Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tutorial: Pieced Centre String Quilt Block

I came up with this little idea earlier in the week when I was designing some new blocks. I had been thinking about some different ways to use precuts and got to thinking about string blocks - string blocks have been very popular for the last little bit (you can see some beautiful examples here, here, and here) and I thought that precuts (namely honey bun strips) would make them even easier. However, this thinking led to even more thinking about what I could do to make some string blocks that were a little different and this is what I came up with...


Enter the Pieced Centre String Quilt Block! When making string blocks, many people choose to use a solid colour middle strip or to use the same middle strip fabric for a group of four blocks so that when arranged in a diamond pattern (such as with the two above) the centre strips create a distinct diamond pattern and grouping.

I think that this pieced centre strip creates a very nice visual and so decided to write a little tutorial for everyone, I hope you like it!

When making these blocks I used a paper piecing method and started with paper that I had cut to 6.5" square (this will yield 6" finished blocks when sewn together). I used regular white printer paper, but you could also use transfer paper, old phone book pages, or any other thin paper.

The fabrics I used came mostly from my scrap bin and are cut into varying widths, however the fabrics for the pieced centre strip all measure 2" across but are varying heights.


Sew your small fabric pieces together with right sides facing along the 2" side using 1/4" seam.


For these 6.5" blocks you will need to sew your pieces all together so that the centre strip ends up measuring about 9.5". Press all seams open for this centre strip - it will help it to lay flatter against your paper square.


Flip the strip over so that the back side is up. Using a regular glue stick dab a little bit of glue (not too much or you'll have problems later) along the length of the strip.


Flip the strip back over and press it down along the diagonal of your paper square; I just eyeballed the placement of my strip, but if you're a bit of a perfectionist you can measure the placement. You now have your pieced centre strip in place!


Make sure that your next strip is long enough to cover the white space right next to the pieced centre strip (but it can be whatever width you'd like) and lay it, right side down, directly on top of the pieced centre strip so that the edges line up.


Make sure that you shorten your stitch length so that the back paper will tear off easily in the end (I usually sew at 2.5 so I went down to 2, but I'm sure 1.5 would work well also). Sew your new strip to the pieced centre strip along the edge with a 1/4" seam.


Using a dry iron press the new strip open and into place. Repeat with your next strip, lining it up along the edge of the strip you've just sewn.


Repeat (sew, iron, sew, iron, haha!) until you've got your paper square covered. It'll look like a mess but we'll fix that!


Flip you block over so that the paper square is facing up.


Using your paper square as a guide, line your ruler up along the edge and use your rotary cutter to cut the excess fabric off all four sides.


Now you're ready to remove the paper from the back! Since you shortened your stitch length, the paper will be perforated on the back and should tear off pretty easily (this is why you don't want to over glue the pieced centre strip - so that you can tear it off). Just fold along the stitch line and tear!


Once all of the paper has been torn off, flip over and admire your lovely block!


I hope you enjoyed my little tutorial and remember that if you need to, you can make any of the pictures larger by clicking on them! Let me know what you think and if you make anything using this tutorial send me a picture - I'd love to see!

If you like these blocks, you might want to check out my Pieced Centre String Block Coasters tutorial, which uses the same method but on a smaller scale (and includes all the coaster finishing instructions too)!

38 comments:

  1. I've been really liking the look of string quilts lately and I think I want to try it next!

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  2. Love this string twist! Looking forward to seeing how the blocks look all together!!

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  3. Thank you so very much for this tutorial!! I am a novice quilter at best, in fact the last quilt I made was over 12 years ago. I have lots of really cute fabric but just didn't know what to do with it. Now I do!! If nothing else I see a number of pillows for our bed being made using this "pattern".

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  4. Great tutorial and nice idea! Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Great idea and a wonderful tutorial.

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  6. I love string quilts, and your idea is wonderful!

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  7. Thanks for the tutorial, those are so cute!

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  8. Fabulous tutorial...I am going to try this!

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  9. What an awesome idea! Thanks for the tutorial :)

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  10. Kaye,
    Love your idea and your tutorial. I linked to it here

    http://quilting.craftgossip.com/tutorial-variation-on-a-string/2010/07/20/

    Warmly,
    Scarlett Burroughs
    Quilting Editor, Craft Gossip

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  11. Having seen this awesome tutorial, I think I just might give paper piecing a try - looks like something I can do too! Thanks for sharing.

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  12. very cute and nicely shown! Makes me want to start on some now too!

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  13. What a great idea. Thank you for the instructions!

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  14. Your site is beautiful!

    Am bookmarking this tut to try out soon!

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  15. Fantastic tutorial! I'm bookmarking, too! :) I'm always intimadated by matching up strips and pieces {something always tends to get a little wonky}, but this looks very forgiving and fun to try! :)

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  16. Thank ya ma'am! Such a beautiful tutorial and so easy to follow!

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  17. Thank so much. This is a very good explanation and such clear photos. Now I know how it works. Thanks again! Greetings from Germany

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  18. Great tutorial and I'm itching to try it. My scrap drawer runneth over.

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  19. Brilliant idea cannot wait to try it ans use up some of my stash. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  20. I just love this technique! I have been afraid to try paper piecing, but with your great instructions and this simple but gorgeous pattern, I think I just might give it a try. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  21. As I'm a scrap quilter I'm going to give this idea a try, thanks.

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  22. I knew there was a really good reason for saving all those scrap bits! This is a fantastic idea! Thank you, this is one of the best tutorials I have seen!

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  23. I like this idea. A friend and I started blocks similiar to yours several years ago, only we used cotton fabric as a base. We did not use the small pieces, pieced together for the centers. That does make it more interesting visibly. Great tutorial too...

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  24. I have SOOO many scraps - can't wait to give this a try -- good job

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  25. I love this tutorial. I have started making a quilt with this technique and I am HOOKED! Using all my scrappy pieces that I have been saving, starting to look great and with the paper piece, the block is so even! Thank you so much!

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  26. I have a lot scraps, this block is great for me.

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  27. I have done this with many kinds of fabric (cotton, flannel, etc)but as mentioned before I use a fabric foundation instead of paper. I takes the same time to cut and then you do not have to remove the paper....

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  28. Aperfect quilt for Leaders and Enders--Can't wait to try it with my stash!!

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  29. you can use this method on anything, I used this on stockings of different sizes. I sewed them on fleece, which gave them some thickness. love this method to use up those scraps.

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  30. I just round your tutorial- thank you! I'll have to give this a try after the holidays.

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  31. I like the idea of this. Have lots of narrow strips that will be ideal

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  32. I've always wanted to try this but had no idea where/how to start. Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

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  33. This is positively the most brilliant system for using my scraps! I love it!

    Incidentally, greetings from a former residence of Barrier/Orillia/CFB Borden---now residing in Salt Lake City, Utah. I get around;-)

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  34. Hmmm...that would be Barrie/Orillia/CFB Borden...CURSE YOU, AUTOCORRECT!!! :-P

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  35. Thanks so much for the great tutorial, I'm definitely going to try this!

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