Rows + Rows Quilt
Designer Season Evans creates quilts in celebration of the bare essentials: the given properties of the fabric and the core shapes of her thinking. Her Rows + Rows Quilt mines the message of alternating stripes, managing with a very few simple ideas to evoke light flickering across furrows of golden seedlings… Luminous!
All this beauty grows out of just three colors and two stripes. Each stripe is really just an easy three-pieced rectangle whose careful consideration creates a mirage of depth and complexity.
Considering the central role of color here, Season turned to our Spectrum Cotton, garment-dyed in a palette of over 40 gorgeous colors. She chose Raincoat Yellow, Yellow Ochre, and Raw Oats for her sunlit story, but greens might tell a grassy tale or blues a watery one.
And to show that quilt-making isn’t just one thing or the other, Season took an entirely different approach for her backing. Improvising with scraps from the quilt top, as well as from her stash, these broad strokes seem to sketch a birds-eye view of the farm where that field lies. Such fertile ground!
To create your own Rows + Rows Quilt, you will need…
- Color A: 1 yard of Purl Soho’s Spectrum Cotton. We used Yellow Ochre (top left, above).
- Color B: 1 yard of Spectrum Cotton. We used Raincoat Yellow (top right).
- Color C + Binding Fabric: 2½ yards of Spectrum Cotton. We used Raw Oats (bottom left).
- Backing Fabric: 1¾ yards of Spectrum Cotton. We used mostly Putty Gray (bottom right). NOTE: You’ll need 1¾ yards only if you want a solid color Backing. If you’d rather piece the Backing using leftover Colors A-C, plus Putty Gray, you’ll just used need 1 yard of Putty Gray. For her Backing Fabric, Season used Colors A and C, Putty Gray, plus a bit of our Watercolor Linen in the color Baked Clay and a vintage scrap of striped shirting.
- Quilters Dream’s Cotton Batting, Crib size, Select thickness
- One 274-yard spool of Gutermann’s Cotton Sewing Thread in color 1105
- Two 110-yard spools of Gutermann’s Cotton Sewing Thread, one of each color 1620 and 1685
You will also need…
- A fabric-marking tool for marking the quilting, like a Hera Marker
- A rotary cutter
- A non-slip quilting ruler
- A self-healing cutting mat (get this, the ruler, and cutter together with out Rotary Cutting Tool Kit)
- Quilter’s curved safety pins
Finished Dimensions: 36½ x 53 inches
Prewash and iron all of the fabrics (but not the batting) before starting.
All seam allowances are 1/4 inch.
Width of Fabric (WOF) is assumed to be 42-45 inches.
NOTE: Please be sure to fold fabric as instructed. It’s a key step in ensuring that you have enough fabric.
Fold Color A cut edge to cut edge. Cut both layers into twenty-six 1½-inch strips. Trim each strip to 20½ inches.
Fold Color B cut edge to cut edge. Cut both layers into twenty-five 1½-inch strips. Trim each folded edge and then cut each strip to 12½ inches for a total of 50 blocks.
Fold Color C in half, selvage to selvage. Cut length of fabric to 53 inches. Set aside extra fabric for the Binding. Refold the 53-inch piece of fabric from cut edge to cut edge and cut two vertical borders: 4½ x 53 inches.
Refold the remainder of the 53-inch fabric from selvage to selvage. Cut two horizontal borders: 1½ x 28½ inches.
With same fabric still folded selvage to selvage, cut fourteen 1½-inch wide strips. Cut about six 4½-inch rectangles from the each folded strip. Cut a total of 79 blocks.
Fold the fabric you set aside in half, selvage to selvage. Cut five 2¼-inch strips.
Piece The Quilt Top
Sew the short end of a C Block to each short end of an A Block. Press seams open.
Repeat until you have 26 total.
Sew the short end of a B Block to each short end of a C Block. Press seams open.
Repeat until you have 25 total.
Starting with a Row 1 at the top, sew the long bottom of a Row 1 to the long top of a Row 2. Alternating Rows 1 and 2, continue sewing them together until one Row 1 remains. Sew the remaining Row 1 to the bottom. Press seams open.
TIP: It’s quickest to sew all the Rows together in pairs, then to sew those pairs together, and to continue building in this way until done.
Sew one Horizontal Border to the top of the pieced rows and one to the bottom. Press seams open.
Sew a Vertical Border to the right and left sides of the pieced rows. Press seams open.
Congratulations, you’ve finished your Quilt Top!
Make a quilt sandwich and pin-baste the Backing, batting, and Quilt Top together. For instructions on how to do all this, please check out our Pin Basting Tutorial!
NOTE: It’s important to start quilting from the center of the quilt and to work your way out to the edges. This helps maintain an even tension throughout. And as always, be sure to use a walking foot for this step!
This pattern is well suited for straight-line quilting, but you can quilt in any pattern you wish as long as the quilt lines are no more than 4 inches apart. To quilt your quilt like this one…
Using thread color 1105, quilt along all the tops and bottoms of the C Blocks that run down the center of the quilt. Start with a Block near the center of the quilt, and quilt 1/4 inch inside the seams. Quilt all the C Blocks from there to the bottom of the quilt, then work from the center Block to the top of the quilt.
Next, using thread color 1685, quilt along the centers of the A Blocks. You can use a hera marker to mark lines 1/2 inch from the top and bottom of the Blocks, or if your machine has a seam guide, follow the seams 1/2 from the edge. Remember to start in the center of the quilt and to work one way to the end and then from the center to the other end.
Using thread color 1620, quilt all the B Blocks the same way you just did the A Blocks: along the center and from the center of the quilt to one end and then the other.
Finally, prepare to quilt the Borders. Using a hera marker, start in the center of either Vertical Border and mark horizontal lines from the Border seam to the edge of the quilt, 1/4 inch above and below the adjacent Block’s seams. These lines will be 1/2 inch apart. Continue to mark lines every 1/2 inch along the entire Border. When you get to the last A Block, mark a line 1/2 inch from the previous line, going from one edge of the quilt to the other, through the entire Horizontal Border. Using thread color 1105 again, quilt along the marks, working from the center to bottom and then from center to top.
Repeat this process for the other Border.