Thank you to everyone for input on ways to put the string quilt blocks together. In the comments, Choice 3, a straight grid of sashing was the clear winner, but in the voting, that option came in fourth!
Choice 4, the mid-tone diamond sashing, and Choice 5, the black sashing, tied with 30% of the vote each. Choice 2, no sashing, came in third with 15% of the vote. The only option that no one liked was the very wide white sashing.
After I posted the options, I realized that the sashing does need to be in a straight grid, because I pieced the strings onto rectangular foundation pieces. If I were to do a diamond-shaped sashing, I would have to cut the blocks up diagonally and in this case that would be too hard. So I have decided to put 4 string blocks together to emphasize their diamond shape, and then sash between those combined blocks instead of between every block.
Melanie at Catbird Quilt Studio had suggested using an accent color for the sashing, but I think I am going to stay with blue because I am going for that manly shirts-and-ties look. I will hold that accent color idea for another time!
That project is going to need focus and time, of which I had neither this week. Instead I watched a Craftsy class, “Design It, Quilt It, Free-form Techniques” with Cindy Needham, and then I made a little lap quilt to practice free-motion quilting some of the motifs she teaches.
I don’t know if it’s because I started as a weaver, so I really appreciate cloth in its natural state, or if it’s because I am usually in too much of a hurry to just get done, but I am more of a piecer than a quilter. But I have been so inspired by beautiful quilting that I want to improve in that area. Another reason I want to do more stitching, is that I have tubs and buckets of thread, and I might as well maximize the use of the supplies I have in my crafting time.
Cindy showed a basket-weave motif, and suggested outlining it in heavier thread. That is what I intended to do, and I chose some Auriful cotton I had — but I misread the label and thought it was 30 weight, when it was size 50! It turns out all of their labels say “30 GR” on them, and I have no idea what that means. Maybe 30 grams. But it explains why my preliminary gridwork didn’t make much of a statement.
Then I quilted lines and circles. They’re not too uniform, but I really enjoyed the process. I was using the Glide pre-wound bobbins as I usually do, but I experimented with different colors of 40- and 50-weight cotton, and Gutermann recycled thread, to see what effects I liked best. I like big bold stitching, but the 50-weight seemed to work best with that bobbin thread.
After that I added some borders. I always love reading the selvedges and finding out I am using a fabric from 2005 or 2011 — it is finally achieving its quilt destiny!
I hoped that washing the quilt would make the stitching really pop. I have to say that I think the close quilting lines in perpendicular directions make the quilt as stiff as a board. However, this was either Warm and Natural or Hobbs 80/20 blend, and Cindy Needham recommends wool batting, and I do think that would work much better.
Over all I don’t feel that in the quilting added that much visual interest to the lap quilt, but I did enjoy it, and I was happy to put into effect something I learned from a Craftsy class!