Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Humble Rail Fence Quilt

The Rail Fence is not just for beginner's, it's fast, it's versatile, and it looks great in scraps. You can choose any number of rails and the strip width to give you the size block you want or even use your strings which is another version on my to do list.

Hi, I'm Mary Johnson and I blog and quilt over at Mary Quilts - Making Scrap Quilts from Stash. As today's guest blogger I'd like to share some of my Rail Fence quilts and a brief tutorial... brief because they're so simple to make there's not much you need to know before heading to your stash to whip one up yourself.

For me strip size is often dictated by leftover strips from another project. Rail Fence quilts are perfect leftover projects and because I make scrap quilts, I rarely pull all those fabrics out for just one quilt.

Here's a two rail fence made with leftover 2.5 inch strips. Even though the colors of the rails are controlled...green, black, and white... many fabrics were used.


Here's another variation. Three rails, with a larger middle rail. A little more controlled with a single brown fabric but lots of greens. The middle rail would be great for fabrics you want to showcase, perhaps an I Spy quilt for a child.


How about a three rail fence dressed up with some stars? These rails are 2.5 inches and in these colors it makes an excellent Quilt of Valor.


Or this very scrappy three rail fence with leaves scattered throughout. Again, three rails but this time using 2 inch strips. See what I mean about lots of variations?


I've even made a wonky version as another Quilt of Valor


So now that you've seen some of my previous Rail Fence quilts, let's make a quick gift or donation top. This quilt will measure 45x60 inches and be set 6 x 8 blocks.

I just finished another kiddie quilt in green and purple so while I have those fabrics out I'll make a five rail fence using 2 inch strips. That will give me a 7.5 inch finished block.


Step one cut a bunch of 2 inch strips - I use everything from short strips that will make one block to WOF strips that will make five blocks.


We're going to sew strip sets alternating three purples and two greens, starting and ending with a purple.

Now we'll sub cut those into 8 inch blocks but first measure the width of your strip sets...if you're like me, yours may not measure exactly 8 inches. This is a good time to adjust the size of your blocks to your measurement so the blocks will go together easily and not need trimming or squaring up.
I pressed all my seams to the purple but since you'll be alternating the direction of the blocks there won't be seams to match up until you're sewing the blocks into rows. Throw the blocks up on the design wall, alternating the direction of the rails every other block starting with a block with the rails in the vertical position.

Once your blocks are arranged like you want them, assemble the top, add some allover quilting and you'll have a quick gift or donation quilt from stash!


How easy is that? Click on the links under each of the quilts to go to the page on my website with brief instructions. To see my latest Rail Fence idea check this blog post.


Thank you for having me as a guest today, I enjoyed sharing with you. Hope to see you again!

53 comments:

Lee said...

too funny that I found Mary's website this week and used her tutorials for a string quilt. She is an amazing and prolific quilter who is so generous too!

bevkimmel said...

I really like your I Spy quilt idea. I will have to try that one. It should be bright and interesting without being too muddled.

Jansie said...

Mary, you are something else! Thank you so much for sharing all your great rail quilts. I just visited your blog and cannot believe how prolific you are with your quilting. So inspiring! I will have to give these a try.

seventhsister26 said...

How funny....I think rail fences are in vogue again...I'm working on one right now;)
Happy Quilting!!

Muddling Through said...

I love the easy quilts. So great when you need to make one in a hurry. And it is so generous of you to share your patterns for so many wonderful quilts!

Mary said...

Nice that you take time to Guest BLog too! I made a rail fence for our Second Grandchild on the night he was born. His mom thought she was having a girl... The PINK quilt would never do.

Deb said...

You have some great ideas for Rail Fence--thanks! It's so nice to see something other than the traditional version...especially in scrap. Thanks!

Sheila said...

Great rail fence tutorial post! I want to make several! I found your blog 3 months ago. I like simple, colorful, scrap quilts. Last night I finished making your Quick Strippie quilt and love it. It was easy to make, a nice gift or a donation quilt. You are very generous with your time and your talent, Mary. Thank you for a wonderful, inspiring blog.

Quiet Quilter said...

I made one rail fence that looked like a rail fence....then I made another that didn't look like it, but it was...turned out to be my 3D rail fence..
variations is right!

Canadian Kristin said...

Mary, I love your many variations on the Fence Rail, and thank you for the instructions!!! I love that you showed us how we could make a clean looking quilt even though you used lots of different scraps to pull it together... we really don't have to run to the shops each time we choose to quilt! And a quilt quilt to gift-away... brilliant! Thank you!

Benta At SLIKstitches said...

So many differentcways to rail fence, thank you so much for sharing :-)

Benta

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Mary, I love your blog and you complete amazing (and amazing numbers) quilts. Your charity giving abounds and hopefully inspires. Wonderful timing on the railfence - as I see others have said, it seems to be the 'IN' pattern right now. And you show how easy and versatile it is with the possibilities to add your own flair. Wonderful post, so glad to see you here and thank you for sharing.

Wilma NC said...

I read your b log regularly too. You are definitely industrious.

Tamera said...

Mary. I was glancing through the photos without first reading and I though, "Those are Mary's quilts!" I recognized your balcony. :-)

Great tutorial! Great post!

Sarah Craig said...

Beautiful quilts, and a great tutorial! Thanks for sharing!!

Colleen said...

Mary, thank you for sharing your oh sew delightful rail fence variations! I am planning a rail fence valance for my kitchen window and will be adding stars to it...but they will be appliqued on! Love the Quilt of Valor!

Dorian said...

Thanks for the great post. I have a lot of strips that were part of some donated fabric. This is a great pattern to use those up in the charity quilts I make.

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing, I'll never think of the rail fence pattern the same again. Lots of great ideas for using up stash!

