Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial

[lengthy blog post warning]
A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial - Red Pepper Quilts
A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial - Red Pepper Quilts
A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial - Red Pepper Quilts

In my "studio" this week it has been all about small patchwork piecing, small scale prints and those much loved retro / 30's fabrics that I have been collecting so enthusiastically. 

A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial
100 blocks ready to be sewn into a quilt top
I spent two days pulling fabric and cutting. Cutting strips of fabric until I thought I had enough for my quilt, and then some because for some reason I always have to go back and cut more fabric. Every time.

A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial - Red Pepper Quilts

Despite the small patchwork pieces this quilt top came together really well. Each finished square measures 1.25 inches x 1.25 inches, and to make the construction process easier I have strip and chain pieced to my heart's content. And by that I mean that I have created 16-patch blocks like so:
A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial

The 16-patch blocks have been pieced using a simple strip set technique which eliminates the need to work with tiny squares; it is quicker and less fiddly, and in turn I find it more accurate.

A CHECKERBOARD ~ STRIP PIECING TUTORIAL

You will need 4 strips of fabric - 2 solid and 2 printed fabric strips - each fabric strip measuring 8 inches x 1 3/4 inches. I have used Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in White as my solid contrast fabric, although I think that Kona Snow would be a good substitute and in keeping with the era of the prints.
A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial
Using a 1/4" seam allowance sew four strips of fabric together
alternating a solid (light) fabric with a printed (dark) fabric.
The strip set measures 8 inches x 5 1/2 inches.
A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial - pressing seams
Press seams together and towards the printed (dark) fabric.
A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial
Cross-cut the strip-set at 1 3/4" intervals.
You will have some excess fabric left over which 
 you may need if your strip set is a little wonky - straighten/trim your 
strip set as is required.
Repeat times 100 or for as many blocks as you need for your quilt.
Each block measures 5 1/2 inches x 5 1/2 inches including seam allowances.

A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial

And then you are ready to start sewing your units into 16-patch blocks. I pieced my blocks at random, choosing colors/patterns as pleased my eye, confident that in the end the overall scrappy blocks would work together well.
A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial
When sewing units together into 16-patch blocks
be sure to arrange the units the same way. 
Consistently start with a printed (dark) fabric patch in the top left hand corner
thereby ensuring that all 16-patch blocks are pieced in the same way. 
A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial - pressing seams
Press seams together in the same direction.
Again ensure that all blocks are identical.
Example only - actual quilt top is 10 blocks wide by 10 rows.
Once you have enough blocks to make a quilt top simply arrange your blocks in rows, alternating the direction of the seams for every row. The arrows above refer to the direction of the final seam allowances of the individual blocks. By alternating the direction of the final seam allowance all of the other seams will also nest together and will make matching seams easy.

A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial
A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial

This tutorial is not all that different from my Postage Stamp Tutorial but as the fabric strip sets are smaller, and the seams have been pressed differently (due to the use of the contrasting white fabric), I thought that rather than send you there with a list of tutorial modifications, I would share this simple checkerboard technique with you here.

A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial - Red Pepper Quilts
A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial

And in case you would like to work with smaller/larger patchwork units:

1 inch finished squares : : cut fabric strips 1.5 inches x 7 inches : : cross-cut the strip set at 1.5 inch intervals.
16-patch block measures 4.5 inches x 4.5 inches (incl. seam allowances).

1.5" finished squares : : cut fabric strips 2 inches x 9 inches : : cross-cut the strip set at 2 inch intervals.
16-patch block measures 6.5 inches x 6.5 inches (incl seam allowances).

2" finished squares : : cut fabric strips 2.5 inches x 11 inches : : cross-cut the strip set at 2.5 inch intervals.
16-patch block measures 8.5 inches x 8.5 inches (incl seam allowances).

Cutting fabric strips from many different fabrics can be time consuming but if you plan ahead and cut a strip every you pull out a fabric eventually you will have enough to get started. Or dive into your scrap bin and start busting those scraps.

A Checkerboard Quilt and a Strip Piecing Tutorial - Red Pepper Quilts
One hundred 16-patch blocks and 1600 patchwork pieces.
200 different printed fabrics.
1.5 yards of Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in White.
Quilt Top measures 50.5 inches x 50.5 inches.
Any questions?  Please feel free to ask by leaving a comment, and I will reply in the comments section.

