I try to complete one of my PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks) every month. Here it is nearly the end of April and I have only finished three. This quilt was actually the first PIG I completed in 2017 but I didn’t ever tell you about it so let me do that now.
String Theory was a joint project. A few months ago, Elijah, one of our adult sons, was staying with us and pretty bored during the day when both my husband and I were gone to work. He’s an artist and he likes to sew and make things so I decided to give him a project.
I have my fabric sorted and stored in large plastic tubs by color. I explained the process of string piecing and told him to choose a color scheme. I suggested choosing the color scheme based on which tubs were full and overflowing. He made 101 blocks with black and pink as the main colors with just a bit of purple.
I make string-pieced quilts fairly often. I love the look and I like that they can use up a lot of fabric depending on how wide I make the strings.
Here is one of my string-pieced quilts. Eye Teaser is in the May/June issue of McCall’s Quilting. The issue is available on newsstands, at your local quilt shop and at QuiltandSewShop.com in hard copy or digital format or the quilt pattern is available stand-alone in digital format.
When I make string-pieced blocks, I usually stitch my strings diagonally across the foundation so I can use strips of different lengths. I don’t measure. I just “eyeball” and my strings are at or very close to a 45-degree angle on the square foundation.
I didn’t tell Elijah that part of my process so his strings are at many different angles and what a difference that makes in the look. I love the not-so-structured look of Elijah’s quilt.
After Elijah made all those blocks, they spent a while mellowing in the sewing room. I thought perhaps he’d go ahead and sew them together but when I asked him, he said he’d rather not. He did help arrange them on my design wall.
We had the blocks on my design wall over the holidays and they just hung there. Then the holidays were over and they were still just hanging out on the design wall. Finally, just to get them out of the way, I stitched the blocks into rows and stitched the rows together. We had a quilt top.
Next I made the pieced back. That’s one of the really fun parts of quiltmaking for me. There is usually not a plan when I sew my pieced backs. I just start sewing and putting pieces on the design wall and make it up as I go along.
A number of years ago, Elijah and one of his brothers called each other Monkey and Donkey. (I have no idea how it started but it went on for months and months.) When I saw the monkey print fabric, I knew it would make Elijah and his brother smile so it became a featured fabric on the back of the quilt.
Because it’s a really big quilt and I wanted to finish it quickly, I decided to quilt with simple free-motion meandering. I know meandering is difficult for some people but I find it easy to do. It has an advantage in that I don’t have to rotate the quilt as much as I do with a more specific quilting design. I quilt on a domestic machine so rotating a queen-size quilt is not easy.
A fun detail I want to point out is the pocket. I frequently put pockets on my quilts. I started doing that when I had shirts I’d begun and never finished for my three oldest grandsons. I’d embroidered their names on pockets and stitched the pockets to the shirt fronts. Then I got sidetracked for so long the shirts wouldn’t fit anymore. I cut the shirts up for scrap quilts but I left the pockets in place and just made them part of the quilts. My family liked the pockets so I often include them in my quilts.
I just stitched the pocket in place after the quilting was finished. I do wish I’d used gray thread in the bobbin so the stitching wasn’t so obvious on the back of the quilt.
Do you see the little circles of stitches near the center at the top of the photo [below]? When I was quilting, I found an area where a seam was coming loose. I just quilted that little flower over the area so it wouldn’t come unsewn and it’s hardly noticeable on the front of the quilt.
String Theory is bound and finished. It’s one more PIG checked off the list. I have to get busy or I’ll never get the 4th PIG for the year finished in April.
Until next time, happy quilting!