Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Monday, 15 August 2011

String Theory Realized

The String Theory quilt is all finished.
Polly was a big help in checking for errant thread ends which needed to be tied and clipped.
I love sewing string quilts. No two ever look the same, and they are a fabulous (and mindless) way to use scraps. As always, I began with an old phone book as foundation for this project. The lap quilt layout is 6 blocks across by 8 down, so I tore out 48 pages and cut them roughly into 8-3/4" squares. I used fabric strips leftover from my Log Cabin X quilt, as well as some red scraps. Strips were cut into random widths, varying from 1" to 2-1/2". I began with a blue strip right side up diagonally across the centre of the paper. A second blue strip was sewn right sides together with this strip, and a red strip sewn to the opposite side. Sewing a strip to either side of the centre at the same time made the blocks go together quickly. The strips were flipped to to the right side at the same time, and pressed in one operation. Then it was back to the machine to add two more strips and so on until the foundation was covered. Blocks were trimmed to 8-1/2" square, giving a finished block size of 8" and a quilt 48" x 64". Pictures of this process may be seen on a previous post on string placemats.

Polly and I settled on this layout for the blocks:

As this is a dorm quilt intended for a young man headed into a discipline requiring mathematics and physics, it seemed appropriate to use a geometric spiral as a quilt design. Hearts and flowers would not be appropriate here! The square spirals are stitched in a wave pattern, another element familiar to a budding physicist.Oh, oh...Polly spotted another thread end...The date and the recipient's name were free motion quilted in one of the blocks. I used red Wonderfil Konfetti - a 50 wt. cotton thread - for the red blocks and YLI blue variegated Ultrasheen for the blue blocks.After handstitching the binding in place, Polly and I took the quilt outside yesterday to photograph.Polly took on the responsibility to meter the light, and check for any stray catnip mice on the premises. (She's the black blob near the top of this tree.)

No mice were spotted and Polly gave the all-clear, so we proceeded with the pictures. Thanks for all your help, Polly; it only took twice as long with your input :)


  1. That's a stunning quilt. You've taken string quilting to a new level of gorgeous!

  2. It is gorgeous Karen. I love making string quilts.

  3. That is just beautiful. I love it! The quilting really adds to it too. Love the spirals.

  4. Really Neat quilt Karen. Have given me some ideas for the cancer quilts, although I would have to be quilting when I am 105 to do a gorgeous job as yours

  5. Karen, This quilt is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us. One of the things I did was to take an old phone book down to a place that has a paper cutter (Staples, Kinkos etc) and had them cut the binding off and then square the pages up. I now have a phone book stack of pages all cut to the same size. I piece my strings on that, turn it over, trim off the ends and all my blocks are the same size. Take care and God bless, Cory

    P.S I love all the help you get from Polly. :-)

  6. Great quilt! I really love th quilting you did!

  7. How did I miss this post? Your quilt has turned out very well, and I am sure will be very appreciated!