Border: 5 – 3 ½” strips
Color 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on: This quilt needs a total of 15 – 3 ½” strips to make the pattern. It can be in as many colors as you wish. It is a great way to use up odd strips. You should use at least 5 and as many as 15 different fabrics. Spend some time deciding how they will be arranged.
In the drawing below, an equal number of strips and colors (5 strips in 5 colors) are laid out in a repeating pattern. In the lower drawing an odd assortment is laid out to balance the colors. Move them around until you are satisfied. When you are happy with the arrangement, sew the strips together with consistent ¼” seams. Press the seams alternately to one side then the other.
Take this very large strip set and fold it right side in, the long way in half, bringing the raw edges together. Sew this seam, turning the strip set into a tube. Lay the tube on the cutting mat.
Smooth it out and make a clean cut across one end, evening out all the strips. Slice across at 3 ½”. You should get 12 slices. They will be in rings.
STEP FOUR – EQUAL COLORS
In the case of equal colors it doesn’t matter where you start unpicking the seams. Unpick the seams between any #5 color and #1 color. Next between a #1 and #2. Then # 2 and #3, #3 and #4, and #4 and #5. Repeat until they are all in strips and lay them out to make the pattern as shown.
Choose a color to run diagonally from the top left corner. Unpick the seam that connects it to the next square. Lay this out flat so that your chosen color is first across the top. On the next ring, making sure the order stays the same, unpick the stitches to make this color second. Each ring should move this color one spot down as shown.
From here on it doesn’t matter if the strips are odd or not. After you have all the strips laid out to form the pattern, sew the rows together aligning the seams. Press.
STEP SIX – BORDERS
Cut one border strip in half. Add one half strip to each of two other border strips for side borders. Pin side borders to quilt, right sides together with quilt, short edges extending a bit beyond quilt. Sew with a 1/4″ seam, then trim ends to match the length of the quilt. Sew remaining two strips on top and bottom of quilt. Trim ends to match the width of the quilt.
STEP SEVEN – MAKING THE SANDWICH
Press the fabric to be used for the quilt back. Lay out a piece of batting the required size on a flat surface. Place the pressed piece of backing fabric RIGHT SIDE UP on top of the batting. Place the completed, pressed top WRONG SIDE UP on top of backing. RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER!
Smooth the wrinkles and center the top on the batting and backing. The top will be slightly smaller. Make sure the backing and batting are the same size or a bit larger than the top. Pin around the edges, through all the layers.
Starting on any edge and about one third in from any corner, sew 1/4″ from the raw edge of top around all four sides, leaving an opening of about 10″. Start with backstitching, pivot at each corner, and end with backstitching. Trim seams and clip corners. Turn carefully to right side, pulling corners as square as possible. Press lightly and stitch opening shut by hand or machine. Topstitch around the outer edges to make the quilt more durable. Use a decorative stitch if you wish.
Tying the quilt: Use all 6 strands of embroidery floss threaded through a needle. From the top of the quilt, push the needle through and back up 1/4″ away. Pull the thread, leaving about 4″. Wrap the threads in the right hand not once but twice around the other thread. Pull tightly. Tie again, wrapping the left thread two times around right. Repeat this in a pattern over the whole quilt. Every 4″ is good coverage. Trim floss ends to 1/2″ to 1/4″.
Your Snail Trail quilt is done!