Free quilt pattern: Chunk It Up!

March 24, 2020

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When life seems crazy, I get a little wicked pleasure out of slicing up fabric into pieces—especially when it’s been a particularly challenging day. Then the steady, rhythmic whir of my sewing machine brings a zen-like calm as I sew them back together. It’s my own cathartic way of shredding the stresses of the day and telling myself that tomorrow will be brand new!

As “social distancing” becomes the new norm during this world health crisis, stitching up a few quilts seems like the perfect way to spend some “alone” time and take my mind off the world’s troubles for a few hours…and Tracey Russell of APQS Oshawa/Whirls-n-Swirls Quilting has come up with the perfect pattern to do just that!

Finished Chunk It Up quilt.

Her “Chunk It UP!” quilt is super simple to cut and piece—a real plus when you want to see results quickly. The pattern uses strips cut the width of the fabric (WOF) that are then stitched together into large units. Your sewing machine will be humming right along as you chain piece the strips!

Next, you’ll slice the long strips into sub-units, then you’ll simply rotate and combine them into larger units. Those units are joined to create blocks, and soon the blocks line up in rows to create a generous lap-size quilt.

Displayed Chunk It Up quilt.

Tracey added two borders that nicely frame the blocks and provide another pop of color. As a longarm quilter, she knows how helpful it is to have outer borders that lay flat. To help keep the quilt square and prevent the borders from waving, Tracey recommends cutting the outer border along the lengthwise grain of the fabric (parallel to the selvage.) It does mean you’ll need some extra fabric so that the border doesn’t have to be pieced. But if you’ve ever been disappointed by distorted or wavy borders on your quilt, you’ll find it’s well worth the extra yardage!

Chunk It Up quilt border blocks.

The quilting design is Tracey’s own creation called “Nightingale,” which she stitched using her APQS Lucey and Quilt Path. (If you like her pattern, it’s available on her website.) She used Fantastico thread by Superior Threads, along with Hobbs heirloom washable wool batting. The variegated thread sets off the fabric colors, and the extra loft the wool batting provides really makes the quilting pattern pop.

Tracey Russell's"Nightingale" Quilt Path pattern for the Chunk It Up quilt.

Tracey’s passion has always been freehand quilting; she’s self-taught, which is even more impressive when you see her astonishingly gorgeous work! If you wish you could quilt like Tracey, there’s good news! She’s a freehand quilting guru with over 500 videos on her YouTube channel to give you tons of inspiration and education! You can even rent time on an APQS longarm at her showroom and rental studio in Oshawa, just east of Toronto—or take one of her free motion quilting classes to improve your own quilting. 

I can imagine this quilt featuring a cute print with accent colors, or even laid out with bold, bright solids for a more modern look! Since it goes together so fast, I might just have to make two and decide which one I like best!

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