Trip Around the World Quilt Pattern

Trip around the world quilt

Trip around the world quilt

My Trip Around the World quilt is a very simple rectangular quilt.  I have made one before but I’ve had several queries on the pattern recently so I decided that the instructions obviously weren’t as clear as they should be.  I hope that this quilt pattern will remedy that! Plus I feel that this is a much more beautiful quilt.

For this trip around the world quilt I have used bands of colour going from light to dark, slightly larger squares and made a much larger quilt.  I hope that the instructions are also much more clear!  This quilt is made in four quarters which are then joined together with a further strip of squares.

The quilt measures 52.1/2″ by 72.1/2″, using 1/2 yard each of yellow, dark yellow, orange and red fabrics with 1 yard of purple and 1.1/2 yards of white fabric.  You can buy these fabrics at a discount in this week’s special offer.

Cutting requirements for the trip around the world quilt

Cut four 3″ strips across the width of fabric in each of the six fabrics.

For the borders you will need a further eleven 3″ strips of white and six 3″ strips of purple fabric.

Please note that all these strips are 3″ cut size, giving 2.1/2″ finished size.

Sew 6 strips of fabric into panels

Sew 6 strips of fabric into panels

Make the tubes of fabric

Sew one strip of each fabric together in a panel fading from dark to light.  Make four of these.  Cut these panels in half so that you have eight panels – each one 15.1/2″ by roughly 21″.

Press the seam allowances in alternate directions

Press the seam allowances in alternate directions

Press the seam allowances in alternate directions across each panel.  In the photo you can see that alternate seam allowances point up while the others point down.  This means that you can nest the seam allowances together when you sew strips to each other.  It makes for a much neater quilt.

Create a tube of fabric

Create a tube of fabric

Place two panels with right sides together, making sure that the purple strip of one panel lies against the white of the other panel.  Sew a seam across the top and the bottom of each pair of panels, joining the white and purple strips to each other at top and at bottom only.

This will create a tube of fabric about 21″ long and containing twelve strips of fabric.  These tubes are open at each end.

Cut the tubes into loops

Cut the tubes into loops

Cut the strips of fabric

Now you need to cut each tube of fabric at 3″ intervals.  This creates individual loops which are 3″ wide and contain twelve squares.  You need to cut seven loops from each tube.  Each quarter of the quilt is made with six loops and the remaining four loops make sashing to join the quarters together.

Unpick one seam to create a strip

Unpick one seam to create a strip

First quarter of the trip around the world quilt

For this section I have begun the layout from the right hand side and worked towards the left.  I wanted to be sure that the middle of the quilt looked as I wanted it to.  Make each strip by unpicking the seam between two of the squares.

For the first strip (right hand side) unpick the seam between light yellow and white.  Place this strip with yellow at the bottom and white at the top.  In this quarter I want the colours to move downwards from top right to bottom left.  So in the second strip unpick the seam between dark yellow and light yellow.  Place the strip with dark yellow at the bottom.    The third strip needs to have orange at the bottom, so unpick the seam between orange and red.  Continue with the rest of the six strips.  Always hold the tube against the strip next to it to check that the colours are moving correctly before you unpick the seam.

Sew the six strips to each other to complete the first quarter of the trip around the world quilt.  Make two of these.  One will form the top left quarter of the quilt and the other will form the bottom right section.

Second quarter

Second quarter

Make the second quarter

In this quarter I have placed the strips from left to right, so that again I am moving from the middle towards the edge.  The photo shows the completed first quarter on the left and then the first strips of the second quarter on the left.

Begin with a strip that has light yellow at the bottom.  Yes, this is the same as the nearest strip of the first quarter!  The idea now is that the colours move down from top left to bottom right, so you have the same strips but placed in the reverse order.  Unpick the second strip of this quarter so that dark yellow is at the bottom, then orange and continue with red, purple and white to mirror the first quarter.

Sew the strips to each other to complete the second quarter.  Make two of these.  They will form the top left and bottom right sections of the quilt.

Place sashing vertically between the sections

Place sashing vertically between the sections

Assemble the trip around the world quilt

Lay the four quarters out as shown.  The first panels are diagonally opposite each other, as are the second panels.  Rotate them so that the light yellow squares are always in the middle.

You should have four loops left over.  Place one of these between the top two sections.  Unpick the seam between white and purple so that the white square is at the bottom, between the two light yellow squares.  Repeat with another strip between the bottom two sections.

Sew the panels together across each half of the quilt.

Add the horizontal sashing

Add the horizontal sashing

Add the sashing between the half sections

You now have two half sections of the quilt.  Each one of these measures 30.1/2″ long by 33″ wide.  Now you need to make the sashing to join the two halves together.

