Saturday, July 25, 2015

Making String Sashings!

Loads of questions coming in after yesterday’s post about why I string piece on a paper foundation.

I am happy to share the hows and whys that I do things, but please don’t take it as gospel or the only way to do things.  If you learned from someone else a “different” way ((there is no BETTER, only DIFFERENT!)) then by all means, you don’t have to do it this way.

But you know what?  You just might learn something if you try it both ways.

And that might lead you to a hybrid third way of your own leaving you really happy with the results.

There are a million ways to get any job done.

This is just how *I* work.  And it works for me.

I spent some time trimming up all of the pages that I covered with neutral strings on my one night getaway.  Oh, how I needed that time away from my office computer!

This is a photo of what the sections look like after trimming…

This is what it looked like BEFORE trimming:


Yes, I have dreidels and Christmas holly in the same panel.

I’m kind of all-inclusive that way!

If you look at this panel you will see that some strips curve, some lean and taper – it’s a stringy random no-road-straight adventure.

I use the strings in my string piecing AS IS.  That means they are NOT straight, they are not even widths – however they come out of the bag or bin, that is how I use them.

This is yet another reason why I DO use a paper foundation, or this thing would not only NOT lay flat, it wouldn’t keep a rectangular shape very easily either.


Working from the back side!

I over-piece my paper by a good 1/2” in all directions just to give me the opportunity to move the ruler and catch a certain element…and also gives me bonus strips, which we will get to later.

I trim up THREE sides…one long side, and the top and bottom.  Notice that the top strip is NOT trimmed even with the paper – it doesn’t have to be even with the paper, it just needs a square corner.

Turn it over to the “pretty side”.


Trim to width!

I was able to get 3 sashing widths and 1 narrow width for something else down the road….waste not want not, and I think they will be fun to play with.


Check out the bonus strips…yes!  Definitely fun!

At this point I remove all of the paper, join my strips randomly end to end to end into one long length, and then cut sashing lengths from the long strip.  This places different elements in different parts of each sashing strip so no two are alike.

I am also able to trim and adjust WHERE I trim to avoid seams too close to the end of my strips.

Again – this is just what works for me, and is the way that *I* work.  You can try it and decide if there is a DIFFERENT ((not better, only different!)) way that works for you.


Time out on yesterday’s drive home!

One of my favorite things to do is to pick up a lunch “to go” and find a park or nearby grassy area that I can enjoy for just a rest break from a long drive.

The weather was perfect for it yesterday!  But nearly proved to be a “fail” as I picked up a Burrito Bowl and chips from a nearby Chipotle.

I got to my picnic spot and found that I forgot a fork!

Thank heavens I got that side of chips!  I ate my burrito bowl  scooping the contents with the chips…but next time I order to-go, I will be sure that forks, and napkins are included!


Beauty on my morning walk this morning!

I love Queen Ann’s Lace!  So lovely, so delicate!  This was one lone stalk in amongst a patch of Brown Eyed Susans ---and I had to stop and get as close as I could with the camera.

What did I learn from this?

Even if you may find yourself “Different” than anyone else around you --- be the best, the most beautiful, the most glorious DIFFERENT that you can be!

Enjoy your Saturday everyone!  It’s good to be home again!

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  1. you could stick a package of plastic silverware and napkins in your glove box of the car - then you are ready for anything - I tend to do that when traveling as more than once I have left a drive through and found something missing. So nice to relax in the park!

  2. Here's to being the best "different" I can be!!! This small piece of advice is so fitting in my life this week...thanks!!

  3. Thanks for sharing the detail of the paper piecing. I am getting ready to start Talking Turkey so will put what I have learned into practice. Happy Saturday.

  4. Totally in agreement with you about string piecing on a foundation. I've tried it without, and think the paper gives them stability. It just looks crisper and nicer. Also when you're doing squares of strings or crumbs it gives you an idea of how big an area you need to cover..

  5. What Karen said! Keep some plastic silverware and napkins in your glove compartment. And some wipes.
    I'm one of those over-prepared Girl Scouts who tries to be ready for (almost) any situation. :)
    Glad you had a good mini get away!
    Thanks for the string piecing advice.

