To sew a quilt, alternate the layout of the string units and plain squares so that, when blocks are sewn together, like-units are not side-by-side.
The pattern instructions are illustrated on several pages, because I wanted to share several images that are important for beginners. A quick glance at the images is probably all you need, so printing every page might not be necessary. When you print my patterns, always use the little printer icon in the upper right area of the page -- it strips out unnecessary items and leaves only the pattern instructions and images.
Before You Begin
If string piecing is a new technique for you, read How to Make a String Pieced Quilt before you begin this project. The blocks I made for the Rags 'n Strings quilt do not look exactly like the block in the example. Make either version.
- In the "how to," four square string blocks are sewn together to create a large quilt block with strings that radiate outwards to form box-line shapes from the block center. Ragged edges flow horizontally and vertically.
- In the blocks used in Rags 'n Strings, square blocks are each divided once diagonally to create triangles, and four triangles are sewn back together to make a square. Strings form a pinwheel-like arrangement. Ragged edges flow on block diagonals.
Block sizes will differ somewhat depending on how you break units apart and sew them back together.
String Quilt Options
String piecing is a flexible method. You can sew strings onto large squares of foundation and then cut the foundation apart (in our case, into 6" x 6" squares). Or you can string piece onto long strips of fabric and then cut squares from the strips. No matter which method you choose, your foundation must be slightly oversize to allow for squaring it up after the strings are sewn to it, because the foundation will become distorted and slightly smaller as you work.
Fabrics for the Quilt Block
It's difficult to predict yardages for a freehand technique like string piecing. Gather an assortment of strings in different widths. If you create blocks on long, narrow foundations, you'll need 70-85 strips that range in width from 1-1/4" to 1-3/4".
If you string piece in a straight up and down manner, 6-1/2" long strips will work. If you piece diagonally, you'll need strips a couple of inches longer or more, depending on placement angle.
Backing for String Blocks
- (5) 6" x 6" squares
- One fabric strip about 6-1/2" x 38" and one 6-1/2" x 26 (or equivalent)
Blocks from Plain Squares
- 3 strips about 7-1/2" x 32" (one strip for fronts, one for backs, one for "batting"