Sunday, February 17, 2019

Rockin' Rectangles - Check Me Out!

Hi, all!

Do you have junior jelly rolls left over, even after last week's tutorial?  Or are you still looking for that "just right" bit of inspiration to use them?  Today's tutorial may be just the ticket for you - bright, sunshine-y and happy, it may spark your interest to make one for yourself!


About three months ago, when I was just starting to look for inspiration for this tutorial series, I saw this absolutely gorgeous scrappy quilt on Pinterest...

...which sparked a search for the original creator of the pattern.  Lynn Dykstra, who blogs over at Klein Meisje Quilts, graciously agreed to let me create my own version and tutorial of this wonderful quilt!  However, if you'd like to see her version and tutorial, you will find them here.

So now, I'd like to introduce you to my version - and in keeping with the theme of "Rockin' Rectangles", it's named for a great old rock-and-roll song - "Check Me Out"!

Quilt Size:  56" x 64"

Fabric Requirements:

1 junior jelly roll containing two strips each fabric. From the jelly roll, choose your favorite nine pairs.  NOTE:  All of the junior jelly rolls I had on hand were set up this way - ten different fabrics, two of each.  Yours may not be the same.

OR 18 2.5" x width-of-fabric (WOF) strips, in matching sets of two (9 different fabrics).

45" (approx. 1.25 yards) x WOF of background yardage (white in the picture above)

Approx. 1.5 yards of sashing/border material (black in picture above)

1/2 yard for binding

First Cutting Instructions:

Using your background yardage, cut 18 2.5" x WOF strips.

Block Construction:
Pairing a background WOF strip and a print WOF strip, sew them together along the long edges.  Repeat for all the strips, chain piecing to save time.  Cut apart and press the seams toward the print fabric.

Now take your strips and cross-cut them into three sections, each a minimum of 12.5" long.  (That is the length required for your final piece, but if you have extra, just cut them a little longer and you can trim off the excess after the next step.) 

Sew the three strips together, alternating print and background colors as shown above.  Press seams towards the print fabric. Trim one end straight.

Now cross-cut the piece into five 2.5" wide strips as shown above.

You should be able to create two matching sets of these five strips (remember needing strips in matching sets of two?) so create the other set now using the instructions above.

Now take two of your matching strips and lay them side by side.  Reverse the one on the right so the blocks form a checkerboard pattern.  NOTE:  BE SURE that you always put the same type of square in the upper left corner - always a print or always a background.  (Don't ask me how I know this.....)  Sew the two together along the long edge, matching the seams carefully.  Press the long seam open (it will make your top lie flatter in the end.)

Repeat until you have made all of your checkerboard blocks.  You will have 45 blocks.  Measure your checkerboard block along the long seam (not the edges) for the next step.  For the purposes of this tutorial, my measurement was 12.5".

Second Cutting Instructions:

Take your sashing material, and cut 45 2.5" x 12.5" strips.  (You should cut yours to the length of your own blocks, whatever that happens to be.  Everyone's seam allowances are a bit different!)

More Block Construction:

Sew a black sashing strip to the left side of your checkerboard blocks.  This is a good time to check and see that the upper left square on your blocks is always a print square, or always a background square.  (Don't ask me how I know....) There's really no good solution to how to press your seams at this point, as all the black seams will be above each other. You could press them open, or alternate pressing towards the sashing or towards the block.  If you choose to alternate, you may want to wait until you decide on the layout of your quilt to press those seams.  

Put them up on your design wall as you go so you can see how beautiful they are! No need to decide on a layout at this point.


Now comes the fun part!  You get to decide what layout you want to use.  This quilt is laid out in nine columns of five blocks.  Here are a few of the ones I fiddled around with...

Plain and simple - the same color in each column.

A little wavy - shifting alternate blocks one column to the right in each row.

A sideways mountain - you can see each color appears in three different rows.

