Thursday, March 27, 2014

Alex (with Instructions)

Alexander is the name of my stepson. His birthday is on February 15 and he turned 20 this year. He lives in Arizona and visits us from time to time. This year, I decided to make him a quilt for his birthday. Very carefully, I chose fabrics and decided on a rail-fence pattern. I knew he wanted a blue quilt. So blue was essential and I added a bit of grey. I chose batiks and matching solids.

If I were to make this exact same quilt again, I would choose a darker shade of the solid grey. It seems to stand out just a bit more than the other fabrics which all seem to blend well with each other. If you are reading this and you are a quilter, you know we are always more critical of our work than anyone else.

Just in case, someone wants to replicate this design, the Rail Fence fabric requirements and block dimensions are as follows:

Fabric Requirements
  • Blue Batik - One and a half yards
  • Grey Batik - One and a half yards
  • Blue Solid - Half Yard
  • Grey Solid - Half Yard
  • Border - One yard
  • Binding - Five Eighths of a Yard (about 20")
  • Backing - 2 yards of 108" wide backing fabric. 

Cutting the Fabric/Making the Blocks

Blue Batik - Cut into strips 3.75" (3 and 3/4 inches) by the width of the fabric (WOF). You will need 14 strips.
Blue Solid - Cut into strips 2" by WOF. You will need 7 strips.
Stitch them together (using a 1/4" seam) with Blue Batik fabric on either sides of the solid blue. The strip should be 8.5"wide by WOF. Cut into squares. The block will measure 8.5"square and look like this.

Repeat the same process for the Grey Batik/Grey Solid blocks.
You will need a total of 70 blocks - 35 blue and 35 grey. The blocks are arranged 7 by 10, see picture below. Make sure that all blue blocks are arranged horizontally and all grey blocks are arranged vertically. That will give the weaving pattern in the quilt.

The border measures 4". The finished quilt measures 64" by 88" - a twin size.

Here is the quilt top, basted. It covers a large part of my dining room floor.

See, what I said about the solid grey standing out a bit too much :-(
I used Warm & Natural Batting and I quilted it on my Janome using my favorite "stitch around the ditch" method.

Here is the finished quilt.

Paul is standing on a chair holding the quilt so that I could take a picture :-)

Here is the detail of the quilting.

And here is the label - "ALEX"

When I started quilting, the size of the quilt was somewhat of a problem and made by neck and  shoulders hurt. As I was finishing the binding, the bobbin ran out of thread. It was just a tad frustrating trying to finish this quilt. And for all these reasons (FRUSTRATION and PAIN), I decided to change the name of the quilt from "Alex's Quilt" to just plain "Alex". I love Alex and he is a fine young man but he can be a challenge. 

Kids do not come with instructions. 
Aren't you glad that I am including instructions with "Alex"?


  1. I hear what you are saying. Great tutorial. Thank you. I love that you put these together

  2. It looks great, Preeti. I think the light grey actually gives more graphic appeal than a darker grey would. In thw small picture where it's just one light grey, I can see how you might think it stands out too much, but when i see the whole thing, I really like the contrast. After all, My guess is that Alex knows how to get people's attention, so his quilt should also! :) Your instructions are very clear and your comments make me giggle.

  3. Your directions are always so clear, and your fabric choices are really inventive and lovely. I'm so impressed that you have the skill and confidence to make up your own patterns. How do you figure out how much fabric to buy?

    1. Mary,
      Thank you for your kind words. Sometimes, just playing with fabric and patterns will lead to a new design. I calculate fabric yardage based on the pattern and then get a little extra - some for mistakes, some for scraps. We quilters love scraps, don't we?

  4. I think your choice of fabrics was a "happy accident!" Alex looks very modern and contemporary, which I love. You've actually given me an idea for a quilt of my own.

  5. I love it, and think the light accent really makes the quilt! Thanks for sharing it!

  6. Love the quilt,and as Alex gets older he will appreciate it even more. Things like this mean more to men as they reach a certain age, believe me I know, I am a man, lol. When I was younger I would have loved it but now I cherish the one my sister made for me, it means so much more now than then and it will mean so much to my daughter when I give it to her. My wife loves this quilt and we will probably make one like this to give to our sons.

  7. I love this one. Thanks. I also love the colours