A few weeks ago I was contacted by the wonderful staff at Art Gallery Fabrics. I was thrilled when they asked if I would be interested in playing with some of their fabrics. Of course!!! The fabrics I choose to work with are Bijoux by Bari J and they are so beautiful and such a pleasure to work with. You can visit Art Gallery Fabrics here to find out more about these glorious fabrics :)
As soon as I saw Bijoux, I knew I wanted to design a low volume idea into the quilt. Bijoux has so many wonderful bold prints and so many soft beautiful prints. It is almost half and half really :) So with that in mind, I started working on a design. I have always loved piano key borders on quilts because the thin strips give such a striking look. Then, I was talking to my son, who just started piano 2 months ago, and he was telling me how important practicing his scales was. And it hit, Piano Keys in a Scale with the high volume/low volume prints alternating to make the scales appear. I quickly drew up a sketch, and then put the sketch in EQ7 and it was love!!
This quilt goes together quick as it is made entirely of chain stitching which saves oh so much time ;) The quilt is all straight seams and none of them match up, so really, you don't even need pins :) Super friendly for beginners and experts alike and a great way to make a stunning finish in a minimal amount of time. So . . . Let's get to how to make it shall we :)
And if you want a printable version of this tutorial, you can click right here ;)
To start you will need 20 Fat Quarters
Divide the Fat Quarters into piles of 10 low volume and 10 high volume (Probably not a real term, but it is opposite and just seems to work in my mind :)
From your 10 high volume prints cut (124) 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" strips. I cut 13 from each print and then had 6 left over for the scrap bin :) Set 93 in one pile and the remaining 31 in another pile.
From your low volume prints cut (105) 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" strips. I cut 11 from each print and had 5 left over. Set 93 in one pile and the remaining 12 in another pile. From the remaining pieces of Fat Quarters cut (12) 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares, (12) 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles, (12) 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles, and (7) 2 1/2" x 10 1/2" strips. Be sure to cut from all your remaining fat quarters so you have lots of variety. Set these in piles with your (12) 8 1/2" strips and set them aside for the time being.
Gather your 93 high volume and low volume 8 1/2" strips. Place a high volume strip onto a low volume with right sides together and stitch a 1/4" seam along the end.
Continue chain stitching to make 93 sets total. (Chain stitching just means not clipping threads between each set sewn, just keep feeding them through your machine.) Be sure to mix up your prints randomly as you go, don't sew all the save low volume prints to the same high volume print. Once you have sewn all 93 set, clip your threads and press all of your sets towards the high volume print.
Divide your strip sets into 3 piles of 31 sets. Grab that extra pile of 31 high volume 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles.
Now, you will be chain stitching your sets together. Take the first 2 sets of 31 and place them with right sides together matching a high and low volume end. Stitch a 1/4" seam. along the edge. Chain stitch all 31 sets. Now, take the third set of 31 and the high volume pile of 31 strips and place them with right sides together matching a high volume and low volume end. Stitch a 1/4" seam along the edge. Chain stitch all 31 sets. Clip your threads and press all of your strips towards the high volume print.
And now, you guessed it. Take the 2 strip sets you just created. Place them with right sides together matching a high and low volume end. Stitch a 1/4" seam along the edge. Chain stitch all the strips to make a total of 31 sets. Press the seams towards the high volume print.
Divide your strips randomly into 3 piles. One pile of 7 strips, and 2 piles with 12 strips each. Grab those low volume pieces that you set aside earlier. Chain stitch all these additions using a 1/4" seam. To the pile of 7, add a 10 1/2" low volume strip to the end of each strip. To the first pile of 12, add a 2 1/2"x 2 1/2" square to the beginning of each strip and then add a 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangle to the end of each strip. Finally, to the second pile of 12, add a 4 1/2" rectangle to the beginning of each strip and then add a 6 1/2" rectangle to the end of each strip. Press all seams towards the high volume print.
Lay 10 strips out as shown below. Take care to mix up your prints until it is pleasing to the eye.
Using a 1/4" seam, Sew the 10 strips into one section. I find the easiest way to do this is to first sew the strips into groups of 2. I just aligned the strips as I went and had no problem with stretching. (Art Gallery fabrics have a great weave so that isn't a problem.) But if you are worried about stretching or not lining up, go ahead and use a few pins to secure your strips in place ;) Press the seams.
Lay the sets of 2 strips back out to make sure you don't mix up the orientation (easy to do). Then sew the first 2 strip sets together, press, and then add on the third strip set and so on until the section is complete.
Your section should look like this. Repeat to make a total of 3 strip sets in the same layout.
And now you have 3 large strip sets and one little lonely strip. Lay out as shown below creating the quilt top. Using a 1/4" seam, sew the lonely strip to the large strip set, and the two strip sets together. Press. Finally, using a 1/4" seam, sew the top and bottom together. Press.
And your quilt top is done. Don't you just love the scale effect. So fun!!! I like my scale going side to side so I rotated the top in this picture ;)
And now, all you have left is to finish you quilt. So . . . Baste it, quilt it, and bind it. I know that's a lot of work to put into one sentence. If you are new to quilting and need some pointers on how to finish your quilt you can see my video tutorials going over basting, quilting, and binding in detail. You will need 1/2 Yard for binding and 4 yards of Backing.
And you are done!!! Now sit back and enjoy snuggling up with your 62" x 66" Playing the Scales Quilt!!!
If you make your own Playing the Scales quilt I would love to see a picture of it. You can email it to me at email@example.com, post it to Social Media with #happyquiltingwithmc or add it to my Flickr Group.
** Note - This quilt would also work with Jelly Rolls. If you are interested in making this quilt using Jelly Roll strips you will need 25 High Volume Jelly Roll Strips and 28 Low Volume Jelly Roll Strips. This calculation assumes you can get (5) 8 1/2" rectangles from each strip which means 42 1/2" so cut close to those selvages :)
** Addition - Many of you asked about making this quilt larger. To make it a large queen (96" x 92" ) you would need to add an extra (2) High Volume 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles and an (2) Low Volume 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles into each row you make. Just add them in the middle ;) You will also want to make and Additional 15 Rows for your quilt, or an extra section and a half.
So from your High Volume's you will need to cut a total of (276) 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles. From your Low Volume fabrics you will need to cut a total of (230) 2 1/2" x 8 1/2", (18) 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares, (18) 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles, (18) 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles, and (10) 2 1/2" x 10 1/2" strips.
Linking this new finish up to Sarah's and Amanda's :).