  6. I find I do things very similarly to you, even before I found all your helpful tips and tricks. I would have taken the paper off before I trimmed so I would not be pulling paper from small sections. I can see the benefit of trimming with the paper on. I would never have thought to make a bonus strip with the small leftover. Sad to think how many extra things I have thrown away before seeing how you did it.
    You are so efficient. My mother would have claimed you as her third daughter if she had met you. Heck, you probably would have knocked me down a peg in ranking, as you are much more clever than I.
    Keep showing us your way, it is good to be an old dog and able to say I can learn new tricks!

  7. String piecing is one of those projects that have been on my bucket list. Your Quiltcam last week and this post has my juices flowing again. I am ready to tackle it. We also do a lot of take-out to the park, so an extra fork/spoon and napkin(or two) life in out glove box too. Guess fingers work too, but then there is the sticky fingers on the steering wheel!! ha ha ha!

  8. Another lesson from Queen Anne's Lace--also known as "wild carrot": Its roots nourish not only itself, but others...cwoosley12@yahoo.com

  9. Anonymous10:51 AM EDT

    String piecing is one of my favorite things to do and also one of the quilting classes I teach. I used to just use the muslin but I found a large string quilt gets very, very heavy when the batting and the backing is added so I always show my students the different foundations to use: muslin, deli papers, telephone book pages, coloring book pages, newsprint and the foundation papers from MSQC. My students find they are soon addicted to string piecing and all of the fun options with the blocks. The possibilities with string blocks are endless!

    Karen in dry, dry So Cal

  10. Thanks for the short tutorial. I think I would add the bonus strips to one of my wonky rail fence quilts. Love this quilt you are working on.

  11. when i get take out and take it home, i save the plastic pkg, w/utensils and then carry it in my car for just such a chance 'picnic'... am new to your quiltville and blog. Purchased your Leaders & Enders some years ago and just love all that you are doing, and the part about being the 'best different' sure resonates with me...Thanks, Cats in very dry so cal (Carlsbad)... happily we've had some rain.

  12. Love string piecing, thanks to you. I think it is so much fun to put those strings together and see how they come out once trimmed. Love the Queen Anne Lace advice.

  13. I love this comment and shared it on Facebook, giving you all the credit.

    Even if you may find yourself “Different” than anyone else around you --- be the best, the most beautiful, the most glorious DIFFERENT that you can be!

    I enjoy reading how you do different quilty things. :)

  14. I, too, string piece on a paper foundation--love it! I leave the paper on when I sew the pieces together--things stay more stable for me that way. It makes removing the paper a bit more complicated, but the extra stability makes up for it for me.

  15. I love the picture of the Queen Anne's Lace. I read about it in books all the time, but have never seen it. No wonder it's called lace, it looks just like a lovely lace medallion. Thanks for sharing.

  16. I love this method to piece on phone books. I have been sewing squares this way for my Talkin' Turkey quilt. It is great sewing fun when you are also engaged in something else, like a TV show!

    But I now want to see what you do with the "bonus" strips. Don't make us wait too long Bonnie!

  17. Anonymous2:33 PM EDT

    I have used a technique several times in the past with just a few difference. #1 being I can not get access to old phone books. Most of the phone books around here are horded because we no longer get yearly phone books from the phone company.

    I am lucky enough to have a local printing company that prints newspapers. I buy end rolls for the printing machine for $2 to $5 a roll depending upon the size. I have enough to last several years even when grand kids come to play and take my paper for drawings. Check out printing companies in your area and see if they sell end rolls. They are useful for all kinds of household and quilting tasks.

  18. Thank you for your generous sharing! Maybe I will be able to use up these random strips of scraps I have! So glad you got a much needed time away I love the picnic idea

  19. Thanks for sharing your string piecing method. I watched your last Quilt Cam when you were working on it and was intrigued. While I wasn't able to watch it live, I played it the other day while finishing up a baby quilt. I had a few vacation days this week and spent some wonderful time in my sewing room. It was great having you keep me company. I finished the quilt and got two rows of tumblers done too!

