String Quilts

String quilts are made up of a series of narrow strips. They can be very basic and simple if you don’t worry about planning colors and orientation of the finished blocks, but if you want to get fancier, you can create more complicated patterns and styles by pre-planning colors, orientation, and the width of the strips. I’ve put together several styles that can be used in a wide variety of projects.

The listed finished size for each block does not include the seam allowance, so when you’re figuring out how many blocks to use for a quilt, just divide your desired length by the size of the finished block.

Use these layout guides to  help with the organization of your finished quilt.


 

This block has strips of all the same size with the center strip centered over the diagonal. It looks like a lattice when assembled if all the center strips are the same color and if each block is turned 90º from the one next to it. This block has a finished size of 6″.

String quilt centered strip

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This block is similar to the one above, but the center strip is narrower than the rest. It will make the strips that make up the lattice in the finished pattern more narrow. This block has a finished size of 6″

Narrow center example

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This one has the strips in the same size with the ones the center lined up with the diagonal instead of centered over it. It results in a pattern that looks like a series of discrete squares. To get this look, make one strip to the side of the diagonal a contrasting color. You can use different colors for the portions inside and outside of the squares like in the example, or make them the same color for a different look. This block has a finished size of 6″.

String quilt equal strips lined up

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This block has a wide center strip and wide corners. It ends up looking like a series of hollow squares. This look is magnified if the center strips and corners are the same color. This block has a finished size of 6″.

Fat centers

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This block has wonky, uneven strips and has a finished size of 6″. I’ve shown it arranged in both as a zig-zag pattern and as squares.

There is a dotted line going through the diagonal for reference purposes. If you’re making a quilt with wonky blocks and you need a block to be evenly divided down the diagonal for your layout, create two strips out of the center strip using the dotted line as a guide.

Wonky sample

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This one is just like the last, except the strips are wider. It still comes out to a 6″ finished block. Visually, the difference between the two wonky blocks will be how busy the quilt looks when it’s done. If you want to go with a lot of colors, I’d use the wider strips and save the narrow strips for quilts with narrow color palettes.

Wide wonky

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Here’s yet another wonky block, but it’s an 8″ finished square. For the top and sides, the margins on the paper should be 1/4″, and there’s a seam allowance line printed for the bottom of the square.

8 inch wonky block

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