I have the first two rows of my Rock Island Campfires string quilt together.
I often make string blocks when I am between projects or if I just want to sew something but I am not interested in focusing. Sometimes you just need to mindlessly sew to wind down after a stressful day at work.
I am always on the lookout for ways to use the string blocks once they are made. This was a quilt that appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting. The quilt is called Rock Island Campfires and was made by Marianne Fons.
Marianne’s blocks were pieced on paper foundations and measured 4.5″ square. Four string blocks pieced together with a cornerstone and sashing measured 10.5″ square unfinished. I pieced my blocks with a used dryer sheet as a foundation and trimmed them to 5.75″ which made my block larger at 13″ unfinished.
I found the perfect fabric for sashing my blocks – a tiny black and white houndstooth – First Crush by Sweetwater for Moda.
These are some of my blocks on the design wall.
Back in 2010, I was inspired by a blog post written by Kim Brackett. Kim’s String Block Tutorial was easy to follow and I started making a pile of string blocks using her technique. Kim never did post a picture of her finished quilt on her blog so I am not sure how she set her string blocks in her finished quilt.
I played around with various settings for my blocks and decided that I liked the blocks set on point best. Today, I finally finished sewing my blocks together into a top. My blocks finished at 9 ” square. At this stage, my quilt top measures approximately 78.5″ x 79.5″. I haven’t decided whether or not I will add a border to this quilt. I like the look of the top without any further borders–the large chaos of colour seems to float on the quilt top. However, I will likely regret not adding a border to stabilize the edges of this quilt when it comes time to quilt it. I am sure that keeping the on point setting of the blocks with the bias edged setting triangles square while quilting will be a challenge I am sure.
It took me 4 1/2 years to get my blocks finished and set into a quilt top. Let’s hope It doesn’t take me another 4 1/2 years to turn this quilt top into a finished quilt. :)
The next time I make this quilt, I think I will make the first square of this block the same size and from the same fabric. I think this will help to “tame” some of the wildness of this quilt and give the eye a place to rest.
I recently purchased Fons and Porter’s Easy Diagonal Sets Ruler. This ruler was a big help when it came time to cut the setting triangles. The following link will take you to a video that demonstrates how to use the ruler: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBfDsLP3P9I
I usually use the method of cutting setting triangles as described by Marti Michell in her book, Quilting for People Who Still Don’t Have Time to Quilt. Marti says to:
Just cut a larger square on both diagonals to yield four setting triangles. To determine the size of the larger square, measure the diagonal of the finished size unit block, and add 1 1/4 inches. this is the size square to quarter for perfect-fit, no-mistakes-allowed setting triangles. I prefer to add 1 1/2 inches to 2 1/2 inches to the diagonal measurement of the block. That size square will yield slightly larger setting triangles which allow the design blocks to float inside the borders.
Using Marti’s method, I would have been cutting my squares 15 1/2″ square in order to get 4 setting triangles. In order to cut enough squares this size for my setting triangles, I would have needed more black fabric than I had on hand. However, using the ruler, I was able to cut my setting triangles from narrower strips of fabric and still have some fabric left over.
Our quilt guild’s bi-annual show was this past Friday night and Saturday (October 17 and 18, 2014). I was once again on the committee that hung the quilts. We were very organized this year and had the quilts hung in record time.
I was also doing demos again this year. Unlike some other quilt shows, our guild does not just do demos at specific times during the show. Our demos are on-going through the whole show. This means that the people that are doing the demos are doing lots and lots of talking. :) There were four of us doing demos this year. We had the most perfect spot with perfect lighting against this bank of windows.
This was my home for a day and a half while I demonstrated how to make string/crumb blocks using a stabilizer. I use used color catchers as my foundation, but any other stabilizer product such as muslin or paper could be used. If you use paper, you will have to remove the paper before quilting your quilt. This is one reason why I use the color catchers–there is nothing to remove; the color catcher is not removed and stays in the quilt. Granted the quilt is a bit heavier because of the additional layer.
The woman doing demos beside me was demonstrating another technique for using up scraps–making those fabric wrapped bowls that are so popular now. We were very complimentary to one another with our demos as we were both showing how to use up scraps that some people put would put in the trash.
The quilts that I entered in this year’s show were:
And lastly, my entry into the challenge for this year’s show; Roses are Red, Violets are Blue.
I am busy working on another scrap quilt. I am calling this one, Yin and Yang after the Chinese symbol by the same name. I boldly entered this quilt in our upcoming guild’s quilt show on October 17 and 18 even though it isn’t finished yet.