Thursday, October 13, 2011

String Blocks and Crumbly Creativity

It's a day for strings and crumbs... and creative messiness.  It's times like this that I think I would love a bigger table, or an L-shaped one.  But a bigger table might just result in a bigger mess.  Of course, it might help if I took everything off the table before I start with crumbs and strings.

I made six 8.5" string blocks, which should have brought my total blocks so far to eighteen.

But I discovered that I had trimmed one block a whole 1/2 inch too short.  I have a new ruler with the half inch guide on two sides and it got turned around more than once as I trimmed.  Usually I notice when I've switched the 1/2 inch to the flip side of a block but I didn't catch that in time to save one block.  I think I can save this one by slicing it through the centre stripe and adding in another fabric through the middle.

I've also discovered the really skinny strings are more trouble than they're worth when making string blocks - it takes a lot of them to get across the foundation block, which bulks the whole thing up with seams.  I pulled the strings that are less than an inch wide out of the box and put them aside, reducing my string stash by half.  Keeping strings that small seems like one of my dumber ideas.  Maybe I'll try fabric knitting or crocheting with them.  I see a rag rug in my future.  And if that doesn't work out, I'll use them as stuffing in a pillow.   The last time I sat down to make crumb blocks, I dug some skinny strips from the crumb bin and started joining them into strips sets about 6.5" long.  These strips are about the size of an adhesive bandage.  They measure 1" wide and range in length from 3" to 6".

When I've joined enough to measure at least 6.5", I iron the heck out of them, then subcut them into 1.5" wide strips.  I've made a small stack of these and find them to be a good mindless leader n' ender task.

As the strings from my string blocks get trimmed off, I put the short bits in with the subcuts.  It's going to be months before I have enough to work with, but I've got my next crumb quilt in planning all lined up and a new leader n' ender to keep me chain piecing.  It's inspired in part by Tonya's Lego Blocks project, Riel's Random Rail Fence project and my recent crumb-along piecing, and it's going to give me a good reason to dig into my 1.5" strip stash, which by-the-way, is going to be my new minimum string size.

Tomorrow is going to be devoted entirely to making Crumb-Along blocks.  Maybe my next word block too.  I'm thinking dance or laugh are good candidates for words to live your life by.


  1. Makes me think of the string blocks I need to finish--someday! I think you have a good plan to save the one undercut block--I would never have thought of that!
    I don't keep anything under 1.5", either. They seem to be more trouble than they are worth. But I just toss them--you are very industrious to save them for a rug or other project. I'm impressed.

  2. Your sewing table looks like mine! I also have a string quilt project I started last year with my sons (and that I was hoping to get them back to since it was supposed to make them "winter" quilts).

    You are right, the skinny strings can't be relied on to be the only thing that fills your blocks. But don't put 'em aside -- just stick them in every now and then to give a little contrast to the blocks.

    I like the Random Rail Fence idea, hadn't seen that one before. And another great way to use up the bits -- perfect!

  3. Nice save on that string block! Sending you some chicken soup! I have a freezer full of it just for these emergencies.