With summer here at last – well in the northern hemisphere anyway – who feels like a trip around the world? If, like me, you cannot afford the real thing there’s always the option of trying the trip around the world quilted version! This is one of those quilting techniques that has infinite variations, but the version that I am showing here is pretty well the most basic that you can get. It is made in four panels and uses six fabrics only. The lines where the four panels are joined have two squares the same colour next to each other and all the squares are the same size. Like I said, it’s basic -c but it does introduce you to the trip around the world quilting technique.
Sometimes quilts are made special by having a very intricate patchwork design and sometimes they become special through colour placement. Trip around the world quilt fall into this category: they are made using squares only so there are no diagonal edges to worry about, but by clever placement of the colours you get diamonds of colour spreading out from the centre. As an added benefit, in trip around the world quilts the sewing is all done using strips of fabric not individual squares.
Making the trip around the world quilt
I wanted the squares in this quilt to be small enough for the design to look intricate but not so small that they were fiddly to work with, so I went for 2″ squares. I used six different fabrics and cut four 2″ strips across the width of the fabric of all six fabrics. Sew them together along the length so that you have four panels each made of six strips of fabric. I have alternated light and dark fabrics but I have also seen trip around the world quilts made using gradual shading of colours – using grading of the size of the squares also. Press these strips with the seam allowance going in opposite directions between each pair of strips. That way the seam allowances are more likely to lie flat when you sew the strips back together again.
Cut these panels in half across the width so that youhave eight panels of six strips about 22″ long. Place two these with right sides together, making sure that the top panel is reversed so that the colours at the edge aren’t the same as in the bottom panel. In the photo, that means checking that the blue strip lies against a white strip.
Using a 1/4″ seam, sew the two panels together along the length – that’s along the blue strip at the top and along the white strip at the bottom in the photo. This creates a tube made up of twelve strips of fabric. Cut this tube across the strips at 2″ intervals so that yu end up with ten tubes or hoops of fabric.
Sewing the loops together for the trip around the world quilt
Choose one colour to begin with and unpick the seam at that colour. I’ve unpicked the seam betwen blue and yellow in the first tube of fabric. This now gives me a strip of fabric beginning with blue as shown in the right hand photo. For the next row I unpicked the seam between yellow and red so that my next strip begins with a yellow and the blue is up one step from where it is in the first strip.
Continue with all ten tubes, unpicking the seam one square further round each time so that each colour is one step up from the same colour in the previous strip as shown on the left. This is where the name trip around the world comes from. With right sides together sew these strips together to make a panel of ten strips. Repeat to make another identical panel. These will form the top left and bottom right quarters of the trip around the world quilt.
The panels for the top right and bottom left of the trip around the world quilt top are made in the same way but they are mirror images of the first two panels. I found it easiest to lay the strips out one by one in place so that I could check that the colours moved down one step at a time. One mistake that is easily made is to think that you need to unpick at the blue square, for example, but then unpick on the wrong side of the blue square. You need to be sure if the strip you are unpicking needs to start with blue, white or blue, yellow in that example. sorry about the shadow in the photo – it was taken on an uncharacteristically sunny day! When you are happy with the trip around the world quilt layout, sew the panels together in pairs and then sew the pairs of panels together.
Trip around the world quilt border
I wanted a good sized border to frame the trip around the world design, so I cut four 2″ strips of blue and eight 2″ strips of white – these happened to be the fabrics that I had most of. Sew them together in strips of three fabrics – white, blue, white – and cut these strips into two lengths of 36.1/2″ and two lengths of 30.1/2″. Well, measure your quilt top first but your measurements should be similar to those measurements.
Trip around the world quilt cornerstones
Sew the 36.1/2″ strips to the long edges of the quil top. Use the leftover parts of the blue and white strips to make nine patch units for the cornerstones of the quilt. You will need eight of the white, blue, white strips cut 2″ long.
I wanted to avoid cutting into more fabric so for the blue, white, blue strips I unpicked the remaining strips of white, blue, white and sewed them back together as blue, white, blue for the middle row of the nine patch blocks. You willneed four of these. Sew one to each end of the two 30.1/2″ border strips.
Sew these two strips to the remaining edges of the quilt top.
The trip around the world quilt top is now complete and ready to be layered, quilted and bound.
Here’s the video: