Islington Station Eastbound

Well, it’s late – but the long weekend tutorial is finally here as promised! An in-progress bathroom project and some misguided furniture moving (both stories for another day) conspired to get in the way, but at least the quilt top is finished – and not a moment too soon…

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but a couple of years ago I made the daily commute into Toronto to work. And, as I find so often with my life, I travelled in the opposite direction from the vast majority of people – heading West in the morning and East in the evening, arriving at and departing from the Islington Subway Station. You may also know (or perhaps not) that in Toronto, each subway station has a unique tile design on its walls. I have yet to travel from one end of the system to the other to see all of the different patterns, but it’s something that I would still love to do (when I was commuting, there was never enough time!).

Here are the tiles at the Islington Station that inspired this quilt:


And here’s the design based on my favourite Subway station (sorry – it’s been a rainy evening so I’ll have to provide a better [sunny outdoor] photo when I can):


And if you’d like to make your own version, here is what you will need:


For the quilt top pictured (approximately 62 inches wide by 82 inches long):
3 yards red solid:
– 8 sashing strips measuring 1 1/4″ by the length of your row (about 80″)
– 2 side borders measuring 2″ by the length of your row
– 2 top/bottom borders measuring 2″ by the width of your quilt top (about 62 1/2″)
– 96 strips measuring 1 1/4″ by 6 1/2″
Added 09/12/14 – and I forgot to mention here, you should have enough red yardage leftover for 12 – 2 1/2″ x WOF strips. Sew together two (short 2 1/2″ ends) for the border at the top of the row of extra blocks on the back, two for the border at the bottom of the row of extra blocks, and the remaining 8 for binding to finish the quilt.
1 jelly roll in neutral/low volume colours (mine is Shirtings Floral Gatherings by Primitive Gatherings for Moda)
6 fat quarters in bright colours (or you could use 2 charm packs, if you’d prefer)
– cut 6 or 7 – 2 1/2″ strips from each fat quarter for a total of 39 strips

To make the quilt top:

Sort your jelly roll strips into 10 sets of 4 strips each; sew together your sets of 4 strips along the long edges. I like to chain piece whenever possible and for projects like this where I might orient my block in any direction depending on how I want my colours arranged, I always press my seams open to give myself that flexibility. Cut your strip sets into 6 1/2-inch blocks as below.


You should be able to get 60 blocks measuring 8 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ – use 50 for the top and save the extra 10 for a pieced back for this quilt or for use in another project.


Cut your fat quarters into 2 1/2-inch strips; you should be able to get about 6 or 7 strips from each fat quarter – cut a total of 39 strips.


Group the strips into 13 sets of 3 and sew along the long edges as you did with the jelly roll strips sets. Press seams open and cut each set of 3 into 5-inch blocks as below.


You should be able to cut 4 blocks from each set giving you at total of 52 blocks measuring 6 1/2″ x 5″ – we’ll use 49 for the quilt top with 3 extras for a pieced back or another project.

From the red solid, cut 96 – 1 1/4-inch x 6 1/2-inch strips. (Note: I started by cutting 10 of these small strips – enough to put one row together – so that I could measure my row and then cut my sashing and borders. Because the rows are put together vertically rather than horizontally, I was able to verify my row length and then cut my red solid sashing strips to the correct length from my yardage so that I didn’t have seams – almost! I’ll explain in a minute. The point here is that if you want sashing and borders without seams, you might want to cut it from your yardage first before beginning to cut some of the smaller pieces. But you can also feel free to cut sashing strips across the width of the fabric and seam two strips together to get the length you need.)

Sew your 1 1/4″ x 6 1/2″ strips to the top and bottom of 41 of your sets of 3, orienting the block so the strips are vertical as below.


For your remaining 8 blocks, sew the 1 1/4-inch wide red strip to one end only (the top edge of 4 blocks and the bottom of 4 blocks if your fabric is directional – for mine, it didn’t matter).

Lay out your blocks in vertical rows as follows:
Rows 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 – begin and end with a neutral block and use 6 neutral blocks alternating with 5 blocks of brights.
Rows 2, 4, 6 and 8 – start and end your row with the bright blocks that have only one red strip, alternate 5 neutral blocks with another 4 bright blocks in between.


When you’re happy with your arrangement, sew together into vertical rows.


And here’s where you can adjust a little if your seam allowances aren’t perfect :). Measure your rows (or use the measurement you determined above for sashing) and add red strips to the top and bottom of the even numbered rows to make them as long as the odd numbered rows. My rows measured 80″ long – I added 2 1/4″ x 6 1/2″ strips to the top and bottom of my even numbered rows to complete them.

Sew your red sashing strips to the right side of each of your vertical rows (so here’s where I almost didn’t have seams – I cut my sashing strips and then decided that I had enough blocks to add another of each one to the bottom of the quilt top forcing me to go back and patch the sashing to make longer strips! Don’t do what I did – cut it to the right length the first time and save yourself the headache!).


I found it easiest to go ahead and add my right and left borders at this point as well, rather than struggle with the entire weight of the quilt top to add them when everything was sewn together. I cut the borders from red solid a little wider than the sashing at 2″.

Now sew your rows together to complete the top.


To make sure that everything was lining up correctly, I folded the bright blocks in half seam to seam and finger pressed on the sashing the location of the centre of the bright block (right there by my top finger).


I then lined this mark up with the middle seam on the neutral blocks (the little crease is where I’m pointing and I’m lining it up with the centre seam of the neutral block).

It really didn’t take too long to do line things up this way and, with a lot of pinning to help, the rows went together without any trouble.

Once your rows are together, add your top and bottom borders to complete the top.

And there you have it! One long weekend tutorial (only one weekend after the long weekend). I’m calling this a finish and linking up with Finish-it-up-Friday over at CrazyMomQuilts – but by next week, I hope to be able to show you the completed quilt as well.

I’m still debating at this point whether to add outer borders to give this quilt a little more width. The problem is that I think it looks quite nice the way it is and I’m afraid additional borders will detract from the tile effect it has now. Thoughts?

And just because I have it here, a slightly different colour combination from a sample that I made up a while ago (mmmmm…. turquoise :)).


Again – it’s late so I’m hope these instructions are clear, but if it isn’t or you have any questions just let me know. And if you do decide to make this quilt, I’d love to see your version!

09/12/14 – Updated to add photo of finished quilt (still not a sunny day :)).


Happy Friday!


This entry was posted in quilting, sewing, tutorial, wip. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s