The hardest thing for beginner quilters to get right is matching up the corners of each piece. This quilt looks great and has no corners to be matched. The drawing shows what unmatched corners look like. This is very noticeable in the finished quilt--and the first thing that some quilters notice about any quilt. So with this design, all the corners are intentionally unmatched.
You can create many different looks for your quilt with this same design. You just have to switch up the colors. I have shown just a few of the possibilities.
Step 1: Cutting the Pieces
There are only 2 different pieces to cut out. You can choose any size square to start with--I have been working with 3 inches a lot lately. The pieces are large enough to allow the quilt to come together quickly but small enough that you can see the overall design in even a lap sized quilt.
The project will work equally well with a 2 inch square as well as 4 inches. Just pick a number and let's move on.
My finished quilt is a 36 inch square (but your can be just about any size) To figure out how many pieces to cut, there is a little math--sorry. 36 divided by 3 means that there will be 12 rows in my quilt. Most of the pieces will be rectangles that are 3 by 6 inches. 36 divided by 6 means that half of the rows will have 6 rectangles in them. The other half of the rows will have 5 rectangles (one less than the number just calculated) and 2 squares each.
6 rows of 6 rectangles = 36 rectanglar pieces
6 rows of 5 rectangles = 30 rectangular pieces
6 rows with 2 squares = 12 square pieces
Total of 66 rectangles and 12 squares.
Since you need a seam allowance, you need to add a half inch to both the length and width--in my case, I cut my rectangles 3 1/2 by 6 1/2 inches and my squares 3 1/2 by 3 1/2. (Quilts are usually made using a quarter inch seam.)
If you are using scrap fabrics (like I have been doing a lot lately), you can just cut a great big pile of pieces. If you want to arrange the colors to make a design, you may want to sketch it out and count.
If you are using 'new' fabric--I recommend 100% cotton woven (non-stretchy) fabric and wash/dry it first. This will pre-shrink it. If you are using old clothes, they are probably already pre-shrunk. I am planning one of these out of my husband's collection of Hawaiian shirts. I cut using a rotary cutter but sharp scissors work too.
Step 2: Sewing Strips
I am making a scrap quilt so my only rule for color arrangement is that I don't sew any fabric to itself. I do try to keep too much of any one color in one spot. If you are trying for a pattern, you may want to keep your sketch close by--easy reference.
I like to sew by hand but a sewing machine makes the process go faster. Using a quarter inch seam allowance, sew the short end of rectangles together. Remember that half of the strips are made using one less rectangle and get a square on both ends.
If you are machine sewing, you can probably use the edge of your pressure foot to get the seam allowance. If you are hand sewing, you can draw a pencil line on the back of the fabric to keep your seam straight and accurate. Use a light colored pencil on dark fabrics.
Step 3: Joining the Strips
Once all the strips are sewn, get out your iron and press your seams. Most quilts are pressed with the seams 'closed'--this means that both edges of the fabric are pressed in the same direction.
Select 2 strips--one with squares on the ends and one without. Pin the end corners together. Then pin along the length of the strip. It is far easier to sew long seams if you pin first. Sew again--same quarter inch seam allowance.
Add additional strips, alternating the strips, until you have them all together.
Step 4: Press and Baste
Press the project one last time--last chance so get all the wrinkles and creases out. I use a lot of steam.
Lay a piece of pre-shrunk backing fabric (muslin is traditional but I use a lot of different things including sheets) on the floor/table. Lay down a layer of quilt batting--be careful not to stretch it. Lay your quilt top over this (face up). Gentle smooth out the wrinkles.
Basting is the temporary attachment of the layers together. You can do this with a needle and thread--just make a really big running stitch line across the whole thing every 4 to 5 inches. I like the safety pin method better. I put a pin in each piece starting in the middle and working outward.
Step 5: Quilting
With this particular design, I usually just quilt 'in the ditch' along the seam that joins the rows. 'In the ditch' means that you are sewing in the actual seam. To me, it makes the quilt look like a brick wall by emphasizing the horizontal lines of the strips.
As you work, you can remove the safety pins or clip the basting threads.
Step 6: Binding
Binding covers the raw edges of the quilt. Most quilters cut their binding fabric into 2 inch strips. I usually prefer 2 1/2 inches.
Fold the strip in half lengthwise. Line up the raw edges of the binding with the edge of the quilt. Sew it in place with the same quarter inch seam allowance.
Trim the excess fabric from around the outside edge.
Wrap the folded edge of the binding to the back side of the quilt and whip stitch it in place.
I am planning another instructable with more details on binding a quilt. I will try to post it soon.