Monday, December 31, 2018

Variation on a String Block {Jan/Feb CiL Block Drive}

Hello! And welcome to the Jan/Feb Covered in Love block drive post.  For the past three years we've made foundation pieced string blocks following this tutorial and made 50 string quilts!   (If you're new to CiL or the block drives skip to the end of the post for information.)

The annual scrappy string drive is a big hit with piece-rs, with me, and with the patients who receive quilts.  Hopefully this year's slight variation on the foundation pieced string block will still be a big hit with everyone. I thought i might be fun to mix it up and do something a bit different this year.

(If you had already started making some of our usual string blocks in anticipation of this year's drive, go ahead an send them in, too. I always have a few extra around I can put them together with.)

Cut a scrap piece of fabric to about 13.25 or 13.5" square (I always use old bedsheets, after you make one block you'll have an idea of how much lee way you need). Choose a square or rectangle piece of red fabric (any shade of red) between about 1.5"-3" square.  Place it at the corner of your foundation square right side up.

Pull out your string scrap box and place a strip along one edge of the square right side down. Sew a quarter inch seam through the foundation square, fold down the strip and press.

Continue adding strips, alternating sides log-cabin-style, sewing them right though the foundation square and pressing after each addition.

As you add each strip let them overhang the outside a bit.  Better to be too big than too small.

Like our usual string blocks, strings should be less than 2.5" wide. Any colors/patterns are allowed; "ugly" fabrics encouraged ;)  Straight lines and 90 degree angles can be approximate.

And that's the gist of it. Just keep adding strips and pressing.  If you have too much overhang underneath a strip just trim it with scissors.

When you get close to the edge of the foundation block press one last time. Allow your cat a few minutes to bask on the warm surface before moving to the cutting table.

Trim the block to 12.5" square, making sure not to cut off too much of the red square in the corner.

The foundation backings do make the finished quilt heavier, but not by as much as you'd think. On a scrappy quilt like this one, especially blocks made by so many different people and shipped across the country, they are invaluable to prevent stretching, warping, and fraying of seams.

I hope you enjoy these blocks and they help you to lighten your scrap bins a bit!

This block drive will run through February. You can make as few or as many blocks as you like and send them along to be assembled into quilts. The quilts are given to patients who pass away in a local hospital and the families take them home. Learn more about our charity on the main page here.  For the mailing address email or leave a comment (make sure you leave an email address for me to reach you at).

Quilt delivery!

(Edited to Add: View some finished quilts here)

You can also support Covered in Love with monetary donations (send a check or use the Paypal link on the left side bar), by volunteering to assemble and/or quilt tops, and by donating supplies and materials.  Send me an email at for more information.


  1. Your little orange kitty is adorable.

  2. Looks like Sundae & Fudge are ready to inspect all the blocks you get in for the Jan/Feb block drive. I like this variation & look forward to seeing how they look in quilts. I just made my first "sample" one & see some areas that I need to watch out use a wide string as my last ones for each of the two sides so that when I trim my blocks I don't end up with a little "sliver" of a string on each side. :)

  3. I've made 11 blocks so far and they are easy and definitely a little more fun than the same old string blocks. I love being able to use up some tinier strings for variety.

  4. That's an interesting block, thanks. I'm not sure I'll make this one, but it is interesting to see.

  5. Getting to work on these tomorrow morning. This block is fairly easy to make.

  6. This is a fun variation! The hardest part for me is finding foundation fabrics. Even the truly ugly pieces tell me they could be used in a quilt! But it's a good way to use really thin, sheer material.

    1. I am using inexpensive muslin from JoAnn's. (I wash it first to make sure there's no surprise shrinkage.) I bought a bolt on sale to use for trying out new garment patterns. But it's also good for foundation fabric.

  7. The lid is exploding off of my unsorted string box. Just in time to save me.

  8. I look forward to seeing how you are going to set these blocks.

  9. I have a few blocks to send out. I can’t find your address. Can you resend? Thanks!

  10. Oh, I wish I'd remembered to check the blog before we left for our two month trip to TX and FL. I have my machine, but didn't bring a box of strings and these look like they would be fun to make. I'll try for the March/April blocks.