Thank you for stopping by,
Rita

RELEVANT LINKS:
Red Pepper Quilts Tutorials
Checkerboard Quilt - A Finished Quilt

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43 comments:

  1. What a beautiful piece of art Rita!

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  2. This is a beautiful quilt top! I love the fabrics. They are so fun.

    I made a postage stamp (extra large queen size) quilt my for bed. Unfortunately I didn't have this great tutorial (or really any idea what I was doing). I cut out each individual 2.5" square and then sewed them together. It was the second quilt I ever did. I love the result but next time I'm definitely doing it this way!

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  3. I love seeing those teetering stacks of color. It is one of my favourite things about quilting, seeing bits of color and pattern come together into sets and units and blocks and finally a quilt. Each part is a small goal. Something done eagerly to see the next part done, which leads on to the next. It sort of propels me along, that desperate love of seeing pattern emerge and shaking a finished quilt top out and unfurling it to the light.

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  4. I see one of of these in my very near future! Thank you for the clear and very pretty instructions! :)

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  5. so pretty and delicate! I love it!

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  6. I never thought of making my blocks this way. Thank you for the tutorial, and know that you have saved me hours of work.

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  7. Another beauty done by Rita! thanks!

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  8. A brilliant tutorial and a beautiful quilt. Thanks Rita!

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  9. ooh.. so beautiful.... :) thanks for the tutorial Rita

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  10. Love it. Makes me want to start cutting some strips!

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  11. Love your colorful top and thanks you for the tuto and tips!!

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  12. What a great way to make this quilt. Love it, will have give it a try.

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  13. Love your tutorials Rita! Thanks for sharing your knowledge :)

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  14. Love your quilt. Great use of scraps

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  15. AHA moments! Thank you very much! Gorgeous too :)

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  16. How I love your fabrics and projects...thanks for the tutorial!

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  17. such tiny pieces this is a real beauty and thanks fro the tutorial but I am afraid it is a bit too fiddly for me, I struggle with tiny!

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  18. Oh, I am definitely doing this one next! I love the tiny squares, and your strip technique is just up my alley! Thanks so much for the great tutorial!! :)

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  19. several a-ha moments, here too! And a big wow!!

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  20. Beautiful! Great tutorial, thanks!

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  21. Such a beautiful quilt in my very favourite 30's fabrics. Thank you for the tutorial, now I know what to make with my collection too.

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  22. Thank you - great tutorial. Can't wait to try it out.

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  23. Tutorials of any sort take FOREVER to put together, thankyou for all your time . You are the bomb Rita .

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  24. Thanks Rita :) Awesome tutorial.

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  25. Most excellent: the tut and the quilt. Thank you so very much!

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  26. Awwww, if that quilt were on my bed, I'd wake up in a good mood every morning! Beautiful and delicious!

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  27. Thank you for a wonderful tutorial! The pictures and details are so helpful.

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  28. Really beautiful! I always enjoy seeing what you come up with :)

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  29. Great post and fabulous quilt. I love your methods to work smarter not harder and the outcome is a meticulously pieced product. Brilliant!

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  30. That is very beautiful. I love the white every other square - it really highlights the chosen patterns and keeps the quilt from looking too busy. Being a new quilter, I would probably go with sixteen 13 by 13 squares - 8 fabrics, about 1.5 yds of white and would finish about the same size. : ) I'll have to work my up to smaller units. Plus - my stash needs to grow exponentially!

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  31. Lovely quilt. And you make it sound so easy, but looks so time consuming,,,,Thank you for the wonderful post.....

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  32. Hi Rita,
    I'm absolutely stunned.
    This quilt is so great! Well done :-)
    Greetings from Germany, Olga

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  33. Great tutorial. Your quilts are beautiful!

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  34. Thank you for the tutorial. What a stunning end result Sarah xo

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  35. I'm bookmarking this tutorial. I love this quilt. I'm new to embroidery and quilting and no way ready for a large quilt but I would love to try this on one of my small projects (i. e. Wall hanging, mug rug etc.). Thank you so much. Now back to drooling over your beautiful quilts.

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  36. I love this so much. I saw it on Instagram when it was first posted and, well, I don't think I've stopped thinking about it! If I may, how many different prints did you use? Thank you for sharing!

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  37. Just wanted to say how much I like it. Thanks for showing how.

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