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I had to make a quilt from a rail fence design recently, for a possible class, and instead of using the pattern suggested I went and made my own. Happy about that too – the pattern called for 15 blocks of 5 strips sewn together plus a thin and fat border. The preview of the finished quilt pattern was not calling to me, and when I mocked it up in Photoshop, it wasn’t working there either. Also based on the quantity of jelly roll strips I wanted to work from, I needed to change it up.

I had been holding on to 2 jelly rolls of ombré fabric from Marcus fabrics, not quite sure what to do with them, but hoping for a good project. Then when this came along I figured that was it; I used a warm and a cool jelly roll of the ombré tye dye fabrics, a total of 80 strips. I grouped my sets into 4’s instead of 5, and tried to group the strips by color. As usual some colors didn’t always group perfectly together, and I ended up with an extra brown or grey or neutral here and there, but for the most part I tried to keep it all grouped by color.

Once all 80 strips were sewn into groups of 4, it was time to cut. Here you can see edge to center of a grey group:

I cut all the squares from the strip sets, but I only needed 4 squares from each, even though I had enough to cut 5 squares from each set. When you look at the entire set above, you can see where the middle gets really light and the outer edge is much richer or darker for each color, but where the midtone separates from the dark isn’t always easy to see. I cut the center section first as I wanted all the light squares. Then I cut one of the dark ends for the dark blocks, then I went back and cut 2 middle sections for the midtone blocks. With this set of green you can see the light and dark blocks on the left, and the midtone blocks on the right. Once cut, it’s a lot easier to see the separation.

Once all the blocks were cut it was time to separate out light, medium and dark blocks, and figure out how to arrange it. I wanted to keep some semblance of color order since I had grouped the strips by color, but some were easier to figure out than others. I wanted the light blocks in the center, and work out to the dark blocks on the outer edges. I also had a separate plan for the center block. This was my final photo layout, but I think it may have changed by a block or two when I went to sew it together:

For the center block, I wanted to use the leftover dark edges for a focal point. I was playing around with color combinations and ended up with this, but later realized the strips were not wide enough when you factor in all the seam allowances.

Notice in the image below, the center block has a thin grey border around it, from leftover strips, to make it the same size as the other blocks. This is the finished quilt top, currently on a store display.

And that block from above that wasn’t quite big enough? I turned it into a colorful mug rug that now resides on my cutting table. I used an extra strip piece for the back and wrapped it around on top for binding. Quick and easy.

I’m thinking an all-over design for the quilt would be interesting since there are so many lines, but I don’t know what yet. Any ideas?