FABRIC AND TOOLS YOU’LL NEED - Fabric A: 2 yards of a large-scale all-over pattern, for the quilt top - Fabric B: 2 yards of a second large-scale patterned fabric that coordinates with the first fabric— when in doubt, buy two fabrics from the same designer’s collection. - Fabric C: 4 yards of a small print, for the border and backing - Fabric D: 1 yard of a solid color, for the binding - One 71 1/2-inch square piece of polyester or polyester blend batting; polyester batting, which has a sort of "sticky" texture, is best for tied quilts, which don't have a lot of stitching to hold the layers together - Off-white cotton thread, for piecing the quilt - 20 yards pearl cotton or crochet cotton thread, for tying the quilt - No. 2 pencil - A sturdy ruler: best basic one for quilting is an acrylic one that is 6 by 24 inches. - Fabric scissors or rotary cutter - Sewing machine if you have one: otherwise, it is perfectly fine to make this quilt by hand. - Sewing needles and an embroidery needle with a large eye. - Masking tape. - Quilting safety pins, which come with a bend on one side.
CUT OUT THE QUILT BLOCKS 1. Using scissors or a rotary cutter, first cut off the thickly woven edges on the sides of the fabric called selvedges: if you include these in your quilt squares, the fabric will be distorted. Then cut 18 blocks from Fabric A, each 10 inches square. Cut on the crosswise grain (this means that you will cut squares in a straight row across the width of the fabric). 2. Cut 18 blocks from Fabric B, each 10 inches square.| 3. If you are going to be piecing the blocks by hand, draw a sewing line on the wrong side of each 1/4 inch inside the edge. (If you sew by machine, you will use markings on your machine to maintain a quarter-inch seam line).
MAKE THE QUILT TOP 4. Arrange the blocks of Fabric A and B in 6 rows of 6, alternating the fabrics. 5. Pin and then stitch the blocks in each row together. Start by placing two blocks with right sides together, stitching a straight line down one side of the square, 1/4 inch from the edge. As you finish each seam, open the attached blocks and gently press the seam allowances flat (you can just use your fingers until a row is finished, then press the seam allowances with an iron). The rule of thumb is to press the seam allowances toward the darker of the two fabric patches: then it won’t show through on the finished quilt. 6. Pin and then stitch the rows of blocks together. Press the seam allowances toward the bottom of the quilt.
MAKE THE BORDER 7. Cut Fabric C crosswise in half. 8. Cutting along the lengthwise grain of one piece of Fabric C, cut four 4-inch strips. Set aside the rest of this piece of fabric for the backing. 9. Pin and then stitch one 4-inch strip to the top of the quilt top and one to the bottom, then press the seam allowances toward the outside edge. 10. Trim off the ends of the attached strips so that they are even with the quilt top. Stitch the remaining two 4-inch strips to the sides of the quilt and trim off the ends so they are even.
MAKE THE BACKING 11. Pin and then stitch one of the 2-yard long sides of each of the 2 remaining pieces of Fabric C together to make the backing; you will have a roughly square piece of a little more than 70 inches. Measure the completed quilt top and trim the pieced backing and the batting so that they are 3 inches larger on all sides than the quilt top.
TIE THE QUILT 12. Press the quilt top flat. 13. You want to place the knots so that they accentuate the patterns of the fabric. Stagger the ties evenly so they are 6 to 10 inches apart: you can use a pencil and gently mark the placement of ties on the quilt top before doing the actual tying. 14. Prepare your “quilt sandwich.” Place the backing on a clean floor in your house or apartment; with the right side facing down Use masking tape to tape each corner and the sides to the floor, so the backing fabric is taut. Place the batting layer on top of the backing, smoothing it out from the center to the sides. Then, arrange the quilt top on the batting layer, with the finished side (right side) facing up. You need to baste the 3 layers together, which some quilters do using thread and extra big stitches. An easier method is to pin the layers together -- buy special quilt basting safety pins (the bend in these pins makes it easier to pin through all 3 layers). Secure the pins about every 8 inches across the quilt, to hold the layers together while you tie it. Once all the pins are in place, carefully remove the masking tape and lift the quilt sandwich off the floor. 15. To tie the quilt, cut your pearl cotton or crochet cotton into 4-inch pieces. You will need approximately 150 of these pieces to securely tie this quilt. Take one piece of pearl or crochet cotton and thread a large embroidery needle with it. Working from the top of the quilt, punch the needle through all three layers of the quilt and make a single short stitch that is about 1/8 of an inch long. Tug on the ends of the thread until they are even, then tie a double knot. After you have tied all of the knots, using scissors, trim the ends to a length that suits you; the threads on my quilt are roughly 1 inch long. As you add ties, take the pins out.
BIND THE QUILT 16. Trim the edges of the batting and backing so they are even with those of the quilt top. 17. Make a bias binding that is approximately 1/4 inch wide by cutting Fabric D on the diagonal into strips that are 2 1/4 inches wide. Piece these together until they are long enough to go around the edge of the quilt, plus 12 inches. Fold the binding strip in half lengthwise, then press it. Pin and stitch the binding strip to the raw quilt edges 1/4 inch from the edge. There are detailed directions in The Quilter’s Catalog on how to finish a binding. If you know how to do this already great. Otherwise, you can find a video on the Internet that shows how to sew on a binding, including making mitered edges, by going to www.expertvillage.com/videos/quilting-bindinginstructions.htm.
Adapted from Meg Cox's "The Quilter's Catalog: A Comprehensive Resource Guide," published by Workman Publishing Company. For more of Meg's work, including news about her latest book "The New Family Traditions" as well as a second free quilt pattern, head to her website, MegCox.com.