But this is the design I ultimately ended up on - the colors move diagonally across the quilt from upper left to lower right.  It had the right amount of movement for me without being "frantic".  

Once you decide on your layout, start sewing the sashed blocks together into nine columns.  Then sew your columns together.  Now you can press the long sashing seams all towards the sashing.

You're almost done!  If you look at your top so far, you will see that the left side of your quilt has a border, but the other three sides do not.  Let's take care of that!

Final Cutting Instructions:

Take your remaining sashing material, and cut five 2.5" x WOF strips.  Sew them together into one long strip.

Now, measure your top down the center from top to bottom.  (Don't measure the edge - this will help square up your quilt.)  From your long border strip, cut a piece the length of that measurement.  Pin it to the right edge, matching the ends up and easing either the quilt top or the border strip to fit.  (If there's a major difference, check your measurement!)  Sew.  Press seam toward the border strip.

Now measure your top across the center from side to side.  Cut two pieces the length of that measurement.  Again pinning it to the top and easing any extra, sew and press the seams toward the border strips.

And your top is done!  Hopefully the sun is shining - if it is, go outside and take a stained glass shot of your quilt, just because it's beautiful.  Post it on Instagram, pat yourself on the back, then get back to work and finish that quilt!

Quilt as desired - ha!  This quilt would look lovely with straight line cross-hatching on the diagonal, or even just a random meander (which is what I did for time's sake.)  Bind it, and you're good to go!

Size-wise, this quilt would be a match for some of this year's Hands2Help charities - both Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo and Mercyful Quilts would accept quilts in this size.  And if you are one of those who like to "tweak" patterns for size, it could be adapted for Jack's Basket, using fewer blocks.

I hope you like this latest entry into the "Rockin' Rectangles" family - a simple quilt that works up quickly and has a big impact!  Be sure to stop by Lynn's blog and show her some love - she came up with a great design!  And now, in keeping with the theme of the series, here's a blast from the rock-and-roll past to get your toes tapping and put your creative juices in overdrive...

Kind of makes you want to get up and dance, right?  So dance to your stash and pull some fabric - get playing!



**Remember that if you want to get a head start on one of the later tutorials, you can press your strings and cut them into 8.5" lengths. 

**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:

Don't see the green "Print PDF" box?  That's easy to fix. Go to the top of the post, and click on the post title (in this case, "Rockin' Rectangles Begins! Place Your Bet...").  That will open up this post with the comments, and you will see this between the body of the post and the beginning of the comments.

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.


  1. Many, YES, really many years ago I remember dancing the Jive to tunes like that. So easy to listen to. Love the layout with the colours moving up the strips.

  2. I love this quilt. I appreciate the different layout you offered too. Thanks for the tutorial. It's on my to-do list. ;^)
    P.S. I follow Lynn and she has a lot of fun designing quilt made of prints and solids. I love her zipper quilt.

  3. Your version is delightful! My favorite layout of yours is #2.
    A delightful rectangle series you have going on here!

  4. LOVE the rainbow of colors dancing across the quilt! Thanks for another AWESOME tutorial, Sarah.

  5. Woohoo - that took me back to the 60's and did have me dancing. Thanks! Great tutorial and sweet quilt.

  6. That's a beautiful quilt. I love how the colors move!

  7. This is a really striking layout for the four patch! Wow!

  8. Great tutorial. Love all the layout possibilities.

  9. OOOOH Love this quilt. And much thanks for the PDF instructions. I like to save some of the designs I see and this saves me having to copy and paste a whole bunch. I really like the looks of this one.

  10. So much rainbow goodness in your version of this fun design! Thanks for writing up such a nice tutorial :)

  11. A great tutorial for a lovely quilt! Thanks for the pdf link - that's fabulous! I have a bunch of leftovers from a current quilt and have been pondering what to do with them. This would be perfect!


Comments make me smile!! If you want a PDF of a pattern, PLEASE leave your email address in your comment, or email me directly at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com!