Friday, March 29, 2019

Making a Strip Pieced Sailboat

Today I thought I'd share how I did some improv piecing to make the sailboat in Seafarer. There's currently no pattern for the boat, though I could write one if there's enough interest.

improv string sailboat by QuiltFabrication

When making string blocks, a lot of quilters like to use a foundation upon which to stitch their strings to, mainly so they have a block outline to follow. I've done that before, using both paper, which I hated ripping out, and a lightweight fabric foundation, adding extra weight.

So this time, I decided to just wing it, and use a ruler as a guide. After each strip was sewn on, the seams were pressed to give me a better idea of how well I was filling the block space outlined by the ruler.

block size determined by the ruler

Some may think this is easy, rather mindless sewing, but not for me. Each strip in the block was planned out so that the appearance of large areas of either light or dark values wouldn't happen, causing a distraction. I find piecing string blocks to be just a challenging as any other block!

For the sailboat, I started with a darker ocean under the boat, as if it was casting a shadow.

boat and water complete with shadow underneath

After string piecing sails, the mast was placed with one side on the center line. From memories of my Dad's boat, I know that one sail is smaller than the other. With the help of a Tri-Recs ruler, the little sail is cut.

making the sails for the boat

And a corresponding angle is cut from ocean strips, to fill in the remaining block area on that side.

piecing the sail and the sea

Turns out, I didn't make the ocean strips long enough, so some of this set got replaced. But now I have two pieces with the correct angle to stitch together for the small sail side.

small sail for the sailboat

Before sewing it all together, it needs a quick check to see how it's coming together.

sailboat almost done

With a little bit of ocean to add in under the small sail, I can stitch it all together and trim, right? 

But the boat spanning the entire strip, from block edge to block edge, looks odd. The boat in this picture is close to what my Dad had,

                                     real sailboat
and the front of the boat does not go beyond the small sail. My boat needs some trimming! That's pretty easy - it's just like joining pieces together to make binding, double checking that the angle is right!

trimming down the boat

Ah, much better.

sailboat stitched and ready for trimming

Now to sew it all together, and trim to the 9.5" x 9.5" block size, keeping the strips horizontal, and the right side of the mast at the block point for maximum sail size on the right.

finished sailboat string block

Ta-da! Not bad for an improv sailboat, huh? Have you ever done any improv piecing to make a flower, animal, bug, or something else to fit into a quilt? If so, tell us about it in the comments below - I'd love to hear!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Midweek Makers #168

Welcome to Midweek Makers! I hope you've been enjoying all of the string/scrap projects on the All About String Hop. I showed off mine, Seafarer, on Monday,

sailboat on the Seafarer quilt by QuiltFabrication

and now I'm working on another, smaller quilt, for a hop featuring Bonnie Hunter's book, String Frenzy (affiliate link), coming April 4-10.

string/scrap blocks for a Bonnie Hunter quilt

So, this week I'm honoring those quilts with a large variety of fabrics in them. From Chris Knits Sews,


from Cheeky Cognoscenti,


from Not Afraid of Color,


from Melva Loves Scraps,


from Princess Bubbles Creates,


and from Grace and Peace Quilting.


Now it's your turn to share!
  • Please link directly to your specific post, not your main blog page.
  • Visit and leave a comment to two links: the one before and the one after your own. Everyone loves visitors, comments, and encouragement!
  • Bring a friend! Invite your fellow bloggers to the party by spreading the word! 
  • Please link to in your post or on your sidebar with the Midweek Makers badge
Have a great time at the party!

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Monday, March 25, 2019


Introducing a new lap/twin quilt, Seafarer

Seafarer string quilt by QuiltFabrication

my string quilt creation for the All About Strings Blog Hop hosted by Carla at Creatin' In the Sticks. Isn't it an ocean of string beauty???

Before I tell you more about Seafarer, I must share the list of the other awesome quilters participating in the Strings Hop:

                                           All About Strings Blog Hop Schedule

Monday, March 25th

Tuesday, March 26th

Wednesday, March 27th

Now on to how Seafarer came to be.

The design of this quilt, mostly the concept of strings to depict an ocean and with a lone sailboat, was dreamed up at around 4 in the morning. Yes, I'm usually awake that early, either creating, like that morning, or getting ready to go for a swim workout. 

sailboat block in the Seafarer quilt by QuiltFabrication

Fabric, both scraps and yardage, was pulled, and a few string blocks made to see if this vision was going to work. That's the sneak peek I showed early last week.

beginning ocean blocks for the Seafarer quilt

Still undecided as to whether this would be a baby quilt size, or lap/twin, more blocks were made, including the sailboat, and continually rearranged on the design wall.

more quilt blocks for the Seafarer quilt

Then it hit me - the reality that my son was leaving within weeks for a 27 month tour with the Peace Corps. Since he had already asked to take a quilt with him, this would be perfect for him - a lap/twin size it would be!

