MaryQuilts.com. The finished size will be 32 x 41 inches. I chose this size to give us a large enough space to practice a variety of patterns, while keeping the quilt manageable for those who will be rolling a quilt under their machine arm for the first time. The size should work well with prepackaged batting options. This will be quick to cut and piece, and gives us a variety of areas to quilt within.
large strips: 28.5 inches by 32 inches (cut three strips 9.5 inches wide)
medium strips: 12 inches by 32 inches (cut four strips 3 inches wide)
small strips: 6 inches by 32 inches (cut four strips 1.5 inches wide)
Fabric for quilt backing: 36 inches by 44 inches (most quilting fabrics are 44 inch wide, so you need 1 yard)
You will also need some fabric for a "practice pad": 2 pieces 12 inches by 18 inches
Batting for quilt: at least 34 inches by 44 inches
Batting for practice pad: 12 inches by 18 inches
The seams are sewn with a standard 1/4" seam allowance, but since there are no blocks or points to match, this is not that important. You will arrange the strips as follows:
medium, small, large
medium, small, large
small, medium, large
Do not think too much about your fabric choices. Use any fabric you have. This is a great opportunity to use fabric that you don't really want around anymore. Seriously. Just pick three fabrics and start cutting them. If at any time you think to yourself "My god, this is one ugly quilt" then you have succeeded in this exercise, which is to make a quilt top that you are not at all attached to. I chose plain, darker fabrics so that my stitching will be easier to photograph.
Questions you may have:
- Which way do I press the seams? Anyway you like.
- Do I have to make all my large (or medium, or small) strips from the same fabric? No, you can mix and match fabrics as you'd like.
- Can I piece the strips out of smaller scraps? Certainly! I made the pattern with unpieced strips so it could be assembled quickly but if you have scraps you'd like to get rid of, by all means piece them together.
- I don't want to make the quilt top, can I just quilt on scraps? Sure! I recommend that you make a bunch of quilt sandwiches right now, so you can grab one and start quilting when its time to go, instead of having to stop and ponder which fabric to sacrifice. 10 inches by 15 inches would be a good size for these.
- Can I make my quilt bigger/smaller? Absolutely, do what works for you. I'd recommend keeping the strips the same width (9.5, 3, and 1.5 inches) and varying their length, or using more or less strips as needed. If you need to slightly change the dimensions of the strips to fit the fabric that you have, go right ahead. Smaller quilts won't give you as much practice space. Larger quilts will be bulkier to maneuver but I'm sure you can handle it.
- I already have a lot of quilt tops - can I just use one of those instead? That's fine by me. The quilting exercises we do may not be the ideal designs for your particular quilt, but if that is preferable to having another unfinished quilt top in your house then go ahead and do what works best for you.