Sunday, September 1, 2019

Hive 4 September Tutorial - Fabric Wampum

Hello, Hive mates.  Wow—my turn already!?  Time is really flying.  I have had this quilt on my wish list for a long time.  My brother in law's birthday is in September so it seemed natural that his quilt finally get on deck.  He is a citizen of the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin which is one of five Native American Tribes in the Iroquois Confederacy.  I thought a quilted version of the flag would be nice—particularly since it includes deep dark violets which I finally figured out is my favorite color after fifty some years saying it was yellow.  My stash, my scraps and my clothes are overwhelmingly violet (and it's many hues).

Here’s a picture of the flag:

This is wampum which are polished clam shells; they were used to make wampum belts that tell stories.  The purple color represents the spirit and white is the color for peace.  We will be replicating those shells so the blocks are very organic with no need to be too precise.

You will need to raid your string scraps and pull the deepest, darkest purples and violets you have. Add a few strings of creams and off whites and you have what you need.   Here is a sample of colors I pulled.

To make fast string blocks, I used 4 pieces of 8-1/2 x 11 inch paper and sewed skinny strings on.  The strips should be two inches or less and need not be sewed on straight. Add strings on the long side of the paper as shown. This method results in a little waste, but including pulling my fabric, I was able to complete the block in 45 minutes. I chain pieced the strings, then ironed them open, and chain pieced again. Repeat. If your strips are not long enough, sew two short strings together-that will work too.  This is organic.  Here is how I started:

After the paper is filled with strings, flip it horizontally and cut strips 4-1/2" wide as follows:

You will get two strips 4-1/2 inches x 8-1/2 inches.  I sewed two sections together, and then four rows together.  You should get a 16" square block.  If you don't like goofing with the paper, feel free to send the 8 strips sets and I will remove the paper and sew them together as needed.  That's no problem.  I am trying to get as much variety as possible.  When putting in a string or two of cream or white, use very skinny strings. Add soft curves if you want.  Remember these are wampum beads made from shells so nothing would ever be perfectly straight.  

Here's are my pieces before sewing them together:

Here is a finished block:

Please feel free to make your string blocks any way that you feel comfortable-with or without paper backing or in 4.5  inch increments if you have shorter strings.  If your string stash is light on purples, make less--it's no problem.  They just have to be able to finish at 4 inches wide and no  more than 16 inches long.  See the diagram highlight? 

Notice they are areas where I will only need three rows and not four, so I will be doing a lot of piecing for the pattern, so if you are only able to make string or two instead of four, it is no problem.    In fact, it may be better to send the strings without sewing the rows together which would allow me to mix them up. 

I love to string piece when I just feel like sewing without having to think about things too much.  I hope you find this block easy and enjoyable during this busy change of seasons.  Thank you for helping me finally move this project off my wish list.

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