Nov 25 2016

With the advent of modern quick piecing methods, it’s easy to assume we time-pressed quilters invented all of our time-saving, stash-busting options. When it comes to string quilts, though, quilters long gone by, regularly used the pattern. Let’s look at some old and new variations.

FretNotYourself's Red Strings Blocks

Here’s a current example of a lovely set of blocks in progress, “Red String Blocks,” being worked by Ann of the web site and blog, “FretNotYourself.” Ann shares her design considerations as she has made a bunch of string blocks from her stash and, in her post, is deciding how they should be placed. You’ll enjoy working through her thought process when you go to her post, by clicking here.

marshastringfull Quiltville type

Bonnie Hunter is a great giver of gifts on her web site, Quiltville.com She features patterns, tutorials, quilters and their quilts while instructing us every step of the way. Marsha R’s “Scrap Boxes” quilt is a great teaching example for one method of making string quilts. Notice that the angle of the strips is set by the strip in the center of each block, which runs corner to corner. Remember the importance of the center strip in String Quilt blocks! Click here to follow along as Bonnie shares working a string quilt up from a box of scraps, to an eye catching beauty.

Sloppy String Quilts

If you have the string quilt bug, already, “Strips & Strings,” by Evelyn Sloppy is one of the best books I’ve found for increasing skills in a clear, easy format. By clicking on the photo of the book, above, you can go to Amazon and learn more, using my affiliate link.

Laura Fisher Quilts String Squares type 472 x 394

With this vintage string quilt, called, “String Squares,” by LauraFisherQuilts.com. we can see a different variation, as the center strip is not regular in width, but varies. As the blocks are aligned in straight sets, their center strips don’t have to match to form a secondary pattern. The strips can vary their width within the block and from block to block. It’s a happy, “free for all,” where everybody wins, with the ole’ stash box coming in first place. This quilt is for sale and can be seen on display in all of its glory here. Be sure to pack a lunch and set aside some time, because looking through Laura’s stock of antique quilts may distract you for a while.

TimQuilts Melon String Quilt 472 x 394 type

In this string quilt, Tim Latimer shows us how he takes older quilt blocks, trues them to their pattern and refurbishes them. His melon pieces were string pieced many years ago. Watching him rework this quilt, “Melon Piecing,” is inspiration to try string piecing with other non-conventional shapes. Strips can be sewn to a backing, then most any shape cut out. Yes! The prospect opens up a whole new world. You can follow along with Tim by going to his web site, TimQuilts.com found here.

Tim Quilts String Diamonds Pieces 472 x 394 type

Tim continues to share his vintage quilt collection showing a Spider Web quilt he’s re-doing. While the quilt, seen in its entirety, seems to be made up of large hexagons, it is actually string pieced diamonds. Notice that the center strip is of an even width, all the way across, and it is exactly the same width on each diamond. The even width of the center strip is what makes this quilt pattern a Spider web, while the one shown below, on Barbara Brackman’s web site is known as a, “Victorian Puzzle.”

Barbara Brackman String Pieced 472 x 394 type

The “Victorian Puzzle,” block  is made like the Spider Web, but the center strip varies in width from one side to the other. All of the diamond center strips, making up the hexagons, are carefully cut in the same way. The widths of the outer strips vary and are hit or miss, making for a scrappy look. The varying widths are anchored by the regularity of the repetitive, predictable center strip. Join Barbara as she discusses string quilt blocks cut in a diamond shape that form into hexagons by going here.  The subtle variations possible, with just a bit of adjustment, make for vastly different overall effects, using the same skills.

Here’s a video that shows several different string quilt methods. Maybe you’ll be trying one for your next quilt!

 

 Colleen Tauke, of Fons & Porter, demonstrates three different String Piecing patterns.

 

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Filed under: Quilting — admin @ 2:46 am Comments (0)
Jun 18 2014

Many sewers and quilters pride themselves on sewing without pins.

They somehow feel it elevates their command of the skill, demonstrating they are able to precisely feed fabric past a feed-dog at lightening speeds.

Nothing could be further from my truth. I use zillions of pins, the more the better, removing each one as it approaches the needle, having insured proper placement for the intended stitches. I need my pins. I love my pins. And, I wouldn’t work without them.

Pins Side w typeFive inch squares with side sashing pinned in place.

