Use improvisational piecing and barnyard-theme fabrics to make a playful baby quilt. Fabrics are from the Cotton Tale Farm collection by Bunnies by the Bay for Timeless Treasures Fabrics.
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Inspired by Playtime from designers Jo Kramer and Kelli Hanken of Jo's Country Junction

Quilt tester: Jan Ragaller


*    2 yards total assorted barnyard prints (blocks)

*    2- 1⁄2 yards blue cloud print (blocks, sashing rectangles)

*    1--10" square green print (sashing squares)

*    1⁄2 yards binding fabric

*    3- 1⁄4 yards backing fabric

*    58" square batting

*    Acrylic ruler

Finished size: 49-1⁄2" square

Finished block: 11-1⁄2" square

Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42" of usable fabric width. You may need more or less fabric depending on your improvisational piecing.

Measurements include 1⁄4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Press seams in directions indicated by arrows on diagrams. If no direction is specified, press seam toward darker fabric.

Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

The cutting list is based on this specific layout. However, your improvisational piecing can affect amounts needed. Vary the widths of the strips to increase the impact of the design.

From assorted barnyard prints, cut:

*    64--3" squares

*    92--1"- to 2"-wide × 12 -1⁄2"-long strips (23 sets of 4 matching strips)

From blue cloud print, cut:

*     80--1"- to 3"-wide × 12-1⁄2"-long strips

*     64--1"- to 3"-wide × 7"-long strips

*     24--1-1⁄2 ×12" sashing rectangles

From green print, cut:

*    9--1-1⁄2" sashing squares

From binding fabric, cut:

*    6--2 -1⁄2 × 42" binding strips

Assemble Blocks

These instructions are for basic block construction. Because an improvisational piecing technique is used, each block will be different.

1.    Sew together two nonmatching assorted barnyard print 3" squares to make a pair. Repeat to make a second pair. Join pairs to make a Four-Patch unit (Diagram 1).


2.    Using an acrylic ruler, a rotary cutter, and a cutting mat, follow this process to trim the Four-Patch unit into a square or rectangular block center (Diagram 2).


*    Place ruler atop Four-Patch unit with one Four-Patch edge extending beyond ruler at an angle (Diagram 2a); trim.

*    Rotate unit 180°. Line up trimmed edge with a line on the ruler (Diagram 2b). Trim second edge.

*    Rotate unit 90° clockwise. Line up first trimmed edge with top edge of ruler. Trim third edge (Diagram 2c).

*    Rotate unit 180° so untrimmed edge extends past ruler. Decide if you want block center to be a square or rectangle. Trim final edge accordingly (Diagram 2d) to make block center.

3.    Select four blue cloud print 7"-long strips. Sew a blue cloud print strip to top and bottom edges of block center (Diagram 3). Trim blue cloud print strips even with edges of block center. Sew remaining blue cloud print strips to remaining block center edges (Diagram 4); trim.


4.    Select four matching barnyard print 12- 1⁄2"-long strips. Repeating Step 3, sew strips to Step 3 block center to frame it. Continue sewing and trimming strips as desired until the framed block center is at least 9- 1⁄2" square.

5.    Place ruler atop framed block center to determine how wide the last four blue cloud print strips need to be to produce an unfinished block that is 12" square. Do not center the inner Four-Patch unit when measuring block. Select (or cut) blue cloud print 12-1⁄2"-long strips accordingly and sew them to the framed block center. Trim to 12" square including seam allowances to make a block.

6.    Repeat steps 1–5 to make 16 improvisational blocks total.

Assemble Quilt Top

1.    Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out blocks, blue cloud print 1-1⁄2 ×12" sashing rectangles, and green print 1-1⁄2" sashing squares in seven rows.


2.    Sew together pieces in rows. Press seams away from sashing rectangles.

3.    Join rows to complete quilt top. Press seams in one direction.

Finish Quilt

1.    Layer quilt top, batting, and backing; baste. Quilt as desired.

2.    Bind with binding strips.