The railroad crossing quilt was going to be four of these enormous quilt blocks sewn together in two pairs – great idea, except that it ended up looking a mess! I realised that to get any kind of design I had to reverse the design on two of the blocks. That may sound complicated, but trust me – within the quilt block there is nothing at all difficult. By doing this, I was able to keep the trellis effect going across the quilt. The quilt measures 52″ square and I have used 1.1/4 yards each of blue and white with 1 yard of brown fabric.
As usual, you can buy these fabrics at a discount of 10% in this week’s special offer.
Cutting requirements for the railroad crossing quilt
4.7/8″ squares: eighteen brown, eighteen blue, thirty six white
2.1/2″ squares: one hundred and forty four each of blue and white – cut seven 2.1/2″ strips across the width of fabric and save time with strip piecing
For the border you will need five 2.1/2″ brown strips cut across the width of fabric
Making the railroad crossing quilt block
Make half square triangles with the 4.7/8″ squares. Place a white square with either a blue or a brown square with right sides together. Mark a line along the diagonal and sew a 1/4″ seam either side of the marked line. Cut along the line to produce two half square triangles which are now 4.1/2″ squares. Press the seam allowance towards the brown or blue and trim the corners of the squares.
Sew the 2.1/2″ blue and white strips together in pairs. Press the seam allowance towards the blue. Cut these panels at 2.1/2″ intervals to make rectangles which are 2.1/2″ wide by 4.1/2″ long.
Place two of these rectangles together so that the blue squares are diagonally opposite each other and sew together to make four patch units.
Lay the patchwork pieces out as shown. This is an enormous quilt block – it will end up as 24″ square finished size, but the individual components are just the half square triangles and the four patch units.
Note that in the half square triangle blocks the brown triangles are placed facing inwards, touching at the middle, while the blue squares are always placed facing outwards.
The four patch units are placed together four at a time to make sixteen patch units, and they are always placed so that there is a white square top left of the block.
Sew together the four half square triangles and the sixteen patch blocks. You can then form three rows which can be sewn together. If you look at the layout of the railroad crossing quilt block now, you’ll see that it has a standard nine patch look to it: rows one and three both have the triangle block at each end while the second row has the triangle block in the middle.
My original idea of making four railroad crossing quilt blocks the same looked messy, so I just made two of these blocks.
I made two alternate blocks using the same basic patchwork, but with the blocks reversed. This meant that the first and third rows had sixteen patch units at each end and in the middle of the second row.
Assembling the railroad crossing quilt
Sew the blocks together in pairs. Sew these two pairs together with the alternate blocks diagonally opposite each other.
What I have actually ended up with is a quilt made using the triangle blocks and the sixteen patch units alternating across the entire quilt – but I didn’t notice that until I stood back from the finished quilt.
Finally for the quilt border I have used 2.1/2″ strips of brown fabric. You will need two lengths of 48.1/2″ for the top and bottom and two lengths of 52.1/2″ for the sides.
That completes the railroad crossing quilt. It is now ready for layering, quilting and binding. Full details of these steps can be found in the quilting for beginners section.
Here’s the video:
I have been told at different times that my quilts are too simple and that they are too difficult – if you would prefer a more complex quilt, I have written the pattern for the Fabric Freedom Renaissance quilt and you can see it here.