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)!