Since it was still in the works, he got to choose the batting, a soft 80/20, and also the backing. For that, I happened to have 4-5 yards of an aqua/blue flannel purchased years ago, just waiting for a water themed project. Perfect!

sailboat and flannel backing on the Seafarer quilt

Quilting was a fast and easy freehand wave design, done in around 2 hours.

freehand wave quilting on the Seafarer quilt

We had fun tossing around names for this quilt - my favorite from him was "Damn it, does this ocean ever end???". But that's quite long, so we chose the more simpler, Seafarer. It suits his adventurous spirit, and the unknown experiences yet to discover. 

Will I miss him? Yes, but he's a young man now, ready to set off on an adventure of life after college. Twenty-seven months may seem like a long time, but it will pass quickly, and I know that an awesome man will come back. And ya, I'll miss the quilt too.

Update: to see how I made the sailboat, check out the Making a Strip Pieced Sailboat post!

Happy String Quilting and enjoy the rest of the hop!

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Friday, March 22, 2019

More String/Scrap Blocks

How is it that scraps just never seem to disappear, no matter how hard we try to use them??? I spent 6 hours making 30 5" scrap blocks, and there wasn't even a small dent in the scrap pile.

scraps and small scrap blocks

I keep all of my scraps in color sorted zip lock bags,

zip lock bags full of scrap fabric

and there's still a ton left. I put the rotary cutter in the picture to give a size perspective, and even I was amazed at how large my scrap pile had grown again.

I had used some of the blues and aquas for the All About Strings project coming Monday, with this sneak peak I showed in an earlier string post.

blue and aqua string blocks

Of course, using scraps to make blocks is not new to me - I've done it several times. Last year, Regatta was one of my favorites,

Regatta Quilt

along with Saxon, which now has a new home,

Saxon scrap quilt by QuiltFabrication

and a favorite wall hanging for spring, Scraplicious Florabunda

Scraplicious Florabunda by QuiltFabrication

a Pinterest favorite for the quilting.

Scraplicious Florabunda quilting detail in the border

I've also written a couple tutorials on sewing string/scrap blocks using a foundation:
Making Fabric,
Playing For More Than 15 Minutes,
String Blocks for Hurricane Michael.

Or, I've been brave and not used a foundation, as for the blue/aqua string blocks, using only a 9 1/2" square ruler, 

string block in progress using a ruler

or just stitching pieces together to make this slab block, which got cut into four smaller blocks.

scrap slab quilt block

Of course, there are other scrap options if all of this seems like a lot of work (sometimes I think it is!). Check out Recycling Scrap Fabric the Easy Way if you're drowning in scraps, like I am!

No matter what happens to those scraps, have a great weekend quilting!

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Midweek Makers #167

Welcome to Midweek Makers - come share what you're working on! 
I'll share another sneak peek of my string quilt,

easily joined binding ends on a new strings quilt

though this picture is more of a refresher on how to easily join binding ends - check out the tutorial to learn how. And besides, I can't give away the whole quilt until Monday!

This week I'm going with a star theme, not only because there were several starry quilt projects linked up, but because there has been a lull in the rain. That means clear skies for star viewing - I'm really star-struck!

From Cherie's Quilting Journey, these pretty six-pointed stars, 


from Run n Stitch, these pretty stars made by a student,


and this pretty UFO runner, in a couple of my favorite colors, from Quilting Gail.

Now it's your turn to share!

  • Please link directly to your specific post, not your main blog page.
  • Visit and leave a comment to two links: the one before and the one after your own. Everyone loves visitors, comments, and encouragement!
  • Bring a friend! Invite your fellow bloggers to the party by spreading the word! 
  • Please link to in your post or on your sidebar with the Midweek Makers badge
Have a great time at the party!

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You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Monday, March 18, 2019

String Quilts in Progress

Phew - I think I'm due for a vacation! The last couple weeks have been go, go, go for me and the sewing machine - we're both working overtime! It started with the Going In Circles quilt, then the Clover Field Runner, and the final finish of the Mediterranean Rose quilt

Now I'm off in a new direction, with a couple projects in the works using strings - here's a sneak peek of the first one.

string quilt project by QuiltFabrication

The top is almost done - I just need to figure out how to piece an important element within the confines of the 9.5" square. And no, I'm not telling what that element is - I'm saving that for a later post! And if it all works out, the big reveal of this quilt is next Monday, my day of the All About Strings Blog Hop, hosted by Creatin' In the Sticks.

The second string project hasn't gotten off the ground yet, and it will be a pattern from Bonnie Hunter's new book, String Frenzy (affiliate link). See what she started??? Strings and more strings!

Of course, string quilts aren't new to me as I've done several over the years. In 2018, Raspberry Cheesecake was my own curvy improv quilt design based on techniques from the book Modern Improv (affiliate link).

Raspberry Cheesecake by QuiltFabrication

And in 2017, Stock Market was my own design as a scrap buster, and is available as an intermediate quilt pattern in both a lap and twin size.

Stock Market by QuiltFabrication

Going back a bit further, to 2016, there's this easy baby quilt, A Quilt to Give, from Nancy Zieman's Quick Column Quilts book (affiliate link).

Quilt to Give from Quick Column Quilts by Nancy Zieman

There's more string quilts scattered throughout the years, but those are just a few of the highlights. There's still more to come with updates to all of my current string adventures throughout the next couple weeks - stay tuned!

Happy Quilting!

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