It's finally arrived - our last session of String Therapy. I thought a good topic for today might be unity - how we can all get along even if we don't think or act exactly the same way. Seems like we've lost a lot of that in the world today, but it doesn't mean we can't strive to get it back. Wouldn't everyone be a lot happier if we were united?
I guess you're wondering how that can pertain to a quilt design? Well, in today's quilt I've united warm colors and cool colors, darks and lights, wide and narrow strips, for a quilt that feels like a personification of Unity.
Above you can see the quilt that was my inspiration. I believe this picture came from Bonnie Hunter's blog, as she was sharing some quilts from a museum exhibit of string quilts. This one has quite a primitive feel to it, a little Gees Bend-y, and is very scrappy. Looking at it, it took me a while to analyze the thing that I thought made it work, but finally I saw it - all of the corners on each round are made of the same fabric. In other words, the quilter never changed fabrics at the corner, she continued around. It gives the eye a place to rest and enjoy the surrounding fabrics, I think. And that was the starting point for my own version.
Since I still had quite a bit of the beautiful Kate Spain Latitude batiks on hand, and much of it trimmed to 2.5" wide already, I started with those and added some 1.5" wide strips from the remainder of my Latitude scraps.
I chose a center piece, in this case a 2.5" wide strip of pink that was about 4.5" long. Next I picked two of the teal pieces and seamed them together, sewing them to the pink block along the long side.
I trimmed the ends even with the center piece and set those pieces to one side so I could use them to complete my corners. This beginning is so small it will only take two fabrics to go all the way around.
Here you can see the block after I sewed the strips all the way around, but before the final trimming.
Once you have sewn your first round, square up the block so that all the corners are square and the opposing sides are equal in length.
And yes, there's a reason for this. As we go forward, you will be measuring the length for your strips rather than just applying them and trimming the ends. Have you ever worked with a quilt that had "waving borders"? There's a reason for that. We all have a tendency to make our seams just a little bit narrower as we get to the end of the seam, which means that the end of your piece is a little wider than the top of it. Over the course of a quilt, that little bit can make a big difference!
So when you are adding borders, you should measure across the center of your quilt and make your borders that length, rather than measuring the edge you are applying the border to. It might not make a huge difference if you are just adding one border, but in a quilt like this, which is essentially all border, it will help you keep it square and flat.
So now start building your quilt, border by border.
Alternate using wide strips and using narrow ones.
Throw in a block of the opposite color family (or two) as you go for interest.
Just remember to go around the corner with the same print to give your eye a place to rest.
The length of your strips can vary from 1" to 10" or more - whatever makes you happy and works with the strips you have!
And now that we've completed our String Therapy, let's share a little love, shall we? Come back next Sunday for the beginning of this year's Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge, where I'm sure you'll find the perfect place to donate an expression of quilt-y comfort for someone in need. I can't wait, can you? See you there!