Too Easy!

5 11 2012

Yes, this quilt is “too easy,” but sometimes we want to sew something simple and uncomplicated.

The pieces of many baby quilts have passed under my sewing machine presser foot in the past few years. And always, there are scraps. Fun. Brightly colored. But not coordinated with any other juvenile prints in my stash. Why not intermix the scraps with some bright tonals and polka dots and make a stairstep-type quilt?

A new book, Skip the Borders: Easy Patterns for Modern Quilts by Julie Herman has recently caught my attention. Wouldn’t it be great to simply piece a quilt and not worry about selecting and cutting and measuring and pinning and sewing and pressing a border? Certainly I could happily save an hour by skipping the border!

My idea for this scrappy baby quilt was to simulate a border by repeating the fabric squares on each of the four sides of the quilt. This type of non-border and the black print frame give my eyes a resting place.

If you would like to make your own “Too Easy: Stairsteps” quilt, cut squares 4″ or 4 1/2″. The black frame strips were cut 2 1/2″ wide. (You may need to piece the longest strips to attain the necessary length.) While making the quilt, I photographed the trickiest part of the construction for you to see.

Sew the interior rows of squares together. Then add black print 2 1/2″ wide strips to the top and bottom of the quilt. Next, sew rows of squares to the top and bottom of the quilt for the non-border. Sew long black print strips to the sides of the quilt. Note the 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle of black print sewn between the corner squares and the rows of squares for the sides. Finally, add the side non-border rows of squares. Press seams toward the black print frame.

Be sure to pin the non-borders to the quilt, lining up the seam allowances of the squares across the black print frame strips. Machine baste 1/4″ from the edge all around the perimeter of the quilt prior to layering the quilt top with batting and backing; this prevents the seams from pulling apart during the quilting process.

I pieced a row of extra squares to enlarge the back of the quilt.From the photo above, you can see that I quilted spirals in each square. I quilted “Spikey Spirals” in the non-border and “Snail Spirals” in the interior rows of squares. I quilted a chain of loops in the black print frame.

Spikey Spirals

Snail Spirals

While searching for juvenile and bright prints in my scrap box of 4 1/2″ squares, I noticed a lot of Civil War reproduction prints. Perhaps another “Too Easy: Stairsteps” quilt is on my horizon.

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