Welcome to the very first week of the Rockin' Rectangles Quilt-Along! Now, this is not your typical quilt-along. Rather than working on one quilt design over the next six weeks, I will be sharing six tutorials for simple quilt designs that you may choose to use for the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge, which starts immediately after the quilt-along. All the quilts fit into the theme of Rockin' Rectangles, involving rectangle shapes or rectangle-shaped blocks in their construction. There being nothing new under the sun, these designs were inspired by beautiful quilts seen out and about, but the tutorials are my own.
So let's get started with our first quilt design!
"Place Your Bet"
I have to credit my husband with the name for this quilt. I originally started out with the idea of staggered coins - boring! But they do look like stacks of coins to me, like when you are counting out your - - - loose change! But then he piped in with "Place Your Bet" - much more interesting, right?? And so it was named. Like stacks of chips on a poker table, this quilt will be a winner!
This quilt can be a great scrap busting quilt if you choose to do that. For mine, I used some charm packs that had been gathering dust in my stash. If you're like me, you like to buy charm packs to get a little bit of each fabric in a collection - but you don't really have a purpose for that charm pack when you buy it. However, you probably tend to pick the same types of colors, as I found when I was digging through my stash. I had a charm pack of Kate Spain's Grand Canal and another of Hey Dot by Brigitte Heiland for Zen Chic. The colors in each worked well together, so I pulled them out for this quilt.
Quilt Size: Approximately 62" x 64"
Block Size: Thirty blocks, approximately 10 1/2" square
Coins: 2 charm packs or 75 five inch squares, cut into 2.5" x 5" rectangles
Block background: 1 5/8 yards. Cut into 2.5" width-of-fabric (WOF) strips, then crosscut into:
150 2.5" x 2.75" rectangles
150 2.5" x 3.75" rectangles
Quilt background: 1 1/4 yards. Cutting directions will be given later in the tutorial.
Binding: 1/2 yard
Backing: 3 2/3 yards
This is a fast quilt because it lends itself to chain piecing very well! Take your print pieces and your 2.5 x 2.75 background pieces, and sew a background piece to the side of each print piece. CAUTION: Be sure you are sewing the 2.5" side to your prints - there's not much difference visually and it's easy to do the wrong side. (Don't ask me how I know!) Chain piece as you go, which if you're new to this means that you don't cut the thread between blocks, but just keep on sewing one after the other. You'll end up with a long string of blocks sewn together - like a chain!
Once you've sewn all the smaller background pieces to one side of the print pieces, take the chain and turn it around, then sew the larger background pieces to the other end, also chain piecing.
Congratulations! You now have a very large pile of "building blocks" for your quilt!
Cut the threads between each unit, and press the seams towards the print pieces. Then lay out a group of five, alternating short end with long end on each side of the block. Mix those prints up good! If you used two different lines of fabric, like I did, you may want to be sure to mix the two lines in each block.
Sew each set of strips together, pressing all the seams in the same direction. And don't worry if your blocks aren't exactly 10.5" square - mine weren't - because your columns will end up the same length, or near enough.
Once you have a nice stack of blocks, start laying them out on your design wall (or floor, as the case may be) so you can see how pretty they will look together. Your top block should have the small background piece in the upper left corner; then flip the next block upside down so that the larger background piece is in the upper left corner. That will keep the pattern consistent all the way down.
Each column has six blocks, and there are five columns of blocks, as you can see below. Be sure that all your columns start with the smaller background piece in the upper left hand corner. Once you are happy with your layout, sew each column of blocks together.
Now it's time to measure for your quilt background strips. Take all of your columns and measure them down the middle, through the print blocks, from top to bottom. Take the average of all five measurements, then multiply by six. This is how many inches of background sashing you will need. Now cut enough 2.5" x WOF strips from your background fabric to make your six sashing strips. Cut them all to the same length.
This is something you will seldom hear me say, but it's time to pin pin pin! I usually fold my block column in half and mark halfway from top to bottom, then fold my sashing strip and do the same. Pin the sashing strip to each end and match the middles, then pin the strip and column together at intervals, easing the fabric to make them match up. By doing this, you will ensure that your quilt top ends up square and not wavy! Sew sashing strips between the five columns and on the outside edges of the top.
Now measure the width of your top. Do this by matching up the top and bottom edges of your quilt and measuring across the middle (long edge) of the quilt. Using that measurement, create two 2.5" wide border strips for the top and bottom of the quilt. Pin and attach in the same manner as you did for the sashing between the columns.
Now you're ready to "quilt as desired", add a little binding, and you'll have a finished quilt! As you can see, I used a random meandering loop on my quilt, quilting it on my long arm. You could just as easily do straight line quilting with a walking foot on your domestic machine, or even free motion quilting if that's in your repertoire.
Don't you just love those flamingos?
And thus ends our first tutorial. Simple, fast, and a great way to use up random charm packs or those five inch squares of scraps you've been cutting up!
If you'd like to save or print the tutorial for this quilt, here's the easiest way to do it. Scroll to the bottom of this post and look for this little green box:
Click on the green button, and a printer-friendly page will open so you can print and save the tutorial! Voila! And the best part? It won't print out page after page of comments and sidebar stuff. Hooray!
Don't want to print it out? This tutorial will remain here as long as the internet is alive, so you could just bookmark the post and create a group in your bookmarks for Tutorials! That way you can find it any time.
Be sure to come back next week for another fun quilt in the Rockin' Rectangles series. Oh, and if you want to get a head start on a later quilt, grab your string "hamper of shame" or whatever you keep them in, press them and cut them into 8.5" lengths. It's hard to say how many you'll need - I seriously over-cut, so I'll be making a bunch of these quilts - but it does take time, so start early!
PS Are you getting excited about Hands2Help 2019? I am!!!