    Ginny B

  20. Anonymous3:50 PM EDT

    I always love to see your tutorials and like to follow your advice. I do have a question about your string piecing. I can't tell by the pictures, but I am wondering if you use solids as well as prints when you string piece. Please give my your thoughts about this. My email is brklebba@centurylink.net

  21. We're up in Maine for the quilt show in Augusta. We've passed fields and more fields of Queen Ann's Lace. Very enjoyable cool weekend up here!

  22. Michelle J8:33 PM EDT

    Speaking of Maine, I went to the Maine Quilt Show in Augusta yesterday...saw FIVE quilts made from your patterns!! So exciting!! Thanks again for sharing your talent so generously!!
    Michelle in Maine

  23. Queen Anne's lace can also be used to make a nice light jelly. I tried it once after I heard about it, and it was good, very delicate just like the flowers! Now wondering if I would be able to come up with the recipe! "I have it here somewhere" syndrome!

  24. Thanks for the tutorial and tips. Lunch in the park, lovely.

  25. Queen Anne's Lace is a favorite wildflower of mine, Did you know the very
    center floret is purple? Look for it next time you see one.

    Kathi Desko

  26. Anonymous12:30 AM EDT

    I learned string pieceing from the best expert, which happens to be you. I do this kind of quilts for doll quilts for a Christmas party our local quilt shop sponsors each year for under privileged children. They are fun, fast and cute. Never know how they are going to turn out a n d I get to use my scraps. I am going on a four day retreat this a fall and this will be my project. Fun and requires no thinking,perfect for retreats. A big thank you for all you do and your great inspirations.

    Judy in Michigan


  27. Anonymous2:21 AM EDT

    Loved your tutorial on string paper piecing. Thanks! :) Now, I am thinking of all the phone books I have put in the recycle barrel! Well, we are lucky here, I usually get 3 or so a year from the different entities, so I'll have a stack again in no time. We also get the smaller ones too, by that I mean the 7" x 8" size - would those be good to save? Also, do you use the yellow pages, or just the white?


  28. Seems like this way of making sashings could be an easier way to make "piano key" borders as well -- ? Or would the wonkiness not be stable enough for the outside edge? I just love the casual look of the string sashing! I enjoy your definition of "neutral," too!

  29. Anonymous7:36 AM EDT

    Do you see the tiny red center blossom in the Queen Anne's Lace? It is said that Queen Anne, while sewing, pricked her finger and a drop of blood fell onto the flower. To honor her, all Queen Anne's Lace blossoms have that one red flower in the center of the cluster.

  30. Karen Bauer8:52 AM EDT

    I love the strings, but really loved the encouragement. I feel like a fifth wheel in our neighborhood, no explanation needed, just a creative soul, and no need to be stimulated by the outside world. Always a lone wolf in the sewing room or art studio, so, I revel in your advice to be different. Just achieved another year of birth, so will enjoy my differentness.

  31. Karen Bauer... i feel lonely sometimes too, and not interested as i used to be to enjy classes, (which is where you link up w.fellow artists in the quilting venue)and not inclined to go to meetings... i suppose that's why in the old days they had quilting bees and the ladies would get to gether to handquilt and exchange news (aka gossip?)... I'm on facebook so friend me if you want to talk or need/want a little encouragment
    Cats Whitcher

  32. I'm teaching one of my Granddaughters to quilt. She made a small rail fence quilt for a recent Guild Show, currently she is digging through scraps, cutting them into 1, 1-1/2,2, and 2-1/2 inch strips and strip piecing them onto muslin squares. At 11 and being left handed, I thought this would be harder for her. NOT! She's absolutely loving it

  33. Oh I love Queen Anne's Lace. Put stems in colored water and they change to that color. Fun to do with grandchildren. But the best part is they make a really great jelly. It turns a delicate pink and oh so good.
    As far as sewing on phone pages its a great way to string piece.


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