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There’s a simple trick that makes this quilt design a lot easier. I use a piece of fabric, pre-cut to the size of my blocks, to sew the fabric strips onto. This technique is sometimes called “foundation piecing.” Sewing onto an existing square of fabric helps stabilize the material, especially when working with narrow or small scraps. It also makes it very easy to visualize the size of the block as you’re building it up.

I have made this type of block without a backing and it’s turned out fine. It simply takes more time and care to make sure everything fits together nicely. You could try that if you decide to use a different block design or want to vary the size of your blocks. But I recommend trying this first because it takes a lot of the guesswork and measuring out of the process.

The first step is to cut out all the foundation squares. In my example I make them 8 x 8 inches, which is a good size for this design. There’s nothing special about the fabric for the foundation, but I’d recommend a neutral color so that it doesn’t show through. I’d keep it to a lightweight cotton or linen.

Then you’ll attach your strips of fabric to the foundation. For the first strip it’s important to line up diagonally across the square. This little bit of alignment will help the array of colors and strip sizes feel cohesive in the final quilt. With the first strip down you can work out to the edges adding one scrap at a time.

Small tweaks can radically change the look of the quilt

For all this machine sewing on this project I’m using a basic, straight-running stitch with a ¼ inch seam allowance. The seam allowance is the space between the stitched line and the edge of the fabric. A small seam allowance, like 1/16 of an inch, means you’re right near the edge. But I like to work with a ¼ inch so I have a little breathing room.

Thoughts on finding rhythm in your work

Although it’s not completely necessary, I’m also doing a backstitch on all this piecing. A backstitch secures your stitches by locking them in with a few stitches in the opposite direction. Depending on your sewing machine you may have a backstitch button that reverses the direction you are sewing. You can manually turn the hand wheel the opposite direction for a couple of stitches.

Once your blocks have all been assembled, the next step is to sew them together to build the quilt top