocks every month and other times it feels like I have made them in ages.
Supplies Needed For A String Quilt Block
There aren’t a lot of supplies that you need to make string blocks. You need your fabric scraps and some sort of thin paper. I still have a stack of phonebooks that I’m going through, my mom used newspaper, and you can purchase paper. You can use a dry iron, just shut the steam off, or you can use a seam roller. I prefer using a seam roller just because I can use it right at my sewing table.
String Piecing Method
There really are no rules for making string blocks. That’s what I like about them. You can sort your strings by width and use all the same width for the blocks or you can just randomly reach in the tub. They are mindless and some days that’s what we need, a mental break while still feeling productive.
Before you start you need to shorten your stitch length. I shoot for a 1.8 stitch length. On my Necchi BU it’s an eyeball-guessing game. You want a stitch length that will perforate the paper but not cut it.
It’s a fairly simple process just adding strips, starting in the middle and working down one side and then the other. You can watch me make a string block below.
If you have a kid at home you can have them remove the paper. I used to do it for my mom all the time growing up. If you find it difficult to get the paper to give up without pulling stitches you can use a bit of steam or this paper foundation pen from my friend Carolina. If you really enjoy doing paper foundation sewing I highly recommend her tweezers as well.
What can I make with the blocks?
You can make the free mini block you get for signing up for our newsletter. We also have a table runner pattern that uses string quilt blocks. Bonnie Hunter, the queen of string blocks, has the String X free pattern. You can also buy String Frenzy with tons of quilt ideas.
What size of strips for string quilts?
It truly doesn’t matter! Some patterns might call for specific width but if you are doing your own thing make the strips as wide or narrow as you, please. I typically use less than 2 1/2″ though since 2 1/2″ strips are a fairly commonly used size in quilting.