Machine Quilting Monday

#MachineQuiltingMonday :: Paisleys and Block Breakthrough

Happy Monday, my friends!

How was your weekend? We had colds, but we went to the Zoo on Saturday night with my parents, and all the animals were out and active. It was a lot of fun!

As you may remember, I've been dealing with some creative block. I've still been making, but I haven't had a lot of flow, and I've been especially struggling with more spontaneous work like free motion quilting. Without going into too much detail, I think a lot of this creative block is related to the personal stuff that I also alluded to a few weeks ago. The emotional fatigue of that has made it harder than usual to keep my inner critic at bay. If you're struggling with your inner critic-- know that I know exactly how hard, frustrating, and exhausting that is! Hang in there!

Friday night, I dreamed about free motion quilting, and I woke up Saturday morning with a fire lit under me to get a quilt on the longarm. I started with pearls and paisleys in the border, and it was going okay, but not fabulously. What I really wanted to quilt was something small and dense but delicate. I debated working on my domestic, but then I tried something else instead. I went back to square one-- the sampler style approach I used a few months ago, and I also returned to design that first made me feel confident as a quilter: the Paisley. 

After a couple of blocks of paisleys, my confidence was boosted, and I felt the same heady addiction to free motion quilting that I did the first time I mastered paisleys on my domestic. Before the excitement could wear off, I pursued an idea that had been wiggling in the corner of my mind for awhile: McTavishing. 

I searched Pinterest for ideas and spent time drawing before I quilted. Thankfully, the quilting actually came easier than the drawing. 

As I was on Pinterest, I learned something that my friend Vicki has been telling me forever: zentangle is super inspiring for FMQ! In fact, I almost find those pictures more inspiring than quilt pictures! For two blocks on the third row that I did this weekend, I adapted a zentangle design.

All that to say, I had a lot of fun this weekend! Did you do any quilting? Have you done any McTavishing? 

Are you looking for some "lesson plans" to help you practice your free motion quilting? Some times knowing what to practice or where to start is just as intimidating as making the commitment to sit down at your machine. Well, take a deep breath and get ready to see your confidence grow with my ebook, Anxious to Adventurous: 10 Weeks to Fabulous Free Motion Quilting

If we haven't already, let's connect on Instagram. I post daily photos, ask questions to start conversations, and goof off in my stories. 

Also, I have a weekly newsletter that goes out with blog updates, news, inspiration, etc on Saturdays. Plus, by signing up, you get a free download of "3 Easy Ways to Improve your Free Motion Quilting"!

Have a great week, everyone! I know mine is a little crazy, so I'm not entirely sure what will be going on here on the blog, but I'll see y'all soon! And I'll be on Insta!



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Quilt Pattern

The Ultimate Guide to Tshirt Quilts


And it's the day where I spill ALL MY TSHIRT QUILT SECRETS! Woohoo! Now you'll know exactly how I've made over 100 tshirt quilts and completely delighted my customers. And, more importantly, YOU can make a tshirt quilt without stress! I know tshirt quilts get a bad rap in the quilting world, but that's really just silly. They're easy and fun-- a great way to upcycle, preserve memories, or teach your grandkids how to sew. 

Here's the scoop:

This Ebook includes instructions for 7 sizes of rag-style tshirt quilts and 6 sizes of traditional tshirt quilts, plus tips for making your own custom sizes. There step-by-step instructions, cutting charts, and over 40 photos! 

Tshirt Quilt Making Supplies:

  • Basic Sewing Machine with Walking Foot
  • Heavyweight (16/100) ball-point needle
  • Durable thread (my favorite is Coats and Clark all-purpose)
  • Rotary cutter (with fresh blade) and self-healing mat
  • 12.5 x 12.5 inch cutting ruler
  • 8.5 x 24 inch cutting ruler
  • ball-point sewing pins
  • Seam ripper (just in case)
  • Iron with steam and ironing board (Traditional Style Only)

Also, did you see the Rag-Style Tshirt Quilt Mini Tutorial I posted on Tuesday! It'll give you a taste of how straightforward it is to make a cozy quilt. 

Thank you all for being here! I can't wait to see the gorgeous tshirt quilts you make! Be sure to take #ultimatetshirtquiltguide and @stringandstory on Instagram as you work so I can ooh and aah! Speaking of Instagram, be sure to follow me to stay up to date on what's going on in the sewing room. Bonus, check out my stories for daily (constant) updates on the cutie boys and cutie cats that keep me busy around here. 

See y'all tomorrow on the Newsletter and next week for #MachineQuiltingMonday!



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Tips Tuesday

Tips Tuesday : Rag-Style Tshirt Quilt Mini Course

Welcome back, friends!

Are you ready to make a tshirt quilt?? The Ultimate Guide to Tshirt Quilts is launching later this week, but you don't have to wait till then to get started because I have five little videos to share with you today that will get you started. So, go gather a pile of tshirts, and let's get started!

First off, if you don't know, the String & Story Etsy shop is dedicated to custom made tshirt quilts. I've been making tshirt quilts for about two years, and I've made over 100. I consistently receive 5 star reviews for my work. That means two things: 1) if you constantly have friends bugging you to make a tshirt quilt for them, and you don't want to, then you can send them my way, and I'll take excellent care of them! 2) I've learned a few things along the way. I'm going to share some of that knowledge today, and I'll share all my secrets in the ebook!

(These videos were originally filmed and shared on Instagram.)


Basic Sewing Machine with Walking Foot

Heavyweight (16/100) ball-point needle

Durable thread (my favorite is Coats and Clark all-purpose)

Rotary cutter (with fresh blade) and self-healing mat

12.5 x 12.5 inch cutting ruler

ball-point sewing pins

Seam ripper (just in case)


Pre-washed Flannel (enough for one 12.5 inch square per tshirt)

Step 1: Make Your Blocks

Step 2: Quilt the Blocks

Step 3: Make Rows

Step 4: Assemble the Quilt

Step 5: Final Touches

There you have it! I hope these videos are helpful as you make a tshirt quilt! 

Looking for more detailed instructions or information about how to make a more traditional style tshirt quilt? My ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Tshirt Quilts is launching later this week! Be sure to catch the details (and maybe even a coupon code!) by signing up for my newsletter!

And, if you love quilty pictures, tips, and conversation, be sure to find me on Instagram @stringandstory. And tag your tshirt quilt photos with #UltimateTshirtQuiltGuide, too!

Still have burning tshirt quilt questions? Please leave them in the comments below so I answer them here and make sure they are answered in the book!

Happy tshirt quilting!


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