My friend Lisa enjoys the simple, yet elegant, vibe of buffalo plaid textiles. With her looking over my shoulder at our church’s quilting group, I began sewing a square topper for her kitchen table. For fabrics, we chose solid black, a white on white print, and a gray mottled snowflake print (Hoffman of California). Planning to make a 17 1/2″ patchwork square, I cut the following number of 3″ x 21″ strips: Black – 4, Gray – 8, White – 4. I made two strip-sets, sewing them together with 1/4″ seam allowance. I pressed the seams toward the gray strips for both strip-sets.
I cross-cut both strip-sets in 3″ increments. Then came the fun of alternating the cross-cut rows to view the plaid effect.
At this juncture, Lisa and I realized that a 17 1/2″ square was not quite the size we envisioned, so I used the leftover portions of the strip-sets to make two more rows. A seam ripper came in handy to take apart a couple of the cross-cut rows in order to add two more squares to all nine rows.
The 22 1/2″ x 22 1/2 top complete, we discussed quilting designs. We felt that both meandering and cross-hatch would draw attention to the quilting rather than to the plaid formed by the squares. On the other hand, stitching 1/4″ away from all seam lines would accentuate the overall plaid design. I used a shiny polyester silver/gray thread and guided the outer edge of my 1/4″ presser foot along the seam lines. Spray basting helped the work to remain pucker-free during the quilting phase, and machine quilting gloves helped me grip the piece effortlessly as I guided it under the needle. I used a walking foot and increased the machine stitch length to 3.5. After binding the table topper, I top-stitched all around the edge, guiding the presser foot against the binding.
Merry Christmas, Lisa! Your gift is a bit late, but I know you’ll enjoy decorating your table with it this winter.