Take the remaining two loops and place them between the two sections.  Unpick the seam of the left hand loop between purple and red so that the purple square will be the centre of the row.  You need seven squares only, so also unpick the seam after the next purple square so that the strip will run from purple to purple.  The leftover squares will be used in the second border.

Unpick the other loop between purple and white so that you can place a white square next to the purple of the first strip.  You need six squares only so unpick the other end after the purple.

Sew the halves together

Sew the halves together

Sew the two sections of the sashing together to create one strip and then sew the halves of the quilt to the sashing.  Your quilt top should now measure 32.1/2″ by 62.1/2″.

Add the first border

Add the first border

Add the first border

The first border runs down the sides of the quilt only.  Make two strips of white 3″ wide by 62.1/2″ long and sew one to each side of the quilt.

The second border

Use up the leftover squares

Use up the leftover squares

In the second border I wanted to use up the remaining few squares left of the loops.  This border also runs down the sides of the quilt only.  Unpick the seams so that you have two strips running from red to light yellow.

Make four white strips 3″ by 26.1/2″ long.  Sew one on each side of each set of squares.

Pin the squares in place

Pin the squares in place

Attach one to each side of the quilt.

In order to be sure that the squares remained in the middle of the quilt, I pinned them in place first and then smoothed the white to the ends.  The seam between dark yellow and orange should lie half way across the purple square at the middle of the edge of the quilt.

The third border

This border is the first one to run all the way round the quilt.  I wanted to enclose the squares in the second border to make them stand out.  Cut two 3″ lengths of white fabric 62.1/2″ long.  Sew these to the sides of the quilt.  Cut two 3″ lengths of white 49.1/2″ long and sew these to the top and bottom of the quilt.

Add the fourth border

Add the fourth border

The final border of the trip around the world quilt

Finally!  I made the fourth and last border with 3″ strips of purple fabric to give a strong frame to the quilt.  Cut two lengths of 67.1/2″ for the sides of the quilt.  Then add two lengths of 54.1/2″ to the top and bottom.

That completes the trip around the world quilt top.  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:

Rutland Water

Rutland Water

Last week I had lunch with some old friends – obviously by ‘old’ I mean long standing rather than ancient!  They took me to see Rutland Water which was fascinating.  It’s one of the largest man made lakes in Europe and was made by building a dam across the Gwash Valley.  It was only completed in 1975 so is relatively new but the area has been beautifully developed as a nature reserve and water sports centre.

There is a track for walking around the lake, but as it’s about 27 miles we didn’t attempt that.


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  1. Aha! At last I’ve stayed somewhere that you’ve visited. Rutland Water is truly stunning…as is this quilt pattern. Love the bold colours – very striking result.

    • Thanks, June. Following my mention of Rutland I’ve been sent several suggestions of other dams that I ought to visit. Looks like I’m going to be busy!

  2. Ruth Chapman says:

    Thanks for the “understandable ”
    I am going to try one using blue fabrics–in your honor will call it Trip Around the Lake!!

  3. Loretta M Wieland says:

    Do you have directions so it can be queen size?

    • Loretta M Wieland says:

      I would like to make a larger quilt.

    • Hi Loretta. Oops, I seem to be replying to your comments in the wrong order! I don’t have directions to make the quilt larger, but you could use any of the above methods to make the quilt larger.

  4. Deborah says:

    Hello Rose love the colours of this quilt. It’s a definately going on my to do list. How you think up these quilt patterns so quickly is amazing. Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Deborah. The basic technique is very common – all I had to do was decide which way to unpick my seams and lay everything out.

  5. Hello Rose from a chilly, drought stricken Cape Town ?
    I embarked on a trip quilt when my granddaughter was born – 22 months ago.
    As a beginner quilter ( but not entirely without some experience), I felt confident that I would sail through the project with ease.
    I was devasted to find, when unpicking strips to join them together that the squares had become slightly skewed.(I could send a pic to illustrate).
    I had the strips up on a polystyrene quilt wall and things were just not right. We were moving house and I just packed up everything and put the whole project away. The little princess still has no quilt on her big grown up bed; she will be 2 years old in September!
    Your YouTube video has awakened my keenness to tackle the project again!
    Where did I go wrong? Ironing wrong maybe?
    Thanks, Eileen

    • Hi Eileen. What a shame about your weather. My memories of Cape Town are of gorgeous sunshine.
      How disappointing for you to have that happen to your quilt. You’re right – it should be a very simple quilt to make. There could be several reasons for the skewing of the squares: inaccurate cutting or uneven seams are the first ones that come to mind, but it could be that the squares were stretched unintentionally. One other reason that comes to mind is that the fabric might not have been straight before you cut the strips, so you might have been cutting across the grain a bit. This could lead to uneven stretching of the fabric.
      If anyone reading this can think of any other reasons, we’d all be pleased to hear from you.

