Friday, March 8, 2013

Bored Bored Bored Bored...

Quote for the Day:
"I think I could give up cigarettes easier than you could give up sewing."
~Andy Flood

I've been what seems like AGES since my sewing and quilting rooms have been torn up in the process of combining them into one room.  :(  I haven't been able to get to my sewing machine, fabric or tools for a couple weeks now.  And I haven't had a quilt in my quilting frame since Feb. 1!!!


No wonder I'm going "stir-crazy"!   First, I was waiting till we could go purchase the shelves for fabric storage...that happened last weekend.  Now I've been waiting for Andy to put them together for me...that's been occurring ever-so-slowly over the last several evenings...after he's put in a long day at work....and they still aren't completely finished.  One unit still needs the doors attached.  Then we need to figure out the exact spots that we are going to place them, so Andy can attach them to the wall for safety.  Then on Saturday, Erin is coming home to help me get everything back in working order...all nicely organized.

So, just WHAT IS A GIRL TO DO in the meantime to keep from going completely berserk???


I can't get to my regular fabric and tools, but I can get to the cutting table.  And I *think* I know where a rotary cutter is, and I can get to my rulers, my boxes of scraps, and my Featherweight.  'Nuff said.

I know what I'll do...I'll set up on the dining room table and do a little string piecing!!!  :)

Originally, I was just going to do some mindless sting piecing, using used dryer sheets as a foundation.  (If you mention doing that on a quilting forum you will get LAMBASTED for using dryer sheets for foundation.  HOWEVER, this is MY blog and I *will* show you how to do it.  *IF* you know of someone who is allergic to dryer sheets, please, by all means, DO NOT give them a quilt that uses them for foundation piecing.  How simple is that???  It's not rocket surgery!!  Oh, you non-quilters out there, you have NO IDEA how passionate quilters can get when debating the use of used dryer sheets for foundation quilting.  Oy vey!  Most people use paper for foundation piecing, but life is too short to take the time to remove all that paper!  So I leave the dryer sheets on the block and just quilt it in.)

Anyway...back to the topic at hand... instead of just doing random string blocks, I decided that I actually wanted my strings to be made for a specific quilt, and not just another "string quilt"...I've already made one of those and I'm not into repeating is too short to repeat patterns!  LOL

Since I have Bonnie Hunter's book, String Fling, so I perused it and found a pattern that I thought I'd like to make and cut my dryer sheets according to those dimensions.  

This is the pattern I decided to make...Tulip Fields!

I took my Singer Featherweight, an ironing pad, my iron, and all my crumbs and scraps of fabric downstairs to the dining room table last night and set up little area where I can create until the sewing room is ready for use.  It was at that point, that Andy made the statement that I quoted at the beginning of this post!  :)

So now, here's how you use used dryer sheets for quilting...
First, using a very low setting on the iron, press them out so they look like this...

Next, using your rotary cutter and ruler, cut them into the size you this case, 4" squares.  I am able to get 2 squares out of each dryer sheet.

Following the directions for the pattern you are using, sew your fabric strings onto the dryer sheet using the regular stitch length and a 1/4" seam.  (Since you are not removing the foundation, you don't need to shorten your stitch length.)

Make sure the entire piece of dryer sheet is covered.  They will look like ugly mess!  LOL

Next, flip your "block" over and square up to whatever size you this case, I need 3 7/8" square.  When trimming, make sure your 45 degree line on your ruler goes right down the middle of the center strip.

You end up with a pretty block like this...

Now the pattern I'm doing calls for the block to be cut into two, right down the middle of the first strip that was sewn corner to corner.  Like this...

These two triangles will be two "baskets" for the tulips.  :)

Here are some of the blocks squared up to 3 7/8", but not split down the middle yet.  I'll keep them in the square form till they are needed for the rest of the pattern...they will be easier to store and count that way!  :)  I need 144 of these squares, and last night I was able to make 12 of them in about one hour!  :)

BTW....just because you are using scraps, do NOT expect your scrap pile to decrease in size.  You see, there are two kinds of organisms in this world, ANAEROBIC...those that DO NOT need oxygen to survive, and AEROBIC...those that DO need oxygen to survive.  

Scraps are AEROBIC...meaning that as long as you keep them from air and light, they are dormant.  HOWEVER, when you expose them to air and light, they MULTIPLY like rabbits!!!   So what fit into three of these plastic shoe-box size containers will NOT fit when I am done!  :(  It's the law of scraps. Scraps beget scraps, ad infinitum!



  1. I've got used dryer sheets... want me to send them? It sounds like you would use more than you have. Let me know.

    1. I actually have a LOT! I keep an empty Kleenex box on the dryer and we stick them in there when the dryer is done. At this point, I have a couple Kleenex boxes full! :) Thanks, though! :)

  2. What a great mini tutorial Loretta! I hadn't thought of using dryer sheets? I can ONLY imagine what the Quilt Police had to say about that! LOL Great scientific reference as well. I got a good chuckle out of that. LOVE STRING FLING!

    1. Thanks, Kevin! BTW, I was sewing on my Featherweight and started wondering if you had received yours, yet. Email me with your address, and I'll send you a crocheted spool pin doily for her! :)

  3. Man, do I love the outside part of that quilt! I've noticed that my favorite quilts on Pinterest are either the extremely exquisite that look like art, or the more plain ones that are all boxes or lines...
    You know the more you put up quilting posts the more I wish I knew how to sew, had room to sew, had room to learn to quilt...

    1. Anytime you want to learn, you come out for a visit for a week and I'll teach you/help you! :)

  4. I am glad to hear someone else say they don't want to waste time removing paper. I am not a fan of string quilts but that one has potential. Can't wait to see the finished product.

  5. Hi Loretta- Thank you for this great tutorial! I was browsing the web looking for "string quilt blogs" and actually came across the thread to which I believe you refer- OY VEY is right! Perhaps it might not be a bad idea to re-wash my blocks before I sew with them, though. I certainly wouldn't want to KILL anyone! "Dryer Sheet Foundation Quilt Kills Family of 4, Sends 16 Others to Hospital- News at 11."
    Bookmarking your blog :)

    1. Tina, Thanks for making me LOL with your news headline! :) :) :) Thanks for becoming a follower! Hope to see more comments from you!

  6. Fabulous idea. I make coverlets (no batting) for families who need the extra warmth. The dryer sheet idea is perfect for my purpose. I've got a lot of dryer sheets saved and can't wait to get started using up my scraps. Thanks for the idea.

    1. I love that you were inspired! They will add just a touch of extra weight to your coverlets! :)