Add, Subtract, Multiply

Lately it seems like I have been doing all three math related activities. The past three quilt backings I have made were too small. Only one was discovered to be short while quilting though. Two were added to, and the third is still waiting for the fabric to get here. Two of the battings used were franken-battings, I really need to do something with all the cut off batting pieces I have accumulated. I buy most of my batting by the roll, either 90 inches wide or 45 inches wide. King size batts I like to buy already cut to size, as I usually use poly-batts due to the weight of cotton batting. I have gotten better about saving cut off pieces too. I no longer save anything less than 12 inches wide.

The white is the three inches I added to make the backing longer.

The Unity quilting was going along smoothly, or so I thought, until I took it off the frame. There were two whole rows that had rail-roaded bobbin thread on the back. There was a lot of stitch subtracting going on yesterday. The stitching came out fairly easy, partly because of the loose tension of the top thread and partly because of the panto, it was pretty simple. Once I had the rows 2 and 6, unpicked, re-quilting it was pretty simple.

The multiplying fabric strings is a bit of a mystery. Where did they all come from? I recognize most of them from past quilts and projects, but why did I save them? I don’t make strings specifically while I am cutting fabric for a quilt. Maybe I did at one time? I don’t remember. Usually I cut a bunch of 2 ½ inch squares, I have a bin full of those too. It’s not like I use a lot of 1 ½ inch wide strips either, but that’s what most of them are. Sure there were some Log Cabin quilts, but not that many. It is a big pile and as I make the Serpentine blocks, I think I am making a dent in it, but there always seems to be more in the bin. I do have another bin of extra binding pieces, which I have not opened yet. Maybe I’ll make the binding for this quilt from some of them. That’ll be a yard gone out of that bin.

I made another batch of blocks this weekend. I chain piece them, doing 12 block parts on a chain. I cut the yellow kites and glue them on, then start adding the strings alternating left then right. I have a sharp pair of scissors near me to make the strings short enough, or a bit narrow-er. These blocks are fun to make and I can make five or six in about two hours. I realized today that I’ll have plenty of strings to make another quilt top (or two) once this one is done. Maybe it is time to make the Lego quilt. I am wondering if I can do it without making all my strips 1 and ½ inches wide. Probably, even though most of them are that wide. Just the thought of cutting all the strips makes my wrist ache.

Antique “lego” quilt from Lazy Gal Quilting

I just don’t want to put them back in the bin and let them multiply anymore. I have been wanting to make the Bonnie Hunter string quilt called Emerald City since last year. I was supposed to have a class with her at Asilomar, but Covid wiped that out. Anyway, I have a whole bunch of greens that I collected to make it, but I “feel” that I need to make use of these scrappy strings first. There aren’t enough greens in the string bin to make that quilt, so it’ll wait. I’m going to look at Pinterest, and see if I can get any ideas for this never ending pile of strings.

Linking up with Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for Design Wall Monday today.

Be Kind

7 thoughts on “Add, Subtract, Multiply

  1. I hate it when something goes wrong while quilting and I don’t know it until after I finish. Luckily, it hasn’t happened too often to me but there’s always the chance. Have you looked at Bonnie’s String X. I’ve made one and am considering another one. It’s probably time for me to start another one to make a dent in my strips. PS I try not to use anything less than 1.5″ as I want to make it slightly easier on me!

    • I went and looked at String X, as I didn’t remember it, I like the purple setting triangles she used. I downloaded the pattern, it’ll definitely help use up my strings, thanks.

  2. Sara Fridley says:

    Those string blocks are wonderful. I wonder if any of us EVER really tame those scraps completely. No matter how many scrappy quilts I make those scrap bins never seem to be emptier. I swear mine multiply in the dark at night while I sleep.

    • Thank you, it’s become a fun way to use them up. When I started, I was just going to make a few, I’m now planning on forty, for a 50″ x 80″ quilt.

  3. AnnieO in SoCalif says:

    Having the backing end up too short unfortunately happens too often in my sewing world 🙂 Glad you were able to fix the railroading quilting, what a pain. I have never worked with strings, though I have several scrapbooking drawers of them sorted by color. At least you are putting them to use now–I can’t seem to start a string quilt and would never do a string block border like Bonnie does–I think it would make me crazy, lol.

    • Looking back, the problem began with me measuring the top wrong, 10 inches too short. So when I made the backing, it was still too small after I added my usual 8″ for safety. I’ll be happy to get those two quilt bound and done.

  4. Hi Tracy,
    Thanks for joining the Design Wall Mondays party. Sorry for your backing shortness issues; sounds like you have the problems solved. I like the string stars too. The yellow is such a happy color.

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