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If you’re anything like me, you have a bucket/box/drawer/bag full of scraps that are too big to throw away, but too small to use for traditional piecing.  Faced with this and the need to “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” frugal quilters of the past created string piecing.  It’s fun, fast, and a solution to the guilt.  Follow me past the orange cheeze doodle and see how it’s done.

So…you’ll need some strings.

And you’ll need a foundation.  This can be phone book pages, newsprint (available in several sizes at craft stores), Dr’s exam table paper, muslin, lightweight fusible to name a few possibilities.  Printer paper can be used, but my understanding is that it’s sturdier than you want, which makes it hard for the needle and harder to de-paper.

Cut some foundations to the size you want (I did 6.5 x 7 inches; yeah, I misread the ruler) and reduce the stitch length on your machine - I use around 15 stitches per inch/1.5 mm – which helps with depapering.  

Then pick your first string and lay it right-side up from point-to-point.  

Pick your next string and place it right side down on the first string.  You want your strings to be some longer than the paper.  

Then sew the strips, on their foundation, together.  To keep thread ends under control I like to chain piece at least 2 pieces.


Snip the 1st piece off and press the top string open.  

Lay your next string right-side down.  When it comes to deciding which string to select, remember:  only the 2 strings being sewn together have to go together.
Continue adding strings.  When you get to an end I like to pick a nice large string so I have plenty for squaring up later.  

Then square up.
And depaper, if you used a removable foundation.  The small stitches make it easier to tear the paper off.
And you’ll have a block that can be treated as a piece of fabric; use as is or cut into smaller blocks.  

And here’s a simple quilt made from string blocks.  
string quilt final

Some more examples:
Bonnie Hunter’s String Fling

The Wool Sisters' String Quilt Revival

And Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s 15 Minutes of Play .  This uses crumbs more than strings, but is the same idea.  

I hope you've enjoyed this.

And as always, what have you been working on?

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