AMKreations said...

What a great idea! Unfortunately, my scrap stash is small and the pieces are not strips for the most part...rather chunks! I think one day I'll go through them and cut squares. =)

Thank you for a great quilt post!

Impera_Magna said...

Love all the photos showing just how much a change in fabrics, number of strips, or wonky-ness can completely change the look of a quilt. Very inspirational!

Linda said...

Thank you for this wonderful post and all these great ideas! Wow! Love it!

StitchinByTheLake said...

I made a rail fence baby quilt recently using bright jungle prints and it was so fun to make and to give! I'll be visiting your blog...thanks for reminding me. blessings, marlene

Melissa @ Happy Quilting said...

I love when you can have a simple concept of a quilt and then change it up so much. What a great post!!

Eat, Sleep, Quilt said...

Mary, thanks for sharing your take on the Not-so-humble-anymore rail fence quilt! I've made rail-fence blocks as part of a sampler, but never made an entire rail-fence quilt. I'm definitely adding that pattern to my make-in-a-hurry list!

Linda

Quilt n Queen said...

Mary....you are a wealth of information on quick and easy. I'm a follower of your blog and luv it. Your pattern instruction site is 'awesome'. Thanks for sharing.

Ellen said...

Kudos for all you do, from the designing and sharing of patterns to the work that you do for charity. I visit your blog and I was inspired to use your Forest Bricks and Boxed Squares patterns and I love how they turned out. Thank you so much for your generousity!

Char said...

Thanks for posting over here Mary. I really enjoyed reading this post.

Connie said...

Love all the variations! This is one of my favorite quilt designs. The Forest Bricks is really neat.

Mommarock said...

Thank you for sharing your patterns. I especially love the Patriotic quilt. I will be checking with my teen boy to see if that will suit his taste.. they are so picky.. but I know I love it!

rubyslipperz said...

Pretty, pretty - clever, creative.........I always love looking at the wonderful ideas! Thanks for caring enough to share!

hugz,
annie
rubyslipperz106.blogspot.com

Alycia said...

Awesome Suggestions. I love the purples and greens the colors are beautiful!!

Danielle said...

I love how you changed these up! That is my favorite falling leaves quilt ever! I hope you come back with your other two quilt ideas!!! PLEASE!

Millie said...

Mary, it is great to see you on SM. I love your quilts and patterns. Great Rail Fence Quilts. The purple and blue colors are so good together. Thanks for the tutorial. I will have to make another Rail Fence quilt after seeing all your beuties.

YankeeQuilter said...

I love when I see bloggers I know on SM! You do such great quilts...love your fabric choices! sio

Karen said...

What a surprise to see Mary here! When I visited Stash Manicure a few minutes ago and saw this work, it look so like Mary's.....then, I read on and that confirmed it! Mary's web site and blog have been so helpful to me for a few years!

Thanks,
Karen

Cindy said...

Thanks for a wonderful post! I haven't made a rail fence in years and you've given me some great ideas for charity quilts!

Wonky Girl said...

As someone else said- I recognized Mary's balcony and knew these were her quilts.
Thanks for having Mary as a guest blogger.
:)

The Thompsons said...

I really liked all the variations. I've done one of them, but I'm excited to try some others.

Melinda said...

Mary, what a wonderful variety of rail fence quilts. You truly have a flair for design. Thanks for opening our eyes to the options for this simple block.

marilyn said...

Love you Mary and Love ALL of the quilts you design and make. Welcome to Stash Manicure!

bluebonnet said...

These rail quilts look ssoooo simple and quick when cut with the GO! strip die...and....at the same time, they are ssooo attractive and appealing. I'm really inspired to make one (or several.) Marilyn in San Antonio, TX

Nancy said...

Mary, you are a treasure! Thanks for bringing us more rail fence inspiration. It's such a great pattern, easy to cut, easy to sew. My guild just held a benefit quilt sewing night and transformed a big pile of donated "ugly" fabric into some beautiful triple-rail quilts.

Gmama Jane said...

Oh I just LOVE this quilt pattern! I had actually forgotten about it since I haven't made all that many large quilts. I have some jelly rolls which would be perfect for this kind of quilt. Thanks for the reminder!
Gmama Jane

Trudi said...

Wow Mary! Fabulous post, showing we all have time to just run up another top in no time at all! I've made several rail fence, but now I want to do another! Thanks for sharing sew many beautiful quilts, and generous tutorials :)

Teresa said...

Nice tutorial...and a great way to use up some stash! Many thanks!

In stitches,
Teresa :o)

allsewnup said...

Thank you for the reminder as to how easy and versatile this design can be, you've given me some ideas for my scraps. Great tutorial!

Carolyn

Ariane said...

I love this post!! I've visited your blog many many times. I love how the rail fence quilt can be made in so many different ways!! This us such a great pattern to bust your stash. I need to make one of these. Thanks for sharing with us!! Hugs Ariane

Evelyn said...

The Forest Bricks version is just what I am looking for. Great post, and love your blog. Thanks Mary

Deb said...

Mary I read your blog all the time. I love the rail fence variations and your selections of colour are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Madame Samm said...

Good Morning Mary...I had been hearing about you from sew many, for your wonderful tuts and quilts and now seeing your rail fence especially the red white and blue, well suffic to say I am sew impressed...Thank you for sharing your talent, passion and experience..Delightful!

Mary said...

Thanks for all your wonderful comments.

It was fun going back through my quilts searching for Rail Fence quilts to share with you all AND fun whipping up the Green/Purple version that will be quilted and donated to the local Ronald McDonald House.

Johanna said...

I enjoyed your post and really love the pattern you recommend for a Quilt of Valor. Thanks!!

Marcia W. said...

Really like the variations and colors. Thanks Mary.