Simply Strings: A Modern Approach to a Traditional Quilt Block

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Stag Nation by Rana Heredia of Sewn Into the Fabric…

This was the quilt that stopped me in my tracks at the Spring 2015 Quilt Market.  So, I had to stop and chat a minute with the designer.  Rana Heredia of Sewn Into the Fabric… was a delight to talk to, and I enjoyed so much looking through her creative offerings.  One of my goals at market was to find books to review, and it so happens that Rana has just published her first book.  She has a multitude of patterns available- everything from string quilts to pin cushions, so it seems a pretty natural transition to a book.

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Simply Strings: A Modern Approach to a Traditional Quilt Block is really a very fun string quilt pattern book.  The section “String Quilting Basics”, pages 5-11, is well illustrated and written, especially for those who are new to string quilting.  I was especially intrigued by the process of creating string blocks, then using them in a reverse applique process, as in the process to make Stag Nation.  The reverse applique process is also used in the patterns “Organic”, page 46, and “Big Max”, page 50.

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Hoping to make this one in the future!

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This process just took an afternoon!

Rana teaches a needle turn reverse applique method.  Admittedly, I cheated a bit on my sample.  I was in a bit of a hurry, so I did a raw edge reverse applique.  I liked the raw edge effect, although I would like to practice the needle turn technique.

I also found that I liked using a lightweight fusible stabilizer to create my string blocks rather than paper.  I prefer this for two reasons.  The first is that the fabric lays nice and flat as new strings are added.  Sometimes, when using paper, the fabric can slip and leave rumples in the design.  The second is being able to leave the stabilizer in the project, thus reducing paper waste.  (Several of the blocks have to be cut from larger pieces, so new paper, rather than recycled paper, ends up being the go-to.)  Also, eliminating the need to remove the papers saves time in the overall project.

I used a Pellon product called Shape Flex.  It is a very lightweight woven cotton stabilizer with a light fusible on one side.  Be careful not to run the iron over the fusible side of the stabilizer, but if you do accidentally hit it with the iron, it is generally pretty forgiving, unlike many fusible products.

Rana also has a fun website and blog, where I found another string project to work on.  Her String Along 2015: String Fling is delightful, and we are jumping on that wagon here at The Green Apricot.  Below are two of Month 1- the center medallion of a six-month project.  In the end, the quilt is 84″ x 84″- pretty large and in charge.  Each month as we meet at The Green Apricot for Program Night, we will add the next needed border and share our work with one another.  You’re invited too.  If you can’t make it to the studio, share your pics on Instagram or Facebook so we can see what you’ve been making.

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