Thursday, January 20, 2011
String Heart Tutorial
A while back I mentioned that I was going to write up some instructions about how to do the string heart blocks - given that I made this decision about halfway through making them, I don't have any instructions for the very first part of the process - making the string pieces. But I think everyone can probably work that out - it's just some rectangles stitched together to make another rectangle...
Anyway. For the heart blocks, first you want to work out what size you want your finished blocks to be. I chose to make 8" blocks (8.5" unfinished), so for each block I needed two rectangles, 8" (8.5") x 4" (4.5") - you can obviously make your blocks any size you choose.
I decided to build my string blocks quite straight - so that all the stripes of the strips were parallel - but that's not required - if you want to make your blocks with wonkier strings, or diagonal strings, or vertical strings, go for it. The block which I saw on Sophie's blog which inspired me originally was done in a more liberated style and looks fabulous, so I'm sure whatever choice you make, it will work.
Once you have your basic rectangles, you are ready to start turning them into hearts.
For each heart half, you will need one square of background fabric the width of your rectangle, or narrower. If you use a square the same width, the bottom of your heart will meet in a sharp point - I decided I didn't want a sharp point, so I used a 4" square on my 4.5" wide strip. You will also need two squares of fabric half the width of your strip, or narrower. If you use ones which are exactly half the width, the top of your heart will be pointy. In this instance, I have used 2" squares.
First step is to line up your larger squares with the bottoms of your rectangles, and stitch across the diagonal. For each heart, you will need to sew one square on from top left to bottom right and one from top right to bottom left. If you are using squares which are narrower than your rectangles, be sure to line them up correctly, like I've done here.
If you want to, you can sew a parallel line to the one across the diagonal, so you can cut away the waste triangle and use the resulting half square triangle unit for another project. But you don't have to, that's up to you.
Here's what the units look like once I've cut away the waste triangle units...
...and pressed them.
Now you are ready to add the top squares to make the top of the heart - looks like I missed a photo in the process, but it's the same as before - line a square up with each top corner and stitch across the diagonal. This time, you are doing both corners, so it doesn't matter which you do first, as long as you stich across the diagonal which goes across the corner. Here they are are trimmed and pressed
Then, repeat on the other side - line up a square, stitch across the diagonal,
Then press open. If you are more thrifty or more crazy than I am, you can do the same thing here that I did with the bottom and turn the waste pieces into more useful scraps, but I'm not that serious about my scraps!
Here's the two halves, with all the background pieces sewn on now.
All that remains is to stitch the two pieces together to make a heart - hey presto!