Monday, March 8, 2010

Glimpses of Spring & Strings

The snow has been melting little by little every day, and the patches of bare ground are expanding. This morning, I heard a robin.

March is a fickle month in the upper Midwest. It can be 45 degrees one day and a blizzard the next. Kind of like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get. Eventually, though, you get spring.

I took some time yesterday and today to work up a block for a quilt I've had my eye on for a while. It is pictured in a book called String Quilts with Style, by Bobbie Aug and Sharon Newman, and it's just that--a picture. There are no instructions for this particular quilt; it's just a gallery example of an awesome string quilt.

Personally, I think ALL string quilts are awesome. I've never met one I didn't like--a lot. I feel the same way about pinwheel quilts.

I should mention, then, that this quilt is not just a string quilt. It's a pinwheel string quilt. In fact, it's a double pinwheel string quilt!

Without written instructions and just a photo as a reference, I was left to fly by the seat of my pants. I busted out the old plastic protractor to determine the angle of the double pinwheel. Twenty degrees was about right. Then I did some futzing around with cardboard templates and basic geometry.

Thankfully, I did not have to bust out the Pythagorean theorem. Because I totally would have had to Wikipedia that.

There are more bias edges in this thing than I'm used to, so I am trying to be extra careful with sewing and pressing along those edges. I am piecing the strings on old phone book pages as a foundation, cut to 8-1/2 inches square. In case you're wondering (as I was) whether the ink on those pages transfers or smears, it does not, even with repeated pressing. The paper tears off nicely too.

Looks like I'm going to have to keep a closer eye on the inner points of the red pinwheels.

So it's off to a somewhat fiddly start, but I think it's going to be worth it.


  1. When I saw your block, I immediately thought of the windmills in Holland. I can't wait to see the rest of it.

    Have you started the applique for the Chinese lanterns?

  2. Wow, you have a winner here! Looks like a good idea!

  3. You are soooo creative. I love this! The red was the perfect choice here.

  4. Wow! That block is totally awesome! You are going to post step by step directions for the rest of us at some point aren't you? (Hint, hint!)

    You know, I wouldn't have even notice that the center was ever so slightly off if you hadn't pointed it out. The string portion of the block draws the eye away from such little things.

  5. What a wonderful block! I have not yet attempted a string...I see a to-do list add!!

  6. Wow, this block is awesome. Please, oh please do a tutorial someday. PLEASE!!!

    I love pinwheels, and would love to make a string quilt one day.



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