Trompe l'oeil buffalo-chex patchwork
This buffalo-chex pattern in black, teal-blue, and gray is created by using a cross-weave printed fabric along with black and a coordinating color. I learned how to do this on Shay Henderson's Empty Bobbin Sewing School weblog post titled "Buffalo Check Quilt Pattern". I love this, and think it's like magic to watch the fabrics transform into the buffalo-chex pattern.
The secret is in using a "weave" printed fabric as the foundation of your design. The teal-blue "weave" print pictured below makes the "gray" blocks in the teal colored, buffalo-chex, patchwork I demonstrate here.
Moda Rustic Weave -- teal color, purchased from Missouri Star Quilt Co.
This "Rustic Weave" fabric looks like it is course woven, but it is actually printed to look like a woven fabric of a teal color with a black background. Other blended fabrics of this type include: "Essex linens", "chambrays" and "cross weaves". The Moda "Rustic Weave" collection features a variety of options; so you can make your buffalo-check patchwork in whatever color you like.
Selection of Rustic Weave by Moda available in a variety of colors.
I chose the Moda Rustic Weave teal shade shown above because I thought it was bright and pretty and would make a nice contrast with the black of the traditional check pattern.
Henderson's directions called for a basic six-inch square but I cut five-inch blocks using my five-inch wide ruler, just to make cutting easier. I followed her method of using strip-sets to create the patchwork in a quick and simple fashion.
To make a 38-inch square of buffalo check, you will need:
- eight, five-inch cuts or 1-1/4 yard of the "weave" fabric in the color of your choice plus
- four, five-inch cuts or 5/8-yard of black such as the Bella Solid black shown below,
- and four, five-inch cuts or 5/8-yard of the bright color that matches your choice of "weave" fabric: i.e. red to match the red-weave, blue for blue, yellow for yellow, etc. This color should be bright and true with no dusty or gray undertones such as the bright teal shown below.
|Bella Solids black by Moda purchased from Missouri Star Quilt Co.|
Bright teal color cotton yardage
Cut 5-inch wide strips across the width of each cut of fabric to make:
- eight 5-inch wide by 43- to 45-inch long "weave" strips,
- four 5-inch wide by 43- to 45-inch long black strips,
- and four 5-inch wide by 43- to 45-inch long color strips.
Trim selvages and make strip sets using 1/4-inch seams as follows:
Sew two strips of black to two strips of "weave" alternating: black, weave, black, weave. Repeat to make second strip-set of black/weave.
Stitch two matching strips together end-on-end, to make four 40-inch long strips alternating color/black, and four 40-inch long strip alternating blend/black.
Add sets and rows as desired to create patchwork of your desired size. Add borders, as you choose.
A downloadable PDF of Shay Henderson's "Buffalo Check Quilt" is available online.
UPDATE Aug. 16, 2016: 46 x 66-inch lap quilt made with two sets of strips as described above. I used the second set of strips to add five rows and one column (two strips) to my original set of strips -- leaving one un-used strip. I sewed on a border of 2.5-inch strips of black, and I plan to add another border in a split complementary color -- maybe lime green. I will probably bind the quilt in the clear turquoise fabric used in the quilt.
UPDATE: Oct. 8, 2016
Added three-inch chartreuse border and binding made of leftover cuts from leftover quilt fabric. Machine quilted on seamlines with my vanilla Janome using walking foot, teflon machine mat, and quilting gloves.