I feel secure with my pins, while I scoff at those who feel I’m below them in the quilting pecking order. Am I to be defined by my abundant use of pins? Are you who “do without” really, truly a better quilter? Isn’t the finished product, a rigid cross hatch of perfectly met corners and uncompromising 45º diagonals the true test of quilting merit? Are the biddy’s at the Quilt Shows with their half glasses pranced mid-nose able to qualify your work as “Sans Pins” upon inspection? Ha! I say not!

Pins Close up w typeGazillions of pins help make zillions of Quilt Squares.

So let me wallow with my pins in ignorant bliss, while feeling secure as to the outcome of my work. I stand firm in my belief that pinning prevents unexpected mix-ups, fly-aways and fall-aparts. No matter what happens to my quilting space, my in-progress work will be preserved. Not so with that reckless Latifah Saafir, the “Quilting Engineer,” who publicly sews “Glam” Clamshell Tops without pins holding the pieces together. Just take a gander at this:

Maybe you won’t break out in hives watching
this pin free video, but I did.

See? See? Did you see that? Amazing! But then, to my taste, I could pin that curved seam before the first notch pretty fast, then not have to futz with it while it’s in the machine. Everybody finds their own best way to do things, once basic skills are learned, so maybe I am talking to a legion of healthy, happy non-pinners. If so, I salute you, saying, “How would I know?”

Overview Pins w typeAh! Everything is in secure order.

But, as for me, I shall continue to revel in boxes, and boxes, of yellow headed quilting pins, loving them, tending to them, making sure they are dry and sharp, while ready for duty. I will lovingly make them pincushions, sharpen them with emory and promise never to leave them alone in the damp. For, as my pins go, so goes my sewing. And, that’s the truth!

So, ‘fess up! Are you a pinner? Non-pinner? Or fall somewhere in between? I promise not to take it personally.

Let me know by Commenting below, Tweeting to @SunbonSmart or following SunbonnetSmart on Instagram. The whole world is waiting!

 Sewing wihtout pins

Sewing Without Pins for Everyone

 

"Forever Tiled" by SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mugs
“Forever Tiled” by SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mugs by SunbonnetSmart

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure SunbonnetSmartsters to her BlogHer.com profile, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page



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Filed under: Quilting,Roof — admin @ 11:59 pm Comments (1)
Nov 25 2010

The Santa Sock Doll
An inexpensive endearment from the 1940s

Before mass advertising turned us into mass consumers, many things were made at home with love. Most women knew how to sew and many men did as well. Often, there was more time than money. Just as often, there wasn’t much time, but people weren’t toxic with chemicals and poor food. They had more energy with fewer complaints because they ate nutritious, natural foods that fueled the body, not lined the pockets of big business. With more energy, they were able to work long hours to make the things they needed whenever possible.

It is important to get back to eating those nutrient dense foods today. It is also important to take time to create and give to our loved ones objects of caring and love. We need to reassess what is important to us. Is emotionally leaving a child behind, so to speak, to fend for themselves while we work two jobs just to have the latest car model is the better thing to do?. Or, would it be better to ride the bus even, and spend that time with the family, while financially paring down “wants to needs.” It’s just a thought. It’s something worth mulling over, because once one realizes that everything we do is a choice, we can take better control of our lives. In really thinking about what is important to us, we can redefine our priorities and make sure our lives are the best for what we want out of them!

So, for me, creating has become very important as an affirmation of my life plan. And, it seems, the patterns used by people whose values mirror my own speak loudly to me.  I just love old patterns and styles that solidly ground me to a frugal use of money and time for what I, and those I love, get out of it. A bigger bang for the buck, is what I’m talkin’ about!

With that all in mind, Sunbonnet Smart is pleased that soon we will be presenting the first of our Sunbonnet Smart Patterns. We hope everyone will be able to afford buying our patterns to make something useful and share a gift of love. Sunbonnet Smart Patterns will be available for the 1970s price of 99cents for a pdf download you print out yourself. Low cost, great style with easy access is what Sunbonnet Smart is all about. That and enjoying the process of life.

Check back with us often and jump into the fun!

