Saturday, January 19, 2019

Basket of Strings to String Basket

Isn't that a lovely, tidy phrase: Basket of Strings to String Basket?  One can almost picture the Quilt Fairy waving a magic wand, and when the harp sounds diminish and the sparkly fairy dust settles—POOF!—there it is!

It sounds so much better than: To deal with the piles of scraps that couldn't be crammed into overflowing drawers, I sewed them together with no real plan, and eventually decided to make a basket block.

Guess which one is the more accurate description of how it went down this week?  

Hint:  Some people have cute baskets of fabric in their sewing rooms.  I am not one of those people.

Hint #2:  There was no magic wand involved.  Unless you count this gadget.

Yes, friends, I have piles (not that kind, thankfully).  Piles of scraps, piles of strings.  One rather large pile, in particular, of shirt strings.  Leftovers I've dangled above the trash but just couldn't let go. 

So I started sewing them end to end into slabs this week.  After making a few slabs, I thought maybe they might end up as a stacked coins quilt.  Which, come to think of it, is another variation on piles.  (Not that that's a bad thing; I do like coin quilts.)

Then somehow I got to looking at basket quilts on Pinterest.  I have long admired them, especially string baskets.  Haven't made one yet, though.  I also thumbed through a few string quilt books (also in a pile on the sewing table).  I saw a cute basket quilt in the same book, Simply Strings, that inspired the happy little quilt in the previous post.

Could I cut the baskets in the right size from from the slabs of shirt strings I had been randomly piecing?  Yes.  Yes, I could.

And so I did.  I tried one block.  Unfortunately, the first one was off in size (my error), so I had to take it apart.  I tried another.  It worked!

Now I'm on a roll.  I don't know if I'll follow the layout for the quilt in the book or do something else.  But I'm aiming for at least 12 blocks and will go from there.

I'm using some solid scraps for the "flower" parts, the HSTs above the string basket.  My box of solid scraps is overflowing; the hope is that I'll at least be able to close the lid on it once I've used some of them for this project.

A couple tips I've gleaned from making other string quilts:  First, freezer paper.  I tear off a large sheet and lightly press it, shiny side down, onto my ironing board.  This protects the ironing board cover from the next step, which is spray starch.  Starching the string slab helps stabilize it and keeps the pieces from shifting or stretching as you work with them.

I also made a template for the triangular shape of the basket out of freezer paper (cut a square, then cut on the diagonal, which gives you two triangular templates).  I press those onto the string slab and then take it over to the cutting mat to cut out the triangles, using the freezer paper template as my guide.  After you peel off the paper, you can reuse it several times.

Are you making something with strings? 

Linking to:  Confessions of a Fabric Addict - Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?


lvkwilt said...

I absolutely LOVE this! What a great idea! Thanks, too, for the hints on using freezer paper to cover the ironing board...I will definitely be doing this! Please keep posting this quilt cuz I'm anxious to see the finished product.

Quilting Babcia said...

Interesting idea! And I especially love that first basket you showed. Working on ideas for a string quilt right now, so many tutorials for various ones, but my main objective is not to need to tear off any paper!

The Joyful Quilter said...

I have SEW enjoyed this post, as I'm all for "keeping it real." Love, love, LOVE your new String Baskets/Baskets of Strings blocks!!! I'll bet you are pleased to have won out over the trash can. LOL

Rose said...

I like stacked coins too, but this a great alternative for strips.

Kaja said...

I wish I'd known about freezer paper on the ironing board before (ask me why!) This is a brilliant way to use up strings and scraps. Can't wait to see more.

Cathy said...

Shirts, strings, baskets...oh my! Wonderful idea!

QuiltGranma said...

Thank you! Love those ideas. I've used freezer paper to patch an ironing board what was wearing thin. Had not thought of it as a starch protector! Love your stringy baskets too. Hope it isn't copywrited!

Paulette said...

Thanks! The freezer paper gets a little wrinkly after a couple sprays, but there's more on the roll! :)