We are adding this page under our Education page and hope to fill it with tutorials, videos and other forms of media to teach and share techniques and expertise in the fiber arts. We will also be using it for this years Block of the Month and many other activities we are involved in. Enjoy.
This month we have the first block in our BOM (short for Block of the Month, in case you didn’t know)
we will show directions via text on this page and will provide a link to Revised Rail Fence document you can download and print.
The Sampler Quilt Sew Along
Sampler quilts are a great way to master different blocks and have a finished quilt when you are done. You can make as many or as few blocks as you wish and in the end you can choose which ones to put in your quilt. Our goal is to help you finish your sampler quilt before the Southern New Mexico State Fair in September so that you can enter it if you wish.
Block 1: Rail Fence
This is a great, traditional block that looks beautiful on its own or as an entire quilt. It can be easily adapted to any size you like.
Use a standard ¼ inch seam width.
Step one – Select four fabrics that you like, with at least one being dark and at least one being light.
Step two– Cut one 2-inch strip by WOF (width of fabric) from each color.
Tip: When sewing strip sets, sew top to bottom, then sew next strip from bottom to top. Alternate sewing direction helps to prevent flaring.
Measure the width of your strip set. Ideally it should measure 6 ½ inches wide. Cut the strip into squares, i.e., if your strip set is 6 ½ inches wide cut the strip into 6 ½ inch segments, if it’s 6 ¼ inches, cut the strip into 6 ¼ squares, etc. The strip should yield 6 squares.
Step four– Take four of the squares and arrange them into a four patch that looks something like the block on left:
Step five– Sew the two top halves together and the two bottom halves together(R). Press the seams in opposite directions so you will be able to nest the seams when sewing the top and bottom together. This will help insure your block lines up when you are done.
You have now completed a rail fence block. This block is perfect in a sampler, but it’s also great as a quilt:
To make a quilt top:
1 yard each of four fabrics for strip sets
1 yard Border fabric
Yardage sufficient to bind and back your quilt
Cut (16) 2” by WOF strips from each fabric.
Cut (7) 3 ½ “ by WOF strips for border.
** (In quilt top to the right, I cut the black border 1” and the printed border 3”)
Sew together 16 strip sets that are identical in fabric order. Follow the instructions above to complete your blocks. This will yield 24 blocks. Arrange them in a pattern you like and stitch them together in 6 rows of 4 blocks each matching seams as you go. Stitch the rows together. If necessary, square the quilt top before adding borders. When you are ready to add borders, measure each side of the quilt. Cut two identical border strips and stitch them to each side. Now measure the top and bottom and again cut two identical border strips and stitch.
To resize the quilt block:
Choose your strip width. The wider the strip is, the bigger the block will be.
Follow the instructions above to make your block.
Many patterns on the internet use jelly roll (2 ½ “ ) strips and make a very scrappy rail fence. Experiment and have fun. Making a rail fence quilt is a good way to reduce your stash. Also remember, if you’d like to donate a rail fence (or any other pattern) quilt or quilt top to the Community Cupboard it is always welcome!
Block 2: Log Cabin
Finishes at 12 ½”
The Log Cabin block is both easy and versatile. There are a lot of free quilt patterns on the internet that use this basic block, and it’s also easy to design your own quilt by playing with the colors and placement of blocks.
For this block, I used 7 different fabrics. Choose three light and three dark fabrics. You will also need fabric for the center square. Traditionally, the center square of a log cabin block was red or yellow to symbolize the fireplace or hearth in the cabin. In this block I chose white to coordinate with my shades of blue.
Cut one center block (A) 3 ½ inches square
From remaining 6 fabrics cut one 2 inch strip x WOF (width of fabric) of each color. (If using fat quarters you will need to cut two each.) You will sub cut two lengths from each strip.
Light Strip One Dark Strip One
B – 2” x 3 ½ “ D – 2” x 5
C – 2” x 5” E – 2” x 6 ½”
Light Strip Two Dark Strip Two
F – 2” 6 ½” H – 2” x 8”
G – 2” x 8” I – 2” x 9 ½”
Light Strip Three Dark Strip Three
J – 2” x 9 ½” L – 2” x 11”
K – 2” x 11” M – 2” x 12 ½”
Sew strip B to one side of the center square, A. Working clockwise around the square, sew strip C onto the center, follow with strip D, then E.
For the next row, sew strip F on top of strip B, and continue around the square clockwise with G, H, and I in order. Repeat with J (one top of F), K, L, and M.
Press the seams as you go. You can finger press or use your iron. If using your iron remember to press only, don’t go back and forth as this could distort your material.
Tip from Erma Giron – sew with a scant 1/4” seam (I moved my needle 0.25 mm to the right) to insure you get a 12 ½ inch block. A larger block can be trimmed to fit but a small block creates a headache!
Three color variation below:
For a quilt made of Log Cabin blocks, try this easy layout with 24 blocks and two 3-inch borders above right. If you want a pdf you can download click here