TUTORIAL: String Twist Quilt

This quilt idea is suitable for either precuts or a box of scraps, as you prefer.  Enjoy!

NOTE:  this is not a completely original idea (But, is anything?).  I was particularly inspired by this quilt for the basic look,  but added my own twist to the construction. OK–to begin.


Dimensions vary–this is more a block tutorial than a complete quilt tutorial

Finished block size:  11″


A lot of strings–or long, thin scraps of fabric at least 14-inches long.  How many?  Well, it depends on how big of a quilt you want to make.  A shoe box of strings, at least a large shoebox, will make a queen size.  Oh, come on,  if you are a quilter, you have scraps!  Just get them out and put them to use.  Or, if you find yourself blessed with precut fabrics, a jelly roll will make a large twin/small full size quilt.  A honeybun will make a nice throw quilt.

Fabric for block sashing.  How much?  Well, you need one 1-1/2″ strip Width Of Fabric (WOF) for each block.  So, 16 blocks (throw size) will need at least 24″ or 2/3 yard.

Fabric for larger sashing and borders.  How much?  Well, you need about the equivalent of one  2-1/2″ strip WOF for each block for the sashing.  Plus, you need plenty for your borders, depending on the border style you prefer.  So, quite a bit! (If you want more specific measurements for your situation, e-mail or comment and I will try to help with the math.)


1. Sew strings of fabric scrap together until you have a piece large enough to cut a 14″ block from it.  I  measured my first piece to 15″ and then would sew a second piece on and cut it off when I reached the end of the first piece.

EDIT:  Pat suggests ironing all seam allowances the same direction.  It will help the block be flat.

2. Using your rotary cutter and ruler, trim the block to 14″ square.

3. Make a friend for this block, really a twin.  It takes two blocks to create the diagonal effect you see in the finished blocks.

4. Lay the blocks right sides together with the strips perpendicular to one another.  Meaning, one with the strips running vertical and one with the strips running horizontal.  Line them up carefully.  Pin if desired (recommended).

5. Using your quarter-inch seam allowance, sew ALL THE WAY around the block.  This does not feel normal. I understand.  But, really, sew all the way around.

6. Using your ruler as a guide, make two corner-to-corner diagonal cuts across the block.

 7. CAREFULLY and without stretching all those bias edges, iron the cut sections open.  Like magic, you have four wonderful string twist blocks.  These blocks will each measure approximately 9-1/2″ square.  Unless there is something seriously wrong, do not worry about squaring them up.  That is the job of the narrow block sashing. Oh, and don’t forget to trim off those little ears from the opposite corners of the block.

 8. For each of your small blocks cut a strip from your narrow block sashing fabric WOF  1-1/2″ wide.  From this strip cut two pieces 9-1/2″ and two pieces 11-1/2″.  Sew the 9-1/2″ pieces to opposite sides.  Press.  Set the 11-1/2″ pieces to the remaining sides.  Press.  You will create blocks that are 11-1/2″ square.

EDIT:  Pat suggests PIN, PIN, PIN.  If you have any problems getting things to work out, pins are your friend!

Again, you are sewing all bias.  Don’t worry too much as the block will sort of ease into the sashing.  The sashing then creates a strong, square edge to the block.  Just press it in when finished and they look really nice and are easy to handle for the rest of the quilt construction.

 9. Make as many blocks as you desire.  Since each pair of strip sets creates four blocks, the quilt comes together rather quickly.

10. Add sashing and borders.  I used 2-1/2″ sashing and have tried a variety of different border styles.  The blocks are versatile and forgiving.  Give a few a try.  You will enjoy it!  The quilt shown in the opening picture is made of 16 blocks, only four pairs of strip sets.  It finishes at about 52″ square.  A nice throw size.  A throw size quilt is something you can make in a weekend for minimal cost, as all those strings are already paid for.

11. Ta-dah!  Enjoy your quilt!

String Twist Gallery

I would love to see what you create using this tutorial.  Here are some to take a look at…

my first version–this used a complete jelly roll.  I used the leftover strips and little pieces to make the middle border with scrappy corners.

a second attempt by me, scrappy this time

Pat’s bright version

Rutigt’s version

Susan got busy with her own variations.



Faye created and donated this String Twist top.  Quilters are the most generous people.


your version here…

25 thoughts on “TUTORIAL: String Twist Quilt

  1. love this and will sure do it !!!! i have a ton of strings plus a jelly roll…i love scrappy quilts and i like the way this is done..thank you so much!!!! as soon as i get some done i will send pictures..

  2. OK – so none of us should have any scraps left after making a cute project like this, right? Thank you for sharing your fun tutorial – I see lots of blocks in my future…if I can ever stop making your potholders. 🙂

  3. The block construction is similar to my Noodle Surprise blocks. Instead of sashing each block, I turn them and sew four together to create a new block. So fun to see all the different ways to arrange the same basic idea.

  4. As always, a great tutorial. You have done 3 of them? Each one looks terrific, but color does make a huge difference in how things look, doesn’t it? Do you have any scraps left?

  5. When I first saw pictures of this quilt, I thought to myself, “That looks far too fiddly for someone to do at my level of experience.” But looking at the tutorial, it actually seems remarkably easy, and I want to give it a try with some of the scraps that I have. I don’t think I’d have enough for a full quilt, but I’m sure I could make a wall-hanging from what I have. Thanks for the tutorial; it was really inspirational!

  6. Oh my gosh, it is 11:00 at night and it is taking every bit of my will power not to race down to my sewing room to start one of these right this very minute! And I have to go to the office and work tomorrow! GAH! I will have to wait until tomorrow night – I may go mad waiting.

  7. Thank-you! great tutorial. I am so far behind in what I need to do now and you give me something else that I MUST do. I have loved it since you gave us the first little glimpse of it. Oh well, I’ll just add another month onto all the years I have to live now to be able to do all I want to do.

  8. I love your rendition of the strip quilt!! And I have lots of scraps just sitting in their boxes waiting for me to have some time to do some quilting!! Big move with 24 foot truck next Wednesday!! And a visit to you later this summer, neighbor!! Woo! Hoo!

  9. hi I have made a lot of string quilts but this one is different so I plan to make this one I half a lot of scraps and it sure uses up a lot of scrap bags I,v used 2 big bags all reaty now I have 6 more big bags to use .we all so did a wack of these to make quilts for the needy in our quilt guild

  10. Please send me measurements for a full size or super large throw for a large man in wheel chair. Making it for a friends birthday in blacks and golds. Will send you a pucture. He will love this one.

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