Sunday, February 7, 2021

This Week's String Therapy? How To Be "Mindless"

Hi, all!

Well, it looks like it's time for another therapy session - if your week has been anything like mine, it's long overdue!  Nothing bad here, just super busy.  And as part of our String Therapy today, I've got a lovely, mindless quilt that will eat up your strings with little concentration on your part - just the ticket!!

Just look at all that mindless scrappy sewing goodness!  And you can make one all for yourself - just go grab that box/tub/pile/mountain of strings and go for it!

Some of you may recognize this quilt as a re-run from the Rockin' Rectangles tutorial series, and you'd be right!  But you just can't keep a good quilt down, and being able to re-run the tutorial makes my life easier this week.  So here's how I did it (with 2019 pictures) and there'll be more pictures of this year's version at the end.

First thing - grab up the strings you want to use and give them a press. Flat strings are much easier to cut up than ones that have been wadded up in a bin forever!  It doesn't matter if they are nice and straight or if they are different lengths at the top and bottom - it will all work out in the end. And don't overthink which strings to use - the very best scrappy quilts have LOTS of different fabrics!  But if you must have structure, you could limit your scraps to one color family, or warm or cool colors.  Keep in mind that the more different fabrics you have, the less you'll be concerned about keeping the same fabrics from being side-by-side in your quilt.

I laid out strips in stacks of 4-5, then took my 8.5" ruler, laid it on top and cut out sets of strips.  I highly recommend this method - you don't have to think about measuring, because your ruler is just the right length.  It's a great way to do it if you are working/talking with friends at the same time!

And this is the result - a tub full of pieces I can now use to create this quilt, which I'm calling "Mindless"!

Quilt Size:  Mine is 58" x 64", but yours can be any size you choose, limited only by how many strings you have and how long you want to sew!

Fabric Requirements:

String scraps cut into 8.5" lengths (strings are strips of fabric, usually at least 12" long and at least 1.5" wide.  They do not have to be even widths or all the same width for this quilt. Many of mine are the strips trimmed off of quilt backs after quilting.)  A good variety of fabrics is recommended, but it doesn't take as much fabric as you will think it does.  You'll see this proven later in the tutorial!

Assembly Instructions:

Choose 4-5 of your string strips and sew them together along the long edges.  Press the seams all in one direction.  As you can see from the picture above, it doesn't matter if the strings are the same width on each end, because we're going to trim this panel in the next step.

Now lay your panel on your cutting board, choosing what the straight will be.  I chose to use the seam between the bottom two pieces as my "straight". Trim the right edge straight...

...then switch over and trim the left side.  I was able to trim mine to exactly 8" wide, which made it easy to figure out how large my quilt would be.  You will trim all your panels to the same width.  Now turn your panel so it runs horizontally and line up the top edge with a straight edge on your cutting mat.

Once again, trim the right and left sides of your panel...

...and you'll be left with a panel with nice, straight edges!  The trimmed length of your panel doesn't matter, because you'll be joining them all together in long strips.  Only the width must be consistent.

You'll need to make a bunch of these panels!  For instance, if your panels were all about 10" long, and you wanted a 60" square quilt, you would need about 48 panels.  Trim them all to the same width. You may want to start putting them up on a design wall as you go, so you can see if you are heavy on one color or fabric.  

It's also really encouraging to see that you are making progress with all that sewing!  When you are arranging your strips, you may find that some strips are wider than you would like - if that happens, just  split those wide strips and join them up with more string strips!  

Once you've laid out your strip panels and like the layout, start sewing the panels into columns.  They may not be exactly the same length, but that's not a problem - you can just trim them to the length you want, or add one or two more strings to the bottom to make them as long as their neighbors.  This is a very fluid and forgiving quilt to make!  You can also see that the pieces that are angular rather than straight add a little interest and motion to the quilt.  I almost wish I'd added more of those pieces!

Now comes the dreaded "quilt as desired" part!  With a quilt this busy, you might choose to do an organic straight or wavy line, either horizontally or vertically - either would look great!  I chose to quilt mine with a large random looping meander.  It's a quick way to quilt one on the long arm, and it gives wonderful texture to a quilt!

The first time my husband saw the finished quilt, he blinked and said, "Wow, it's bright! Looks like vacation...." He's right, it is bright, and it kind of does look like vacation!  So it's fitting that the backing is a piece I found at A&E Pharmacy in Pensacola (not a pharmacy any more, but a fabulous fabric shop!)  Those bright sunny flowers really called to me and just had to come home with me.  I'm so glad they've found a permanent home on this quilt!

Fly says she thinks sunshine on a cold day is the very best therapy, and that may be true.  But a little mindless sewing that ends with a beautiful scrappy quilt is almost as good, am I right?

See you next week for a little more String Therapy!




  1. This is so cool. Uhhh, can a quilt be both cool and warm? Well, you know what I mean. Thank you for this freeing, delightful pattern? method? I feel lighter just thinking about dragging out my tub of scraps and getting started.

  2. I'm going to finish a string X quilt this week and there are still strips in that box to be used! I've already cut a lot of the string to 5" in length so that's what I'll be working with. It's fine to use an older pattern again. It is just as interesting today as it was when you first showed it. Happy stitching!

  3. I love your energy, and this quilt is perfect for my scraps. Thank you again.

  4. I love this quilt and mindless sewing!

  5. I am always amazed at how attractive simple scrap qults are. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Looks like you got some spam! Ugh! So annoying.

    I love the word "mindless". I feel like that a lot lately. LOL
    I love your quilt and your tutorial. Great blog!

  7. Yay, Sarah! Thanks for offering me another chance to sew up and old favorite for this year's H2H!!

  8. Simple, clear instructions!!! Thanks, Sarah!!! Maybe I can squeeze it in here and there...

  9. This is a great scrappy (and stringy) quilt. Do you press the seams to one side or open?

  10. Very interesting quilt - like the back fabric! Looks like you have a person who does not belong in the quilting world! LOL. Hugs

  11. Great working tips i am visit here first time really great blog.


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