Thursday, September 6, 2018

Analyzing a String Block

Chevron Block: September 3

Are you following the Kathryn Kerr 365 Challenge? It's absolutely free so follow the link to learn more or sign up. My good friend, Penny, is doing this fabulous sampler so I signed up for email posts each day, too. I rarely make a block, but I can cheer her on as she sews them. Also, there is something fun about seeing a new block each day, and of course, I love to read the construction diagrams. Don't you? Curious quilters want to know this stuff!

Names Can Be Deceiving

The block above is called Chevron, but I find the name unusual. I think of a Chevron pattern as the zigzag across Charlie Brown's shirt, and typically made with HSTs. Kerr's suggested method is based on strings. A total of 7 strings are sewn together then cut into 2 squares, and each of those into half square triangles. Be sure to cut in the same direction! Well, there are some HST in this block too, but still.

But this block, this One I fell in love with!
I was already dreaming of possibilities.

I spent part of the summer with my nose stuck in books about Gee's Bend quilters, and progressed with other utility quilts from the 1950's to the present. String quilts prevailed in utility quilts from all eras. Strings upon strings upon strings! I thoroughly enjoyed dissecting the string quilt patterns as there were so many methods used, but this one I had not seen. 

Is it over-the-top corny to say I find the sweetest harmony in string quilts?

And so I made it,
and so I found I could screw it up.

Making your first of any block is an exercise. It's practice. I never expect my first attempt to be good from the start, but was puzzle my second blocks would turn out like this. Huh? What happened? I had laid them out with the polka dots across from each other exactly like the first block!

This is a bit of a mind-teaser, but the center lines of the HSTs do not line up correctly. I ripped it out, realigned, and was back in business.

I was curious how could I use this block in a repeat. Lined up this way it looks great, but we both know a 1/4" seam on both blocks will ruin the pattern. They will still line up, yes, but with opposite colored stripes on each side of the seam. I'm not sure I like how this is working.

But adding a small strip between the blocks, and arranging these with the polka dot strips forming a secondary pattern feels better to me. If the dividing strip is sized correctly, the stripes will be broken, but still line up. I do like all the energy in this block, and can see it used as a fun border as well as an individual block. 

What do you see?
Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

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Linking up with~
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Rebecca Grace said...

I actually snorted my coffee when I read "the sweetest harmony in strings..." Because the first sound memory that popped into my head was the cacophony of a Twinkle-level Suzuki violin group lesson, with half the violins out of tune, half the violinists tone deaf, and how Twinkle Twinkle Little Star can sound like fingernails on a chalk board... Thank goodness that was a long time ago! High school chamber orchestra concerts are SO much easier on the ears! :-) I love your little string block musings.

Unknown said...

julie you are incredible. I what happy the block what easy to make and forgot it immediatly. You made a poetry about the beauty and harmony of it. I should make it like you and think about more over the daily block.I realize I missed a lot

Angie in SoCal said...

I like this block especially in red and white. I"m inclined, however, to make it a bit different - make a rectangle to form one unit where the sashing would go. Add a hst to the two short ends and then add a half of the first unit you made to each of the long sides.

audrey said...

There's just something about strings isn't there. So much potential!

Susan said...

This does have potential, but a lot of them together may make me go crazy! Sparingly, here and there is probably what I would shoot for.

Run 'n Stitch said...

There is a lot of energy in this block.

Kate said...

I agree, lots of possibilities with that string block. Looking forward to seeing where it takes you.