Tag Archives: string blocks

Foster Teen Quilts, Part 2

As promised, here’s part 2 of the Foster Teen Quilt Project!  If you missed Part 1- here you go!

I wanted to take this time to share some facts about kids in the foster system while I share the four feminine quilts we made.

On any given day, there are approximately 402,000 children in the foster system in the United States.

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
The City of Alexandria on average has about 100 children in foster care. About half of the children are a part of large sibling groups, almost half are middle –school age or older.

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
The amount of time a child stays in foster care can vary from as little as a few days to a number of years.

The average time and Alexandria child spends in foster care is one  year.

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Youth who age out of the foster care system are more likely than their non–foster care peers to be involved with the criminal justice system, have low educational attainment, become pregnant, and experience homelessness.

Foster children attend an average of seven to nine different schools by age 18—80% are held back in school by the third grade. Less than half of foster youth in the nation will graduate from high school and only 2% graduate from college or higher.

Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
Foster Teen quilts by Ormond Beach Quilts
 Thank you for sharing in this journey.  It was a wonderful experience for our moms group & an incredible joy for us to give quilts so freely to these teens.

Lastly, I want to invite you to think about how you can help foster children in your town.  Get in touch with a local social worker & chat about how your skills, whatever they are, can help foster kids.

Many thanks to Kathryn Coneway for helping me photograph the quilts & Krystal Fenwick, social worker for the City of Alexandria who provided these facts.  And of course, to my mom’s group for coming along on this crazy adventure with me!

Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, Spring 2015

It’s time for the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival again!

This year I’m submitting a special quilt that’s part of a larger project I’m working on. This is one of seven quilts I’m making with my Mom’s group for graduating foster teens in the City of Alexandria.

String Quilts for Foster Teens
These teens leave the foster system only with the items given to them by a proactive community member who works tirelessly on their behalf.

String Quilts for Foster Teens

Nationwide 1/3 of them do not have a high school diploma

Due to limited work histories, many find it difficult to obtain employment.  Those who do typically work in positions where they can easily be exploited or find it difficult to increase their independence.

One day they are considered a child by the state, and the next day they are on their own responsible for everything.

String Quilts for Foster Teens
I was drawn to help these teens and I was thrilled when my mom’s group wanted to help!  We are sewing string blocks during nap times, in the evenings, anytime we can grab a few minutes together.  These women have newborns & twins, but all of us have babies under two.  Once or twice a week we get together at my house & we work while the babies play (ok, & sometimes we play more than work!)  I love this project because the string quilts don’t require advanced quilting skills & there’s plenty of work for non-sewers to do!  In fact, we can assembly line these blocks easily where one person sews & another presses.

String Quilts for Foster Teens
It means a lot to me that these teens receive the quilts.  I worked with foster kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Alaska & this is what I know about them:
– These are the easily forgotten.
– They are talented at making themselves invisible.
– They have had their hearts broken numerous times.
– They are beautiful lives that deserve to be made whole again.

These quilts for them.  To give them something that will keep them warm- no matter where they are sleeping.  To give them something from moms in their community to let them know they are cared about.  To give them a reminder that someone has not forgotten about them.

If you’re interested in how to make a difference for foster teens graduating out of your local area- the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative can help you!

Linking up with the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival at Amy’s Creative Side

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Tuesday Tip: String Quilts, Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of the String Quilt Tutorial!  (Part 1 is over here.) Do you have your blocks ready to be trimmed?

We are going to trim the 7″ blocks down to 6 1/2″ & the 13″ down to 12 1/2″.  That way you can combine the blocks for a great scrappy quilt!

The example I will show you here is for the 7″ blocks- but the same theory will hold for the 13″ blocks.

Start with turning your string block upside down, with the strings going from the top right corner to the bottom left corner (that is if you’re right handed):

Now we are going to setup our ruler for trimming.  Right handed quilters will want to first trim the square on the right side & top.  Place a square ruler (my favorite is the 9 1/2″ square by either Omnigrid or Creative Grids), on top of the muslin foundation with the numbers starting a 0 in the top right corner.  Make sure the muslin base extends far enough to the left & bottom to pass the 6 1/2″ mark:

Go ahead & with your rotary cutter, cut the right side & top.  Remember to always cut away from yourself.  Your block should now look like this:

Next you will take the ruler off so you can rotate your block to trim the other two sides.  Take the newly trimmed corner & place it so that it is now in the bottom left corner.  Place your ruler on top of the block & now you will align the 6 1/2″ markings to the left & bottom sides.  You should have muslin extending from the top & right of the ruler:

Now go ahead & now trim the right & top sides:

Congratulations!  You have a completed string block!

To get an idea of what they look like together, here’s a pic of a string quilt I quilted last year for Quilts from the Bluffs.  I love the scrappy goodness:

Lastly, please consider making some of these blocks for Quilts from the Bluffs: Children’s Square String Block Collection.  These blocks will be made into quilts that children will given immediately upon entering their new temporary home at Children’s Square.  Our members have seen firsthand what receiving a quilt can do to these children’s spirits- join Quilts from the Bluffs as we work to help enwrap these children in love.

