Once you’ve done a fence rail, it is pretty easy to do variations. The rails in the nine patch sampler are made up of two strips, but you can have any number of strips. Just sew strips together and then cut into squares. Sew the squares together, alternating vertical and horizontal and it’s done. If you play with fabric placement, there are many variations. If you keep the same colours on the outside of the square, you get the staircase effect. If you mix it up, it looks like it’s woven. Here are some fun variations:
This is a quilt top I made years ago, but just recently finished quilting. It has two different sets of strips – one is floral, green and blue and the other is floral, yellow and pink. By alternating, you get different coloured staircases. You can see more details of the quilting here.
In this variation, there are six fabrics in the strips. Some of the seam allowances were not exactly 1/4″, but when cut into squares and joined, it still works. The only give-away is that some of the white and red strips aren’t the same width as the others. This is a forgiving pattern to practice on.
The strips don’t even have to be the same width. This quilt shows a wide pink strip with a narrow yellow and green on either side. It belongs to a friend, and when I saw it, I had to ask for a picture to include.
Strips don’t have to match at all. This is a great example of a scrappy quilt by Crazy Mom Quilts. I love her style!
Here is another scrappy version with four strips in each square. This would be a good project to use a jelly roll.
This is a fun example of a two-colour fence rail. The colour placement really makes it look different.
This is another scrappy version, but colour-controlled made by Red Pepper Quilts, another of my favourites. This is a great project to use up scraps.
I love these baby quilts. One jelly roll made both of these quilts.
Once you get started on fence rail quilts, there are hundreds of variations. They are all pretty straightforward – sew strips together and then cut the strip sets into squares. Simple but with big impact – the best kind of quilt!
For the fence rail block in the nine patch sampler, click here.
designer, teacher, speaker
Elizabeth enjoys doing all types of sewing and needlework and teaching others new techniques. Find out how to take a course or workshop.