  6. Sandra Barnett says:

    Oh Rose,
    Another great quilt Love the colours. Have too many things started so I will not attempt this yet. Need a quieter time to concentrate. Today it is much too hot to attempt anything but sitting in the AC. and keeping cool, without too much exercise. I hate humid hot days.
    Glad you had a great time with friends and no I couldn’t have walked half of that. Enjoy the food
    Have a great weekend and Happy Quilting

    • Hi Sandra. We had our summer a week or so ago – five days of heatwave and now nothing but grey skies and cold winds. But I do sympathise – hot humid weather is difficult to cope with, isn’t it.

  7. Hi Rose,
    The first thought that came to mind when I saw your quilt was how much the pattern resembles Native American rug patterns. Well, it’s absolutely beautiful! The colors are vibrant and anyone would be lucky to have it. Regarding your curtains, were you happy with the outcome? I was waiting to see a photo.

    • Hi Claire. I agree with you – the design is similar to some Native American designs. For my last trip quilt I alternated light and dark, but for this one I used bands of shading colours which I think give a much more striking look to the quilt. Sorry about the curtains – I had intended to include a photo but then forgot completely. I’ll try and write a quick article about them in time for next Friday. yes, I was pleased with the way they turned out – luckily so were my son and his girlfriend.

  8. You are such a Wondrrful, creative teacher.
    I really appreciate how you go the extra mile to explain everything.
    Have a Wonderful day.
    June (from Tx)

  9. jennifer says:

    wow, it looks so simple, I have to try this. Never thought I could make a bargello type quilt. Thank you so much

    • Hi Jennifer. Yes, it really is a simple quilt to make. As you say, the trip quilts are very similar to a bargello quilt – they both use the same technique of forming loops and then unpicking a seam.

  10. Love this quilt, and am going to attempt it maybe this weekend. It’s a long weekend here in Canada celebrating 150 birthday no better way to celebrate than doing something you love to do. Thanks for all your beautiful quiltpatterns.

    • Thanks, Marci. I hope you get loads of quilting done over the weekend. No doubt there will be lots of celebrating for Canada’s 150th birthday – definitely a special occasion.

  11. I tried to do this pattern before but looking at your instructions, I see my error. Its because of clear instructions, one can see their error. Great Job and Nice Quilt also!

    • Thanks so much. I’m glad you found the instructions helpful. It’s a very long pattern because I was trying to be as clear as possible.

  12. Valerie, California, USA says:

    So happy to see you do a larger quilt. The colors are wonderful. Thank you Rose.

    • Thanks, Valerie. My first trip quilt was definitely only a lap quilt, so this one is probably a better size for most quilters.

  13. Margaret says:

    Hi Rose, your trip around the world quilt is fantastic, I love it. Hope you are well, and I enjoy looking at your quilts. Can I find thcatjdral windows one again, I remember googling it, but I am trying to work out the sizes again. Thanks, Margaret

    • Hi Margaret. Glad you like the quilt. You can find the window cat quilt on this link: If you ever want to find something on the website, just go to the search box in the top right of each page and type in whatever you’re looking for.

  14. Debra (Canada) says:

    I made a rainbow Around the World about 6 years ago but it was square. Thanks for the rectangular option, Rose.
    Big weekend here in Canada since tomorrow (July 1st) is 150 years since Confederation.

    • Hi Debra. Although I make lots of square quilts I am conscious that many quilters prefer to make rectangular ones. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. I bet there will be huge celebrations for 150 years.

  15. Cynthia says:

    Stunning quilt! I love your tutorials and YOU! Thank you!

  16. Love this one Rose! Finding it difficult to quilt in 30 degree heat here in Spain. I will be trying this quilt when it cools down.

    • Oh Carol you’re gloating now! We are shivering in temperatures below 18 degrees – our summer seems to have been a five day heatwave followed by days of gloom and rain.

  17. HI Rose, what a beautiful quilt! I have always wanted to make this quilt. I love how striking the colors are. Thank you for the directions.
    27 miles around the lake? That would take me about a month…give or take a few more months!
    I can see why you declined.

    • Hi Linda. It’s such a simple quilt to make once you’ve got the hang of which seam to unpick. I think the track around the lake was a brilliant idea but I suppose for a walker rather than a cyclist you could do sections at a time.