Sock Dolls are a fun “blast from the past.”
If making one of these inexpensive bundles of
love interests you, just hover your mouse over
the link below to preview this book:

Adorable Sock Dolls to Make & Love



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Filed under: Money,Opportunities — admin @ 6:30 pm Comments (0)
Oct 15 2010

Have you ever look closely at a zipper
and wondered what the YKK stands for?

Anyone who sews and inserts zippers into clothing has probably noticed the YKK on the zipper tab. And anyone who wears zippers and has the time to contemplate theirs with an eagle eye has probably noticed the YKK as well. But, why is it there? What does it stand for? These are some of the pressing issues of our times.
Well, suffer no longer. You have a right to know that the YKK found on every zipper stands for the man who founded Yoshida Industries Limited, intent on conquering the world’s zipper market and bringing it to its knees. In 1934, Yoshida’s founder, Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha, had a beautiful philosophy in that he considered something as seemingly utilitarian as a zipper to be integral to the whole of mankind in a very important way.
Mr. Kabushikikaisha believed in the “Cycle of Goodness” meaning that everyone prospers when one provides a service that is of benefit. In other words, Mr. Kabushikikaisha decided to provide the best zipper he possibly could for the price and not cut corners. Rather than count on zippers wearing out and needing to be replaced to gain market share, he decided to provide a zipper that would last as long as possible and be the best with its intended purpose.
His zipper would benefit the manufacturers who bought them from him and the customers who, in turn, bought their clothes from the manufacturers. This goodness would eventually cycle back to his company and it did work just the way he envisioned. Today Yoshida Industries is the world’s foremost manufacturer of zippers, making about 90% of all of them. There are over 206 facilities making YKK zippers in 52 countries. Here, in  the United States, Yoshida Industries in the State of Georgia makes over seven million zippers A DAY!
If you are interested in learning more about the zipper and its benefactor, click here.


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Filed under: Clothes,Sewing Tips — admin @ 2:37 pm Comments (0)
Sep 21 2010

Have you been frustrated while trying to sew for yourself or family? Well, I can understand. I experienced this disableing emotion quite a bit when I was learning sewing as a child. The patience it took to plod incrementally through a sewing project, “do this, then this, then this” was so didactic for someone who loved colors and wanted to combine them to see the final effect. I wanted to hurry up and get things finished!

Talk about SHABBY! Kitty says she never worries about
construction technique and gets along just fine.

But how did that finished project look? Well…a little shabby and homemade, I suppose. And so, for a while my sewing efforts abated while I finished high school, disappointed that I “couldn’t sew” no matter “how hard I tried.” Then, I was facing going to college on my own and stayed out a year, between high school and college, to make money and sew clothes. But! I had to face lots of demons to conquer my bad attitude about sewing for myself. I decided I had to change and, where before, I was sewing seams by eye that looked like 5/8.” now I was going to measure every seam line and draw it on the wrong side of the fabric with a pencil. That was what I decided to do and that is what I did.

Home sewing saves money and allows a greater selection of style.

And it worked! First I made a pair of culottes, then blouses, dresses, skirts and all sorts of things to wear. At the time, in the early 1970s, I could get on a bus, go to J.C. Penny’s and buy, on the clearance rack, a yard of fabric for 33 cents! So, needing three yards of fabric for a dress, I could make a dress for a dollar.

But, don’t fret, once you get into sewing, if you’re not already, you’ll find the savings are proportionally just as great today.

You’ll find the more you visit Sunbonnet Smart, the
more you’ll want to create things yourself. It’s fun!

Come back for lessons, patterns and a guiding hand.



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Filed under: Clothes,Lessons — admin @ 8:37 pm Comments (0)
Aug 25 2010

Dresses from times past are coming back in style.
They are flattering, feminine and tasteful.

Sunbonnet Smart is a working blog. In other words, we won’t just sit and talk with you all morning at the kitchen table. I am personally going to take you into my sewing room to look around and have fun. And, by the way, accomplish lots of work in the process. I want to be sure and pass on my hints and tips on clothing construction, quilt making and interior design, so I will be sharing patterns I have created from my collection of vintage looks and styles. Right now, we are fine tuning the workings of the Blog, but when the dust settles, we will be posting lots and lots of patterns for you to download. Based on the idea that “they just don’t make things like they used to,” Sunbonnet Smart will help you economize on your fabric goods and enjoy the process.



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Filed under: Clothes,Patterns — admin @ 6:23 pm Comments (0)

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