Low Volume Love in February

Posted by on February 1, 2013 in blocks | 2 comments

Six String HeartsIn February, we’ll be the string heart block from two years ago, resized to fit our 6-inch by 9-inch rectangle block format for 2013, using low-volume fabrics.

The print-friendly block directions can be found here:

String Heart Block


This month, use the tag String Heart.

As usual, please choose the category blocks for posts containing photos of your blocks, sent and received for messages about blocks mailed and received and show and tell for photos of your projects made using this block.

Special Note

Photography of these low volume blocks can be challenging.  In the photo of six of my blocks here, for example, the upper left  and lower rightmost blocks were made with the same pale peach background–which is, in person, lighter than shown in either block. Because I know the photos as they appear on my screen or yours aren’t necessarily accurate, I rely on everyone’s judgement about their fabrics and whether (or not) they follow the guidelines for low-volume fabrics.

Fabric Guidelines

Please use fabric for your foundations. Your foundation fabric might be muslin (called calico in Australia, I think) or other fabric that is light enough so that any color/print won’t show through the low-volume strings. The foundation fabric does not have to be 100% cotton or quilting quality. If you have some too-thin-for-quilting cotton or cotton-polyester blend, it can be used for your foundations.

For your block, both your strings and your background should be low-volume fabrics.  Low volume fabrics are characterized by subtle colors and delicate designs.  When putting together fabrics for your block, value will be less of a differentiator–in fact, high value contrast should be avoided–and color, design and scale will become more important.   When in doubt, taking a photo and converting it to black and white is a good sanity check.

Scraps for a Low Volume Quilt The Black and White Version

Cyndi posted about using Instagram (if you have that app) to quickly see your fabrics in black and white (and shades of gray) here: Quick Tip about Low Volume.

If you search for “low volume quilt” or “low volume fabrics” (do include the double quotes),  you’ll find lots of examples.   Here are some images of low volume quilts and fabrics I found on Flickr.

Low Volume QuiltLow volume quiltingLow Volume quiltlow volume quiltscrappy low volume startBeginning of MSM PillowLow VolumeP1050160[workinprogress]Low volume log cabin detailanother close uplow volume quilt- full frontLow-Volume Fabricslow volume baby stringsLow Volume Fabrics Again


Low Volume Quilts, a gallery on Flickr.

Tips for String-Piecing

Many quilters have posted good directions online for how-to make string blocks. Kate published the basics on the Block Lotto blog when we made string pairs, here:

January Block Lotto String Square Pairs

Bonnie Hunter has a String piecing primer on her Quiltville site here:

String Quilting Primer

The Virtual Quilt

These blocks were made by sneak peekers Kathie, Kathleen, Maree, Margaret, and me. Thanks, ladies, for the photos of these great blocks.





















You can see the full-size images of the virtual blocks in my Flickr photoset Low Volume Hearts.


  1. Sophie, the link to the Flickr photoset Low Volume Hearts wouldn’t work for me; said I didn’t have access.

    • I changed the post to use the blog code generated by Flickr, Please let me know if their link for Low Volume Quilts works … or not. Thanks for the heads up.

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