Free Project: Fields and Fences

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This quilt is a variation of the traditional Rail Fence pattern, which is one of the simplest and quickest quilts that you can make. Each block is made up of strips that run in the same direction. You create an overall design by turning the blocks so that the strips run either horizontally or vertically.

The strips in a Rail Fence block can all be the same width—or not. The colors can remain in fixed positions in each block—or not. There are so many variables that even though the Rail Fence design is simple, it is incredibly versatile.

Finished quilt: 54˝ × 54˝ | Finished blocks: 18˝ × 18˝ and 9˝ × 9˝ | Made by Becky Goldsmith

MATERIALS

• 5 different blue fabrics: 2/3 yard each

• White fabric: 1/2 yard

• Green accent fabric: 1/3 yard

• Binding: 7/8 yard

• Backing and sleeve: 3 3/4 yards

• Batting: 62˝ × 62˝

CUTTING
WOF = width of fabric

Large center blocks

• Cut 2 strips 3 1/2˝ × WOF from each of the 5 different blue fabrics.

• Cut 2 strips 2 1/2˝ × WOF from the white fabric.

• Cut 2 strips 1 1/2˝ × WOF from the green accent fabric.

Small border blocks

• Cut 5 strips 2˝ × WOF from each of the 5 different blue fabrics.

• Cut 5 strips 1 1/2˝ × WOF from the white fabric.

• Cut 5 strips 1˝ × WOF from the green accent fabric.

Binding

• Cut 1 square 28˝ × 28˝ to make a 2 1/2˝-wide continuous bias strip 230˝ long; see Making Continuous Bias Binding (page 32).

Large Center Block Assembly
Prepare the Strips

1. Unfold 3 of the 3 1/2˝ × WOF blue strips. Stack the strips evenly on top of each other.

2. Place a 6 1/2˝ × 24 1/2˝ ruler over the stacked strips, keeping the lines on the ruler even with the long cut edges of the strips. Trim away the selvages from 1 end of the strips.

3. Reposition the ruler and cut 3 stacked strips 3 1/2˝ × 18 1/2˝ 

4. Reposition the ruler and cut 3 more stacked strips 3 1/2˝ × 18 1/2˝. Repeat for all 3 1/2˝ × WOF blue strips.

5. Sew a 2 1/2˝ × WOF white strip and a 1 1/2˝ × WOF green strip together lengthwise, with right sides together.

6. Press the seam allowances toward the green fabric. The two strips together should now measure 3 1/2˝ wide. Repeat for the remaining white and green strips.

7. Place 1 pieced green and white strip right side up on your cutting mat. Place a 6 1/2˝ × 24 1/2˝ ruler over the strip, keeping a line on the ruler even with the seamline. Cut a total of 4 strips 3 1/2˝ × 18 1/2˝ from the 2 green and white strips.

Make the Large Center Blocks
There are several seams in each block. If your seam allowance is too wide or too narrow, even by a fraction of an inch, the width of the whole block can be affected. Check the size of your units often.
Sew a complete block first. After you have established an accurate 1/4˝ seam allowance, you can begin chain sewing the strips together.
1. Use 1 of each of the 6 different 3 1/2˝ × 18 1/2˝ strips in each block. Place the strips on your design wall and play with their placement in each block before you begin sewing.
2. Working from your design wall, pin and sew the first 2 adjacent strips together. Press the seam allowances toward the darker fabric. The strips together should now measure 6 1/2˝ wide.If they do not, adjust your seam allowance.
3. Sew the remaining strips in the block together into pairs. Press the seam allowances toward the darker fabrics.
4. Sew the 3 strip pairs together to make a block. Press the seam allowances toward the darker fabrics.The block should measure 18 1/2˝ × 18 1/2˝

Small Border Block Assembly

1. Sew a 1 1/2˝ × WOF white strip and a 1˝ × WOF green strip together lengthwise, right sides together.

2. Press the seam allowances toward the green fabric. The combined strip should measure 2˝ wide. Repeat for the remaining white and green strips.

3. Sort your strips into 5 stacks of 6 strips, with 1 each of the 5 different 2˝ × WOF blue strips, plus a white and green pieced strip, in each stack. Rearrange the position of the strips in each stack to add variety to the blocks.

4. Sew the top 2 strips in the first stack right sides together. Press the seam allowances toward the darker fabric. The combined strips should measure 3 1/2˝ wide. If they do not, adjust your seam allowance.

5. Sew the remaining strips in the stack into pairs. Press the seam allowances toward the darker fabric. Measure the strips and adjust your seam allowance as necessary.

6. Sew the 3 strip pairs together. The combined strips should measure 9 1/2˝ wide.

7. Place the pieced strips right side up on your cutting mat. Use a square 12 1/2˝ × 12 1/2˝ ruler if available. If not, use 2 rulers together that are at least 9 1/2˝ long. Place the ruler over the pieced strips, keeping the lines on the ruler even with the seams. Trim away the selvages from 1 end of the pieced strip.

8. Rotate the pieced strips on your cutting mat (or walk to the other side of your table). Reposition the ruler and cut 1 square 9 1/2˝ × 9 1/2˝.

9. Move the remaining pieced strips as needed to keep them on your cutting mat. Line the ruler up with the seams in the pieced strip and cut 3 more squares 9 1/2˝ × 9 1/2˝.

10. Repeat this process to make a total of 20 squares 9 1/2˝ × 9 1/2˝.

Quilt Assembly

Refer to the quilt assembly diagram below for quilt construction. Press the seams in the direction of the arrows.

1. Place all of the blocks on your design wall. Play with their placement until you are happy.
2. Sew the large center blocks together to make 2 horizontal rows. Press in the direction of the arrows. Maneuver the seams at the block center so that you can press them flat. This may be easier if you loosen a few stitches.

3. Sew the 2 rows of large center blocks together. Pay close attention to the direction of the blocks as you sew. Press.

4. Sew 4 small border blocks together to make the side borders. Press.

5. Sew the side borders to the quilt. Press.

6. Sew 6 small border blocks together to make the top and bottom borders. Press.

7. Sew the top and bottom borders to the quilt. Press.

Finishing

1. Layer and baste the quilt.

2. Quilt by hand or machine.

3. Bind and add a sleeve and label.

Get more great projects from our book, Piecing the Piece O' Cake Way!

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  • Piecing the Piece O' Cake Way
  • free project
  • Becky Goldsmith
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