I am working on Clue 4 for Orca Bay (www.quiltville.com) and thought I would share my method for doing my strings. Yes, I use the foundation paper like Bonnie and shorten my stitch. Mostly the same. The difference is in my organization. I just don’t have as many strips as Bonnie does. Depending on the color, I usually have to cut some more strips. When I sift through my green strips I put them in 2 piles–those that are long enough to do the 3 center strips, and those that are too short.
- When I start I put the center strip down and add a strip on the right, working from my “long” pile. If you don’t have enough “long” strips, dig and see if you have some yardage or a few fat quarters to cut 1 or 2 strips off each for variety.
- Repeat for the 2nd block, chain stitching from the first block.
- Then I snip the first block off the threads and sew a strip on the opposite side of the first strip. Results 3 strips. (This means I have frequently have some very long tails on my blocks!)
- After I run out of long strips (which may mean I can do 6 or 8 blocks at a time from the long strips, depending on how many I have), then I stop, press them, and trim them up.
- Place all trimmings into either the “long” or “short” pile.
- Now I have a stack of blocks with 3 strips (trimmed) and a stack of blank papers.
- I repeat the process starting new blocks with 3 strips.
- After I run out of “long” strips, I grab the blocks with 3 strips on them and find shorter strips for them, and add a strip to each side of them. My partials now have 5 strips.
- When I run out of those, I press all the blocks again, trim, place the trimmings in the “short” or “long” piles.
- Keep repeating.
For these blocks, I am finding I have about 7 strips each, so that means they go through the process 3 times (3 strips, 5 strips, and 7 strips). After a few trimmings, my “long” strips eventually get recycled to the “short” pile. The short pile may also contain corner triangles or odd pieces that my fit a corner. If I don’t have enough long strips, I grab a half a dozen fat quarters and cut a strip off of each to maintain variety. As you get down close to the end of your blocks, try to avoid cutting new long pieces. If you do have to cut strings, watch this carefully, or when you finish you won’t have a lot less strings than you started with.
I started this, of course, because I didn’t have enough strings. So I started by cutting 1 or 2 strings each from a dozen or so fat quarters. That and the long strings that I DID have made enough variety. I always seem to have an abundance of variety of the shorter stuff (when you put this stuff in a drawer, it seems to breed). As I get down to the last half dozen or so blocks I try to keep from cutting any more strips–I don’t want to finish up with more strips than I started with!!!!
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