Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What I'm Working On

I'm string piecing flying geese. What a great way to use up some small strips of fabric! Bonnie Hunter posted a pic on her blog of a fabulous vintage quilt here earlier last month, and I just loved it so much I couldn't get it out of my mind. String piecing is the perfect "mindless sewing" project for the hectic holidays, and I for sure have plenty of small pieces that need to be used, so why not??

The problem with seeing the picture on someone's blog is that I didn't have any idea what size the geese needed to be, so I decided to just wing it and make my geese 4" tall and 8" wide. That way it wouldn't take so many to make a reasonable size strippy quilt like the one in Bonnie's picture. You could cut squares to sew the strings to and then cut each square into four triangles, but I want to be able to use the shorter strips that keep left behind on other string piecing projects.

Here's a tutorial on how I am making mine: For the foundations you can use just about any paper or lightweight fabric like muslin. I like the advertising inserts from the Sunday newspapers. The slick shiny ones. They hold up to the small stitches and are pretty easy to tear loose. Whatever you use, cut it into squares 1-1/4" larger than you want the width of the geese. Since I wanted 8" wide geese, I cut my papers 9-1/4 x 9-1/4".

Then slice the squares from corner to corner to create four equal triangles.

Select a string and lay in right side up on the middle of the triangle. I pin the first string to keep it from slipping.

Add another string face down on top of the pinned one aligning the edge.

Shorten your stitch length a little (I use 1.8) and sew a scant quarter inch seam down the aligned edge.
Now open the strip so that both are right side up and press the seam. Here's what mine looks like after pressing.

Continue adding stips by aligning a new piece with the outstide edge of the last one added.
Here are some finished geese--not trimmed yet. See how great these are for using up short stips of fabric?
I generally don't trim mine until I have sewn all the geese, but I just flip the piece over so that the paper is showing, line up the ruler edge with the edge of the paper foundation, and trim the excess off with the rotary cutter. The seam allowances were already figured into the size of the foundation, so they don't need to be added when trimming.

If I use six rows of geese like the original quilt maker did, with three inch sashings in between strips and five inches for the borders, my quilt will be 73" wide. If I use 18 geese per stip, my quilt will be 82" long. (18 x 4" + two 5" borders) Six rows of 18 flying geese means I need 108 string pieced geese. That is why I opted to make mine 4" x 8", bigger geese means less needed for a quilt top.

Stay tuned for more--once I can find the right color solids to complete the flying geese and add the solid stips, I'll write a post about that step.

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