Saturday, May 15, 2010

What is a Rail Fence Quilt?

In my opinion the rail fence quilts are one of if not the easiest quilt squares and quilts to make. It is excellent for a beginner or for making a quick and simple quilt in a weekend.

When I began quilting I was very nervous. I had seen the intricate patterns made when putting a quilt together and I wondered if I could do that too. My first encounter with quilt making was watching a program on the local PBS station called Quilt in a Day. I was fascinated by the host Eleanor Burns and her technique of strip quilting. She was able to sew various strips of fabric together. Cut them at different lengths or angles. Sew them together and create a quilt top. I was in awe of her abilities. Well I have since then ventured beyond just strip quilting into piece work quilt squares and paper piecing but I will talk about those techniques in another post.

What is a Rail Fence Quilt? Well this is a quilt made of squares that have been strip sew and then put together. You will first cut you fabric into strips according to the instructions. Then you sew these strips together. Then you will cut the master strip piece to the appropriate length. There are different combinations that can be used to make a Rail Fence quilt like the Windmill Layout, Split Rail Layout and the Woven Layout or you can create a design of your own. I suggest laying your pieces out on a large table or clean floor to create the desired design. Then pulling the piece you can begin sewing them together and putting you quilt top together. Most quilt books or instructions include how to finish your quilt so I won’t discuss it here.

The book I used was from the Quilt in a Day series called Rail Fence Quilt For Kids at Heart by LuAnn Stout. This book was very easy to follow and had great illustrations as well as a number of different pattern combinations to choose from.

Ok now that I have briefly talked about what a rail fence quilt is I will reveal my very first finished quilt. I only used three fabrics a dark green, magenta, and a green paisley pattern fabric. I loved the paisley fabric and drew the two other colors from it. As I was a new quilter I wanted to be able to complete the quilt during the weekend I made it. I also did not want to get discouraged if something went wrong so my very first quilt does not have batting or a backing fabric. It is backed with a dark green fleece. The edges were turned for finish and I did stitch in the ditch quilting.

I have to admit that looking at it now, although fondly, you can tell that it was made by a beginner. My squares were not cut to the correct size in some case leading to off seams. My quilting didn’t quite make it in the ditch in some places and not paying attention when I initially sewed some of the squares together I cam out with a pattern that looks more like railroad tracks or a ladder then the rail fence patterns you normally see. I was actually trying to make the woven pattern but didn’t quite make it.

However, that quilt has become the prize position of my daughter and that means to me that I did it right. Although my quilting is not in the ditch I have never lost a stitch and though the pattern is not traditional that makes it unique. So all in all I accomplished what I set out to do and that was to start in the world of quilting and create quilts I can pass down in my family for years to come.

If you are interested in trying you hand in quilting I suggest that you consider this quilt. It was fun to do and being able to accomplish something in a short period of time will help bust you confidence and enthusiasm for quilting.

So good luck in you quilting until next time.


Welcome to Marisa’s Quilt Garden. If you have made it here you are either a viewer of my food blog All in Good Food or you are a lover of quilting. Either way I would like to say welcome to you and I hope you enjoy what you see.

This blog was created so that I could share my interest in quilting with others. I don’t claim to be an expert or anything but I have been quilting for about 10-11 years. My very first quilt was a simple Rail Fence pattern and I finished it in one weekend. I created that first quilt during a Girl Scout (Adult) Weekend. It was a program for adults in my Girl Scout Council to be able to go to camp for a weekend program. I was so excited because this was a new challenge for me. I already knew how to sew but quilting is a whole nother animal. The ladies there were very nice and very helpful. When the weekend was over not only did I have a finished quilt but I had a new found enthusiasm for quilting.

I have to admit I haven’t quilted in about 4 years due to various reasons but I think I am ready to get back to it. So this is my journey back into the world of quilting. I hope you will continue to join me.