Sunday, April 21, 2013

Classic Quilt-Railfence Block Quilt

My first encounter with the Railfence block was in my Quilting 101 class I took 8 years ago. I did a sampler quilt. This is what the Railfence Block looks like: 

Check out the photo below and count how many Railfence blocks we used.

Can you spot the railfence block? How many times is it used?

I found a pattern on line of a Railfence quilt layout and printed it out. I got a pen and outlined where each block was, then I figured out the measurements, block size, and colors. I did  all of that from one printout online. 

My printout from the Internet with all my notes and fabrics I was
going to use for this quilt.
Below are the Step-by-Step instructions how to take this block and create a quilt using just these 3 colors as you see in this quilt.

Step 1: Choose a light, medium, and dark fabric and cut 8- 2 1/2" x 42" strips from each fabric.

Step 2: Arrange 3 strips of each color how you desire. In my sisters quilt, I chose colors that would match her décor in her apartment. So I decided to arrange the strips with Khaki sewn to the green and then the green sewn to the Red.

Step 3: After you have sewn all the sets of 3 fabrics together measure your strip set to see how wide the strips are. If my calculations are correct you should be cutting the strips into 6 1/2" squares and you should have about 48 squares. Now comes the fun part of using the Railfence block.

Step 4: Take two of the blocks you just cut and layout 6 of them in a row. You can start the first one laying vertical then the next block in line turn horizontal. Do this until you lay out your first row. Then the 2nd row do just the opposite. You will have 8 rows of 6 blocks. Using your creativity, audition diverse ways to turn the blocks to create whatever pattern you desire. Here is what pattern I chose:

I chose to have my light color on the outside on the first block and on the top of the second block. And then continued that pattern all the way across. 

Step 5: sew the blocks together in each row.
Step 6: Sew each row together to complete your quilt top.
Step 7: I added two borders, an inner border using the "Khaki" Fabric and the "Blenders Red" for the outside border.
Step 8: Sandwich the backing, batting, and quilt top then quilt however you desire. I chose a simple "Stitch in the Ditch" and scalloped the edges before binding the quilt. For my backing I used "Calico Leaf" green fabric with the Khaki fabric for the binding.

There are many variations you can do with this quilt including how many colors you use in each strip.

Let me show you the baby quilt I made using five fabrics instead of three. My quilt instructor at "Sun Valley Quilt" shop showed me how to make this one. It's one of my most favorites.

I'll give the directions and measurements below.
You will need 5 fabrics of the same hue, we did green. we started with a dark green and chose four other fabrics each lighter than the previous one. You want your first fabric to be dark and your last fabric to be light. This is also a great way to learn the differences between lights, mediums, and darks, hues, shades and color choices.
You will do 7 Railfence blocks across and 8 blocks down.
Cut your 5 fabrics into 1 1/2" strips.

Sew 1 strip of each color together. Rinse and Repeat, OK Sew and Repeat.
This is what you should get after you've done all your sewing:

Now cut from each strip set 5 1/2" squares. Again, Cut and Repeat until you have 56 blocks.
Arrange these blocks to create whatever pattern you desire just by turning the blocks and matching colors. You should have enough blocks to do 7 blocks in each row with 8 rows. Have fun playing with colors and hues. 
These are pretty fast and easy quilts and the results are amazing just by the way you turn the Railfence blocks.
Baby quilt for my cousin, Mandy, in Australia for their
first baby.
Quilt for my Sister, Bree, to use as décor in her condo.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Forks in the Quilt Making Road

As I was working on my next quilt project, 10-minute blocks, I discovered along the way forks in my quilt making road. Not just one fork but multiple forks. Have you come to forks in your quilt making road? Let me explain:

My road began with a need for a very quick and easy quilt needing to be completed Monday, April 8th but starting on Friday, April 5th. So you see I didn't have a whole lot of time. I  decided to create a quilt using the quilt pattern of 10-minute blocks which I found on YouTube as a tutorial. Click the book cover below to watch the tutorial.

The first fork in my quilt making road I came to was: Fabric choices, cost and size of blocks that would be cost effective. I discovered I did not have the fabric in my stash so what do I choose now?
Fork: Go to the Left and purchase fabric with exact size blocks or go to the right and make the blocks out of bandannas and 5" blocks which, by the way, only costs $1.00 per bandanna.

Choice: Go to the right and purchase bandannas and do 5" blocks instead of the 10" ones in the book. Result?

So I cut the bandanas into 5" blocks and began arranging them into various color options and design patterns. This is where a design wall comes in handy, however, I do not have one of those, I have a design carpet bedroom floor. It works fabulously and Bremley, the Quilting Kitty and Caesar, the Quilt Tester have an easier time doing their jobs as assistants. See for yourself:
Caesar, the quilt tester, waiting for his que to test
my quilt.
Now that I had thing arranged how I wanted I began the process of making each block. One block used five 5" squares. A 4-square block with a square in the middle. Here's how to do it.
Take that square in the middle and fold it in half, if you use bandanas or batiks it won't matter which side you use, wrong sides together. Place raw edges on the bottom edge of upper right corner square. (Orange on top yellow square). Bring the Top left square face down on top of folded square. (Blue top of Orange and yellow) Sew a 1/4" seam on left side. Open it up and look what you get.
I pressed the blue and yellow seams together.
Now here comes the next step: Place the folded square on top of the bottom left square and line it up at the top of that block. (Orange on yellow)
Take the Lower Right square (Blue) and place it under the folded center square. (Orange) Place the Lower Left square (Yellow) on top of folded center square, face down and sew a 1/4" on left side. Let's open it up with wrong sides together and press. What do we get?
A sort of "H" shape
Now comes the fun, magic part. Watch carefully or replay the tutorial a couple of times. Take two blocks you see on top (Blue and Yellow in this case) and bring right sides together. Yep, just pick them right up. Don't worry about the back two. They'll fall into place and ignore the center piece for just a moment. This is what it should look like at this stage:
Wait!!! The magic is just about to happen!! Look!! Watch very, very carefully!!! Before your very eyes, take that center folded piece and spread it open like a triangle. What you are really doing is opening the center square and spreading east and west to match up the seams of the top and bottom blocks. It's going to be a bit awkward, however, this is how it will look:
This is the inside of the center folded block when spread
East and West or mooshed into a triangle.

Now quickly pin it once you have a triangle and the seams match up and the fabric of the triangle is even with the raw edge of the block. Now sew a 1/4" down that side, yes even over the triangle. But don't run over your needle. That's very bad.

Now open up your block and look what has happened!!!!!
With 5 pieces of fabric and only 3 seams, YES, that's what I said, only 3seams,
You get.....
MAGIC!!! A diamond in the middle of your block!!!. Now you can leave it just like that or... Wait!!
Here is another fork in the road....
Fork: Go Right= Leave square exactly how it is and you get a 3-D look or Go Left= Bring in the sides of the square, pin them down and sew all the way around. (Cathedral look)
I will choose to go left but this is where I discovered a little more difficult "Fork in my quilt making road", Go Right=this will take longer than a weekend (Smaller blocks) choose a different pattern. Go Left= Keep going with this and let the Birthday Girl know her quilt will be coming soon.
I chose to go Right. I wanted her to have her quilt for Monday so here was my alternative quilt.

Therefore, Forks in the quilt making road are great to have and keep you on your toes. So keep an eye out for your own forks and choose your own adventure!!!!