Friday, October 19, 2018

String Blocks for Hurricane Michael

Yesterday, I made some early morning visits to a few Midweek Makers #145 link ups, reading and commenting on the works in progress. But a link up from Elana at That Fabric Feeling hit me more than any of the others:  
hers was a call for string blocks to make quilts for those affected by Hurricane Michael in Florida



This just seemed like the right project at the right time. I knew I had some orphan strips, and I always have scraps (who doesn't!), plus I wanted a sewing diversion.

Looking through the orphan strips gave me a chance to sort them by color, with green being the most dominate. Add in my scraps, plus some cotton broadcloth for a foundation (the big green chunk in the upper right corner), and off I went to sew.


green scrap pile of strips

In Elana's post, she provides a link to a Craftsy string block tutorial, which suggested a lightweight foundation fabric versus paper. Personally, I find ripping out paper a big pain in the you-know-what! So, given that I have more colored cotton broadcloth than plain muslin stashed away, this was a perfect opportunity to use it. 

By the way, it's easy to tell if your fabric has polyester in it, as most inexpensive broadcloth's do. Hit that fabric with a hot iron, and then smell it. Polyester has a particular, distinct chemical smell - once you smell it, you'll know it. (For some funny reason, it's a smell one can find in your local Goodwill - lot's of polyester stuff dumped there.)

Anyway, cotton will not smell. Of course, you could do the burn test: take a few strings of the fabric in question, and in a safe, fireproof area, set a match to it. If the strings turn to ash, it's cotton. If they melt into a glob, it's polyester. Oh you've learned so much today!

So let's get back to those string blocks. After tacking down the first strip with acid-free glue, the next strip was sewn on, then pressed open.


sewing first two strips on a string quilt block



first two strips on a string quilt block

More strips got added to fill the whole 11" square.


string quilt block ready for trimming

Then, from the backside, the block got trimmed to 10 1/2".


string quilt block

Notice how the corners are rather small pieces? They tended to want to fly up, but I stitched them into peaceful submission with an 1/8" from the edge line of stitching, just on one side, to keep things square when the blocks are joined together.


tacking down quilt block corners

And because I still had plenty of strips left, I made 5 more blocks for a total of 6 to send off.


six string quilt blocks

These are already in the mail, on their way to the UMW Quilting Group, to be assembled into a quilt. You, too, can support this group's project by making 10 1/2" string blocks and mailing them to:



UMW Quilting Group - Hurricane Quilt Drive
Aldersgate United Methodist Church
6610 Vaughn Road  
Montgomery, Alabama 36116

Be sure to read Elana's Hurricane Michael post to find out more!

And that pile of scraps? Again, the before:


scrap pile before


The after.


remaining pile of scraps and strips

Still doesn't look like there's a dent in it, does it? It just always amazes me at how much a pile of scraps can produce!

Happy Quilting!


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13 comments:

  1. I have already made some blocks for another Hurricane Drive, and am making some for this one as well. Thanks for telling us about it. Your green fabrics and blocks are pretty. green is my favorite color.

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  2. Great idea Susan, thank you for sharing the address!

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    1. We should really thank Elana - I'm just helping to spread the word.

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  3. What great blocks. I'll definitely go look for the information to see how I can participate, too. And scraps never seem to get smaller, do they?!

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    1. Thanks Yvonne! This was a perfect little distraction project. I can see why they say these blocks are addictive, cause I had 6 done in 2 hours. Just the right amount of time I wanted to spend.

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  4. Thanks, Susan, for the update on the blocks,and the hint about stitching down the corner strips.

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  5. Thanks for your tip to use glue to "pin" the first piece in place. I either use straight pins or just lay it down and take a chance it won't move. I've made lots of these strings for donation quilts for other organizations, too.

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    1. The glue works wonders, and it only needs a little bit. I just put a little dab at the ends and center - no need to overdo it.

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  6. Glue is wonderful! I use it a lot in stitching. I've not done any string blocks, but this is a great cause and good reason to start. Thanks for the inspiration! This church is only about 70 miles from my home. I need to get busy and help!

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  7. It's going to be really pretty and well loved! Thanks for showing this. I did something similar many years ago, but I'd forgotten what I did exactly!

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  8. Thanks for the hint regarding stitching down the “flippy” little corners. Great idea. I’m off to make some string blocks!

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  9. Yep, scraps piles just never seem to get smaller do they? String blocks are so great. Thanks for the tip on using glue to hold that center string!

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  10. This is great! My scraps just seem to multiple. I like that you sew the flap at the end too, great idea!

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Thank you so much for commenting...you just made my day!