I am new to the concept of leaders/enders; I haven't used them and don't chain piece (yet). Could you please explain how you use the string blocks as your leader/ender project for this novice (who is always keen to learn something new)?I thought about replying in an email to her, but then realized that it was clearly time for another tutorial, because of all the photos I would be taking anyway. So, Lynne, here is the tutorial I promised all that time ago. I'm just sorry it took me this long to find time to sit down and write this! And, I'm sorry that the photos are dark. Now that I'm working two jobs, most of my sewing time is stolen from those hours that I should be sleeping!
Let me preface the tutorial itself by saying that I typically use string blocks as the no-thinking portion of my sewing and to keep the machine running whenever I'm working on a block or series of blocks that require me to stop and start. When I took the photos for this tutorial, I was working on blocks for the Test Your Skills Sampler (which I have to photograph and catch up on, bad me!). This means that I have the pieces pre-cut for whatever my primary project is. Pre-cutting is the only that I've been able to maximize my time at the sewing machine lately, so this means that I have tons of time for string blocks too.
So, in addition to having my primary piecing ready to go, I have my components for the string blocks ready to go:
As you can see from the photo above, I've drawn my initial sewing lines on to each sheet. That middle portion of each block is a 1" finished wide stripe of Kona White, to give the top some continuity (whenever it actually becomes a top). I pre-cut my strips of Kona to 1 1/2". I really should remember, next time, to cut them at 1 3/4", so that I don't have to be quite so precise when placing the fabric for these first two seams.
Some time ago, I reduced a bunch of my scraps to strips of various widths. I knew that I wanted to make a string quilt, but I didn't want every seam to match up. I wanted some variety, especially since I knew that my scraps wouldn't all provide the necessary width to produce, say, 1" strips. Some of my pre-cut strips start at 3/4", so that the finished size is only 1/4". Very little was too thin for this project. My favorite part about having all of these strips pre-cut is that I literally just threw them into a box. I blindly reach into the box, check to make sure the strip is long enough and sew it on if it's long enough. Randomness is not a problem with this 'organization'.
I had a caboose left in the machine from the sewing session previous to this one, so I started working on my primary project, which was the Test Your Skills Sampler Log Cabin Block:
You can just barely see the edge of the green strip blow the white one in the foreground of this photo. Right sides of the fabric should face each other, and the wrong side of the center strip will be flush against the paper. Oh, and speaking of the paper... I use the notebook paper for projects like this because it's cheap. I'm not going to waste the Carol Doak stuff on blocks that are this simple.
As you can see, there's extra fabric running over the sides of the paper. Again, I trim down at the end of the process.
And that's string blocks, used as leader/ender projects. Don't you just love how quickly and easily these can come together?