A String Quilt!

I save scraps…lots and lots of scraps. This March I decided it was time to make a plan for all those scraps.

A search in Pinterest offered up several String Quilt Tutorials, I chose this one, a tutorial from:


A very easy straightforward tutorial that produced perfect results.

When you look at the above quilt, initially it appears that you will be making 4 strip triangles, sewing them together into a square and then adding white sashing. Look again! What appears to be white sashing strips are actually the center strip of a square block! Who sits around and thinks up these things!

How did I decide on my block size? My standard sized ream of newsprint. The largest square from a 8 1/2 x 11” sheet of newsprint is an 8 1/2” square. I stitched directly on the newsprint just as the tutorial shows, knowing my blocks would finish to 8” squares.

The fact that I already owned this versatile quilters ruler helped tremendously with the block trimming once the fabric strips were sewn in place.

But my influences also came from another quilter: Bonnie Hunter! You may know she recently created a wonderful tribute to the Ukrainian people with her Hearts of Hope Sew-Along.


It was her outside border from this wonderful quilt that inspired me to create something similar and that’s how the outside 4 1/2 x 8 1/2” rectangles came to be.

A couple of things: I constructed all the interior 8 1/2” blocks at a retreat in Moulton, Texas. https://1914boehmhouse.com/ My absolute favorite retreat venue!

Here’s me at home making the outside rectangle blocks.

Only one more border block to go before I’m ready to finish the quilt top but how did I decide on the size of the border rectangles? I reduced only the width resulting in a 4 1/2 x 8 1/2” finishing to a 4×8” rectangle. Can you see that these calculations also resulted in 4” finished cornerstones?

What about the newsprint on the back of each block? I constructed the entire quilt top leaving the paper in place. Only then did I begin the rather satisfying process of peeling the paper away. I sew on a Bernina and to make this paper removal easy I reduced my sewing stitch length to 1.7. Sure I had a huge mess in and all around my recliner but a few minutes with the vacuum cleaner solved the mess in a snap!

Finally before loading on the longarm, I decided a “visual stopping” white final border was in order. All the diagonal lines of this quilt top send your eye in a thousand directions. The white (or any same fabric color) border stops your eye and holds it to the quilt.

No need for custom quilting, a nice hand guided “edge-to-edge” is the perfect choice.

This quilting design is from Urban Elements: https://www.urbanelementz.com/ specifically the pattern titled: Highland.

I used variegated thread in both the needle and bobbin, specifically Superior Threads So Fine numbers #705 in the needle and #711 in the bobbin. I also used a single layer of white Hobbs 80/20 batting.

A nice orange binding works well with the royal blue bandana fabric on the quilt back. If I recall correctly this orange fabric is: Freckles by Andover. CORRECTION: (thank you Paula) This fabric is Dimples by Andover! The bandana print fabric…pulled from my stash, purchased years ago.

A couple of things to keep in mind: if you want to utilize this border block idea your interior blocks will need to be rows/columns of even numbers. My quilt body is 6 blocks wide by 8 blocks long. Odd numbers of blocks will not allow your outside border rectangles to visually line up properly.

After the trip through the washer/dryer. Because I had so many different fabrics of undetermined age/maker, I laundered the quilt in cool water, 1/8 cup of Blue Dawn Dishwashing liquid and 2 color catchers. The dishwashing liquid acts as Synthrapol to capture errant fabric dyes that are released during the washing process. This keeps those floating die particles from redepositing on surrounding fabrics. I forgot to take a picture of them but the two color catchers were very reddish pink in color after the quilt was laundered. For THIS laundry cycle I only used Dawn…no laundry detergent.

And have you noticed: the outside rectangle border blocks are mirror images of each other. One block has the white center strip running top left to bottom right, the next block has the white center strip running bottom left to top right. Very important!

Oh, and another thing…is it noticeable that all my center white strips in the quilt body are not the same size? Picture me furiously stitching away for a few days only to suddenly realize I had cut two different widths of white strips. While most are cut 1 1/2” wide, many are cut 1 1/4”. Would you have noticed without my pointing this out? Maybe not.

I love the idea that I made a quilt from pieces of fabric that many would have tossed! The finished size after quilting and laundering: 58×75”. Perfect as a throw for chilly evenings!

Save your scraps! Blessings to all and happy quilting, Rhonda

17 thoughts on “A String Quilt!

  1. Hello Rhonda : Just discovered your blog which I love – especially this quilt, I had been thinking of making one similar but your addition of the borders is genius! Two queries (a) for the eventual washing: would any dishwashing product work (I live in France and don’t know the one you quote); and (b) did you sew all the blocks together before removing your papers? (I’m not sure if I’ve read your notes right…). Thanks for your help!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning! Hum…sadly all dishwashing liquids are not the same. I’ve heard of some in Europe that have had success with Fairy (?) brand? I think I’ve gotten the name right, it’s a product not available in the states.
      And yes, I did sew everything together with the exception of the white outside border before I removed the papers.


      1. Thank you! Do you reckon it would work with black centre strips (like stained glass?!) Or would that be too stark? It’s for a bloke and I can just imagine what he would do with a white border!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, muslin would obviously stay stitched on the quilt and would add weight to the project. Copy paper is much heavier than newsprint but because it will be removed it should be successful. Given the choice, choose cheap thin copy paper.


  2. As always, inspiring and amazing! (I like doing strings on a cut block of batiste fabric–no papers to remove! A simple stay-stitch at 1/8th inch around the square, and voila.

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  3. Love this! You have great scraps! I like your string border and the final stop border idea. Thanks for the tip for using Blue Dawn. But do you also add laundry detergent to the wash, or is the Dawn sufficient to also clean the quilt?

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  4. Love this! One of my favorite color combos happens to be blue & orange. Is it possible that ‘freckles’ is called dimples? I don’t remember who makes dimples but it is one I have in several colors. I normally save my scraps for a friend who uses them for dog pillow stuffing for the animal shelter. I do have a couple of vintage string quilts; one was my grandmothers. Love all of your quilts!

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  5. Hi Rhonda!  Congratulations on coming up with a wonderful quilt made from leftovers!  I’m tempted by this one!  Jane Hancock

    Liked by 1 person

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