Sunday, April 12, 2015

Super Fast Baby Quilt - STRIP RACE!

Hello all of my quilting buddies!  I recently went on retreat where many of us were working on strip race quilts.  The quilt uses 40 strips and produces a lap size quilt in a matter of a few short hours.  I previously made one, the blog is posted here: STRIP RACE LAP SIZE QUILT.

This got me to thinking... how could I make this into a baby quilt using fewer strips.  As usual, when I am trying to fall asleep, I do quilt math.  Consider it the nerdy alternative to counting sheep.  I came up with a number of strips that would finish the right size and enough for a pieced binding as well.  So here it is:

Strip Pieced Baby Quilt - 40" x 44"

20 - 2 1/2" strips
1/2 yd for border
1 scrap of white/off white fabric (enough to cut 8- 2 1/2" squares) - OPTIONAL, this is if you do the pinwheel corners.

Backing - 1 1/2 yard
Crib Sized Batting

That is all! Ready to get started?  I have to tell you, it goes super fast and I finished the quilt top, quilted it and bound it all in one day.

Here are the fabrics I pulled.  I have a drawer with 2 1/2" strips that I collect from other quilt projects and cut from leftover fabrics.  There are 15 for the quilt and 5 for the binding.  I also picked out a cool stripe and a pink dot for the backing.  These would not have been my first choices, but I was going with what I had in my stash.  I could have pieced a cool backing if I needed.

Begin by joining the 15 strips end to end as shown.  Place right sides together, sewing diagonally.  You could sew them end to end if that is easier.

I chained pieced them.  Just pick up the end of one strip and grab another.

Trim away the excess leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.

Press seams in either direction.  You will have one REALLY long strip at this point.

Cut 18" off the end of your long strip.  This is necessary so that the seams stagger throughout the quilt.  I added it to my binding group of strips (seems a pity to waste it).

Here is where it starts to go FAST!

Grab the ends of your long strip and begin sewing them together (1/4" seam) until you almost reach the fold (where they are connected).

At this point, snip the fold. Press the entire length of the strip (seams to either side).

Your strip is now two wide and half the length with which you started.

Repeat the process once again.  Grab the ends and begin sewing.  Once you reach the end, snip the fold.

Press.  Now it is four strips wide.

Repeat again, now it is 8 wide!

One last time - now it is 16 wide.  Done!  Time for the borders

Originally, I had planned to just add a border and be done.  But as I was sewing I began thinking it would be nice to add a pieced block in each corner.  Since the seams were on a diagonal, a pinwheel block was in order to repeat this pattern.  I grabbed the binding strips and chose four of them.  I then cut 2 - 2 1/2" squares from each one.  I found an off white scrap strip (any scrap of fabric will work here) and cut 8 - 2 1/2" squares.

Take one light square and on the wrong side, draw a diagonal line.  Place this square with a colored square, right sides together.

Sew 1/4" from each side of the line as shown.

Cut apart.

Press open.  You now have two squares!

Continue with the rest of the squares.

Arrange one of each color square as shown.

Sew the left two and the right two together as shown.  Press the seams in opposite directions.

Sew the sides together.  Press.

Make 4 blocks (one for each corner).

My blocks measured 4".  Whatever yours measure after you square them up, that will be the width of your border.

Cut four strips from your border fabric - 4" wide (or the size of your squares).

Add borders!

I am super pleased with how the quilt turned out.

Binding time!

I took the long full length strips I set aside and cut them along the fold line so thet would be shorter and add more interest.  I also added in the 18" chunk I cut off of the first strip.  Sew the different colors together, alternating the colors as you like.  Be sure to sew them diagonally to repeat the theme of the quilt.

Press the seams.  Then press the entire length in half lengthwise.  I love pieced bindings!  They are so fun!

I quilted with a variegated thread down the middle of each strip, around the inner part of the border, once through the center of the border, and around the triangles in the corner block.

Add the cool binding.

Ta dah!  Remember, you could just do a standard border and it would be even quicker to finish.  The pieced binding would help tie it all together just as well.  Please send me your pictures - I always love seeing your interpretations.  So fun to share!

And a tease - I have a new project coming out soon with a similar theme as this quilt.  That is all you get for now!  Let me finish up the school year with my educational babies and it will be coming right at you.  Now go quilt something!  I am going to start dinner!

Susan (Tia)

Check out our website for quilting inspiration -
And on facebook -
Be sure to sign up for our newsletter!  You don't want to miss a thing!