Thursday, June 5, 2014

"Checkers In the Park" Picnic Quilt ~ Free Quilt Tutorial

"Checkers In the Park"

Free quilt tutorial from me !

My Finished Picnic Quilt

Quilt Size:  60" Square

When I started thinking about an idea for my

Perfect Picnic Blog Hop Quilt

the first thought that came to mind was a quilted checkerboard with large handmade checkers.

I had fun putting my own twist on this classic design.

I used EQ6 to design my quilt and auditioned several border block ideas before settling on this one.
I was looking for something that would compliment the lines in the beautiful rainbow

Riley Blake Laminated Chevron Fabric

so generously provided by this blog hop sponsor.

I love the color rich fabrics from Riley Blake.

My idea was to set my checkerboard with fabrics and a pattern that would look like
a sun dappled, flower filled green park.

These Riley Blake Flutter Fabrics from Fabrics 'n' Quilts

were the picnic perfect choice for the front of my quilt!

Here is how I made my quilt:

Fabric A (Red print) 

I cut  4 strips 5" by 24.5" for inner border

I cut 2 strips 5" by WOF for red/green strip units

I cut SIXTEEN  5"  squares for pieced border blocks

Fabric B (Orange print)

I cut FOUR  5" squares for cornerstones on inner border

Fabric C ( Blue print)

I cut 4 strips 1.5" by WOF for narrow inner border.

I  cut 4 strips 3.5" by WOF
(to strip piece units)

I cut FIVE  7" squares
and then cut twice on the diagonal to make 20 triangles


Fabric D (White print)

I cut 4 strips 3.5"  by WOF
(to strip piece units)

Fabric E( Orange tone-on-tone)

I cut ELEVEN  7" squares
and the I cut twice on the diagonal to make 44 triangles

Fabric F (Green tone-on-tone)

I cut 4 strips 7" by WOF for red/green strip sets


I cut 32 rectangles 5" by 7" for corners of the x blocks

Fabric G - Binding (Stripe)

I cut 7 strips 2.5" X WOF

Block Size 12.5" unfinished

4 Blocks Needed

I strip pieced alternating blue and white strip units.
This I cut into 3.5" strips

I assembled by sewing alternate strips to form four 16 patch units as shown
and sewed four blocks together to form center checkerboard medallion.

I sewed red print strip 5" by 24.5" to two alternate sides.

I pressed outward.

I sewed orange floral print cornerstone squares to each end of the remaining two red floral print strips.

I pressed inward.

I then sewed the other two sides, matching seams.

I pressed outward.

I sewed the four blue WOF 1.5" strips to sides of medallion.
I trimned  and squared this center.

Then I assembled the outer border blocks:

I found the cutting diagrams from my older version of EQ
for this block which is called
"Wide Cross X"
confusing and insufficient
with either templates
or incomplete rotary cutting instructions.

So after studying the border awhile, 
I followed my own method for cutting and making this block.

Here is what I did ...

I made 4 corner blocks as shown.

I strip pieced the red print 5" strips with a green 7" strip on alternate sides.

I cut into 8 units 5" wide.

 I sewed an orange triangle on each side of four 5" x 7" green rectangles as shown.

I then repeated with four blue triangles for the outer corners.

I pressed inward to nest seams,

I sewed the triangle units to opposite sides of the strip unit.

I trimmed the blocks to size ... 12.5" unfinished

Corner Block

Using the same method, 
I made 12 blocks for the sides of the quilt as follows:

12 blocks needed

I made 12 block corners with one blue triangle and one orange triangle as shown.

The other 12 block corners I made with an orange triangle on each side.

Being careful to follow the placement in the layout diagram, 
I sewed three blocks together to form the side units
I pressed outward.

Butterfly Helps

I sewed two more three block units and added the corner blocks as shown in the layout.
I pressed inward.

Katniss checks my work notes.

I sewed to the other two sides, matching corner seams.
I pressed outward.

It is very important  for me to have my quilty kitty helpers with me at all times to keep my sewing going smoothly.

When I trimmed blocks to size 
this generated a pile of small green triangles 
which I tucked into a baggie in my scrap draw for future use. 
Usually I try to avoid this cut off method to save fabric, 
but for this block trimming these corners is sew much easier. 
It also made perfect 12.5" blocks.

Here is a photo of my 12 side blocks

I nested the seams of orange triangle units, 
to sew the blocks together according to the layout.
I sewed three of the side blocks together and sewed these three block units to two alternate sides.
 Then I sewed the corner blocks on to make a row of five blocks for the top and bottom of the quilt.

Close up of corner

My finished quilt top on my design wall.
This photo was taken on a very cool rainy day.
This top really brightened my gray day. 


Katniss helped prepare the backing.

I had 3.5 yards of this beautiful laminate and it was just enough
to piece with only one center seam.

I cut this fabric in half and sewed the halves together to form the backing.


64" square of batting

Since I wanted something that would not shrink and would provide a nice stable surface for my checkerboard, I used a thin, polyester, low loft  Soft and Crafty batting for this quilt
which I buy locally by the yard.

I sandwiched and quilted using polyester thread which was recommended to me for use with the laminate fabric.

I did a machine binding for this quilt.
I sewed the binding to the back and folded over to the front and machine sewed it down.

My quilt is backed by Riley Blake Chevron Laminated 
fabric to make it outdoor friendly.

I posted HERE about what I learned while sewing and quilting with this beautiful Riley Blake laminate fabric.
It is very easy to sew and I will definitely use it for future projects.  

I made checkers for my checkerboard by painting
 inexpensive 3" die-cut wooden circles with craft paint.

Checkers, anyone?

I hope you have enjoyed my tutorial!

Please note that the cutting and sewing instructions that I give here reflect
what I cut and sewed to make my quilt.

If you have any questions about this tutorial, please email me and I will do my best to answer.

If you make a quilt or blocks from this tutorial, 
please share your feedback with me as to how to improve this pattern and tutorial.

[Edit:  If you decide you would like to make a quilt using this tutorial, please read HERE ]

For more photos and the story of this quilt, please read

Linking up with


Thanks for reading ... :)

[Edit:  If you decide you would like to make a quilt using this tutorial, please read HERE ]

All rights Reserved
Pattern designed by Pat Broe
Life In the Scrapatch Quilts


  1. Super quilt! What a nifty idea...great tutorial! Thanks for your hard work!

  2. Wonderful tutorial and cute quilt, thanks for sharing! Mind if I grab a picture and post a link to your tutorial on my blog?

    1. Thanks for asking! Please use one of the photos with my blog watermark and post a direct link to my blog. I am always happy to share with other quilters ... :) Pat

  3. Thanks so much. I have a vision, and I am serious about finding moose shape checkers. Wonder if they have all those wood shapes they used to carry all the time at Hobby Lobby????? :-)

    1. My Moose Loving Friend, they exist! ... email coming your way ... :)

  4. Wow! That really turned out gorgeous!


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a kind word! :-)