String-Pieced Stars

My bag for strips and strings hangs conveniently near my cutting table. And it is full to overflowing!


I was motivated to use the scrappy strips by Rachel’s blog: Rachel recently spear-headed a Festival of Strings contest which ended May 31. You can see pictures of the entries here. (In case you are wondering, I did not finish my quilt in time to enter the contest.)

I decided to make 10″ Saw Tooth Star blocks with string-pieced center squares. Foundation piecing on paper gave me a template-free method for constructing the center squares of the stars.


If you would like to try this string-piecing method, cut 5 1/2″ squares from thin paper and begin by placing a strip diagonally on the paper, right side up. Pin or glue stick in place. Then place a second strip, right sides together, aligning raw edges. Sew through the 2 layers of fabric and the paper with 1/4″ seam allowance, using a short stitch length.


Sew, flip outwards toward the square’s corners, and press…over and over again…until the 5 1/2″ paper square is covered with fabric strips.


Turn the square over so you can see the paper foundation and trim the square to measure 5 1/2.”


The paper foundation rips away easily due to the perforations of the sewing machine needle.

Typically, I choose light background fabrics, but I decided to experiment with a dusty, dark blue Moda Marble. I hoped  the stars would shine against the blue sky background. I am very pleased with the result!


Since the Saw Tooth Star blocks finish at 10,” the Flying Geese units finish at 2 1/2″ x 5″ and corner squares measure 2 1/2″ finished. I cut sashing strips 2 1/2″ wide, and star points for the sashing ends are 1 1/2″ squares (applied  like Snowball corners).

The quilt wasn’t quite lap-sized, and I still had plenty of strips and strings, so I decided to add a 5″ scrappy string-pieced border. The advantage of string-piecing on a paper foundation is that you can use short fabric strips, even those that taper. But I discovered string-piecing a border is much more time consuming than strip-piecing longer pieces of fabric and later cutting them in 5″ increments. I used both piecing methods for the border of this quilt.


After trimming the foundation-pieced border strips and cutting the strip-pieced units in 5″ increments, I positioned them “randomly” around the quilt on my design wall.


I sewed the units together and added a few 5″ strips at the ends to make them long enough. And then I sewed the borders to the quilt.


The quilt measures about 48″ x 60,” a good size to donate to a wounded warrior or hospitalized veteran.

I plan to quilt with blue thread to blend with the “sky” background. If you have a suggestion for a quilting design, leave a comment below.

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