Quilting for Good: Quilts from the Bluffs String Quilts for Children’s Square

Happy Friday everyone!

I’m very excited to start a new series called “Quilting for Good.”  Quilters are a giving people.  We’re always making things for others whether that be quilts, sewn items, or the food we make.  (example, have you ever been to a quilter’s potluck?  Seriously they have the best food!)

So in this series, I want to highlight some of the great service projects quilters around the world are organizing so you can also be a part of helping others.

The Project:
Quilts from the Bluffs (a local quilting ministry) has taken on the project of making string quilts for the Children’s Square home in Council Bluffs, Iowa (just across the river from Omaha).  These quilts will be given to the children who live there to have as there own.

This project is not only close to home for me in terms of location, but the true heart of the project is dear to me because of my time working at the Boys & Girls Club of Alaska.  I worked in a clubhouse in Anchorage that mostly supported foster children.  This led to me work first hand with children who had just been separated from everything they knew (parents, siblings, extended family, village life) & dropped into city life with new people and unfamiliar customs.  Most of them also came only with the clothes they were wearing.  Working with these children and helping them transition into their new lives made me see how the most vulnerable in our society can be ignored and how their individuality can easily be put aside.

These quilts for Children’s Square will be given to those children in transition.  A quilt they can take with them as they navigate the foster care system and life.  We may not be able to work directly with those children, but we can give them a quilt made from love- a patchwork quilt made of many blocks from many quilters. 

How to Help:
To assist in this effort, you can make string blocks using the String Block tutorial using 7″ and 13″ foundations (please leave them untrimmed) and send them to:

Quilts from the Bluffs
3118 Gold Rush Road
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
Or bring them to the monthly quilt day the second Saturday of each month.
20794 Iowa Hwy 92
Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Please consider giving some time for this project, this project is unique because Quilts from the Bluffs isn’t asked for a whole quilt- just blocks.  We quilters are very busy with many obligations, but we can find the time to make a block or two for these children.  Volunteers with Quilts from the Bluffs will trim these squares, piece and complete these into 72×84 quilts for this project.
To see some quilts they have already made, check out these posts from Quilts from the Bluffs:
Another String Quilt Top
Delivery to Children’s Square
February 2013 Quilt Day Reminder
String Quilts in the Making
String Quilts for Children’s Square

Thank you so much!

Tuesday Tip! What to do with those Leftover Strips, Part 1

Because you all have been so wonderful & patient with me missing the last two Tuesday Tips- the next two weeks are special ones!   A quilt block tutorial on how to use those random leftover strips!

String Quilt Tutorial

You know those strips you have leftover after finishing a project?  Where the directions told you to cut a 2 1/2″ strip to subcut for only 5, 2 1/2″ squares?  And you needed to do that for all five fabrics in the quilt?  This is a great way to use those strips & thereby creating a “free” quilt top!

First start with pre-washed muslin as your foundation base.  Cut this into either 7″ or 13″ squares. (I’ll explain why these measurements later):

String Quilt Tutorial

Now take your first strip & lay it right side UP across the middle diagonal of the block.  The strip should be long enough to cover both points.  Note that this is the ONLY time you will place the strip right side UP:

String Quilt Tutorial

Now take your next string & place it right side DOWN on top of the first strip, making sure the long edges of the strip match.  Notice that the second strip is long enough to over the muslin:

String Quilt Tutorial

Now sew that with a 1/4″ seam allowance and press open.  Next you are going to lay a strip on the other side of the center strip:

String Quilt Tutorial

Sew that strip down & this is what your block should look like:

String Quilt Tutorial

Pick a side to continue building upon.  I chose the “left” side:

String Quilt Tutorial

Now what do you do if your strip is a little long, like this one:

String Quilt Tutorial

Very easy!  Just give the strip a little trim to make it the size you need!  But don’t throw away that excess, you may be able to use it in the end:

String Quilt Tutorial

Now continue along, adding strips to both sides of the block as shown in these photos:

String Quilt TutorialString Quilt Tutorial
String Quilt Tutorial

And ta-da!  You have a string block!

String Quilt Tutorial

Here is a 13″ block complete:

String Quilt Tutorial

And here is a block that uses strips at random.  It may look odd here, but in a quilt full of these, it has a great scrappy look!

String Quilt Tutorial

So go make lots of string blocks!  Also consider making some for Quilts from the Bluffs Children’s Square Project!

Next week I’ll show you how to square up the blocks & I’ll hopefully have some pictures of completed string quilts!  Enjoy!

Here are other other String Quilt posts:
String Quilt Tutorial Part 2
Quilting for Good: String Quilts for Children’s Square

Linking up with:

Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Quilts From the Bluffs

I recently got in touch with Jeanine who leads Quilts From the Bluffs, a quilting ministry out of Council Bluffs.She was in need of a longarmer for their many quilts tops pieced by their prolific piecers & with the new machine I needed practice tops.She eagerly gave me 10 tops to work on at our first meeting & this is one of them:

I quilted a wave through every string (no matter how wide or narrow) with King Tut thread.  Incidently, this was also the first quilt I completed on the new longarm back in August- it was so much fun playing with the new machine!