How are you progressing on our Second Quarter’s challenge of cutting up your scraps into usable squares and strips? Just when I think I’m about finished cutting through one scrap container, another bag or box that needs attention surfaces. I am definitely going to need a new rotary cutter blade!
Beneath my sewing table sits an overflowing bag of strips and strings which I am gradually sorting by color into a large, shallow, plastic container. Most of the strips are too narrow to cut into squares. (The smallest square I save is 1 1/2.”) However, these strips are perfect for string-piecing projects, and I recently saw a “Churn Dash” comprised of lots of tiny, scrappy squares and rectangles on the Crazy Mom Quilts blog that I wanted to try. Do check out Amanda Jean’s blog post – her Churn Dash blocks are really cute!
I decided to construct the multi-fabric rectangles by string-piecing on a phone book paper foundation. I trimmed the width of the papers to 6 1/2″ and sewed and flipped, sewed and flipped, until the paper was covered. Of course, I decreased my stitch length so the paper would be easier to remove. I decided to make 4 blocks, and figured I could cross-cut each fabric covered page in four equal pieces. Since each “Churn Dash” requires 4 rectangles, I needed 4 foundation papers.
Prior to removing the paper, I sliver-trimmed the width to 6 1/2″ and divided the height of the phone book page by 4. I found I could cross-cut the string-pieced fabric in 2 3/4″ segments. After cross-cutting and removing the foundation paper, I cut 2 1/4″ x 6 1/2″ white rectangles and sewed them to the 2 3/4″ x 6 1/2″ string-pieced units, pressing toward the white rectangles. Since these patchwork units measure 4 1/2″ x 6 1/2,” I cut 6 1/2″ white block center squares and made a total of 16 black/white half square triangles that measure 4 1/2,” unfinished. On my worktable, I laid out the components of the blocks and assembled them in three rows of three units each.
It was fun to see these four blocks come together! I gave them some “personal space,” separating them with white sashing and surrounding them with a white border. With so many strips and strings on hand, a scrappy string-pieced border is in order. I’ll post a picture of the finished quilt in a week or two.
Have you tried string piecing on a paper foundation? What have you found to be the pros and cons?