Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Thursday 4 September 2008

Celebrating 15 Years On The Net

Anyone remember what they were doing this time 15 years ago? I sure do…! In April 1993 we purchased our first computer, a huge beast running state of the art Windows 3.1. How exciting! My quilting career was well into its fifth year and I decided I needed a web site. Since I’m one of those people who think they can do everything themselves, I set about learning how to make my web site. For weeks on end I hoarded every piece of information on coding html that I could lay my hands on (WYSIWYG editors were few and far between). Online tutorials were also scarce but by using the major search engines of those pre-Google days (Altavista, HotBot and the shiny new Northern Lights) I unearthed several how-to sites and printed off the info. I studied in bed late at night after the boys were asleep; I ate, slept and dreamed html, determined to get my site up and running.My ISP (iStar in those days) provided free webspace for their clients and instructions on how to upload pages. Windows 3.1 had a built-in database of usable web backgrounds and I chose a grey one which resembled wrinkled paper. I uploaded my first page in Sept. ’93; a mere three months later I figured out how to get a picture on the page to replace those frustrating broken image holders… As awful as that first site was -one single page which scrolled on and on forever…much like this blog post- it afforded me the distinction of being one of the very first Canadian quilt sites on the web. We’ve come a long way, baby! To thank you for your interest and support over these years, I invite you to share in my 15th web-anniversary celebrations. We’ll push aside some of the piles of scraps which have accumulated from the various projects over the last 20 years and make room to party. We'll have food and fun and give-aways, so check back often. Let's start with instructions for a super quick and easy apron to use up some of those scraps...
One of the places the Internet has brought me is to an incredible online guild of Cyberquilters. Last year members “Mary & Paul” of Arizona conducted a fun workshop on string quilts. I had several leftover blocks from that weekend and will share with you how I fashioned them into an apron:
Apron Strings

Materials Required:
Lots and lots of scraps, in a rainbow of sizes and colours.
24-1/2” x 30-1/2” cotton print for lining
3 strips each 4” x WOF (width of fabric)
3/4 yard muslin (or other foundation material)
Velcro 2” x 1”
Sewing thread to match
Finished Size of Apron: 24” x 30”
Finished Block Size: 6”
Number of Blocks: 18
Note: 1/4” seam allowance is used in the construction of the apron.
To Make the String Blocks: Fabric strips are pieced onto background foundations (I used muslin for my foundation, but any leftover fabric pieces may be used as they will not show. Just make sure the foundation fabric you use is all the same weight. Otherwise your apron may hang lopsided…and people will think that’s you.)
Cut 18, 6-3/4” foundation squares

Assemble your scraps, using a variety of colours, lengths and strip widths. If you need to cut your fabric into strips, aim for a range from about 3/4” to 3” wide. Lengths are trimmed as you go.

String piece blocks as shown in photo below. Begin by placing the first strip right side up near the centre of the foundation on the diagonal. Lay the second strip with right sides together on top of the first strip and sew along the long edge. Flip this piece back to the right side and press. Continue adding strips to both sides of the beginning strip until the foundation is covered. Repeat to make 18 blocks. Trim each block to 6-1/2” square.
The back of your blocks will look like this; you can see the strips are all different widths.
Lay out 16 blocks as shown, 2 rows of 2 blocks and 3 rows of 4 blocks. To Form Corner Triangles:
Cut remaining 2 blocks in half 1/4” past the centre diagonal. To do this, line up the 1/4” line on your ruler from corner to corner; cut 1/4” past this.
The piece you trim off is discarded (but don’t really discard it: sew the 2 discards together to form a new, smaller block for your next project!) Place corner triangles at ends of rows of second row of blocks as shown. Sew blocks together in rows, then sew rows together.
To Make Ties: Cut 3 strips of fabric each 4” wide across the width. To clean finish an end on each strip, fold under 1/4” on one end; press. Fold strip in half lengthwise and press, making sure folded short end is tucked neatly inside. Open up and fold raw edges in to meet at the fold along the middle. Press, then fold in half again along original crease and press again. Repeat for remaining ties. Topstitch along both long edges. Cut each strip approximately 24” long. Sew ties to sides where indicated, about 1/2” down from top edge of side. Sew neck tie to left side of apron block approximately 1/2” in from outside edge.
Place apron on lining right sides together and pin. Sew around outside edges in a 1/4” seam, leaving an opening along bottom edge approximately 8” long for turning. Turn right side out; press.
Pin opening closed and topstitch around entire outer edge of apron, approximately 1/8” from edge. Fit neck tie for length and mark with a pin. Sew Velcro to lining and strap at pin marks. Ta Da!! Here's your finished apron (no, silly, that isn't me; that's my newel post...) I couldn't find a live willing model; any volunteers?
Thank you Cyberquilters Mary and Paul for the inspiration and thank you all for helping me celebrate. (Who's bringing the dip?)


  1. Thank you for the beautiful apron tutorial! That is one of the BEST aprons I've ever seen. What quilter wouldn't want to own one?!

  2. Your string apron is fabulous. I may have to try that. Great photos and instructions. Thanks.

  3. Congratulations, and the apron is wonderful.

  4. This is great for using up scraps and one of my favorite patterns! I am just finishing mine and will share it with my quilt guild next week! Thanks for a great idea!

  5. What a terrific tutorial!! I want to make one for myself and EACH ONE OF MY FRIENDS !! :) Thank you so very, very much! I'm also planning on making your knitting needle holder and holiday placemats! You're the BEST! Thanks again.