Split rails are a type of quilt that involves a set of strips cut into a square to form a block. The arrangement and orientation of those blocks then forms the design of the quilt. As simple as this may sound and as easy as they are to create, the designs and the options you have are many and quite beautiful. The following quilts are different ideas on ways you can vary and make a split rail to reflect your own creativity.
Margie took her split rail blocks and surrounded them with sashing. She also alternated their orientation horizontally and vertically. The blocks are an oblong rectangular shape, so this created a little bit of negative space in the corners where four blocks meet. I think this helps to fight the striped image of straight rows and columns. She used some amazing modern fabrics in colors of rust, aqua, and black. I could imagine this in any room, masculine or feminine. She quilted it with a meander design board which was a nice compliment to the meandering nature of the blocks. The green and black borders give it a nice defined edge. Nicely done, Margie.
Lynn took a traditional split rail and modified it by making the inner strip extra wide. What a great way to showcase a large print fabric you like. She also included some smaller prints in the larger center strips to mix it up some. I think it’s clever how she used the outer border fabric in the blocks in the middle, but not the yellow inner border. The yellow fabric matches the yellow in the prints and doesn’t seem out of place, but there is none of the yellow fabric among the blocks at all. This makes that frame really defined and separated instead of a more faded feel where it could run up against itself in one or two places around the edge.
Lynn used our Periwinkle pantograph to quilt this here in the shop. It consists of some sweet little five petaled blossoms with a couple of leaves. Very sweet for such a pretty little quilt, a great choice.
AnnaMaria modified her split rail a little differently. She included a white square in the corner with her two strips to give an almost log cabin effect to her blocks. She also didn’t arrange the blocks in a traditional pattern. Some of the blocks touch in the corners to form diagonal lines and others don’t. I don’t think it’s unintentional. You get the feel of a jumble of colors without the harder diagonal lines she could have created with systematic placing of the blocks. I think it’s lovely and soft just like the pastel batiks she chose to make it with. She quilted this with a pantograph called Turbulence. It has a series of large smooth swirls. The swirls and the randomness of the white squares work well together. I think this quilt came out amazing.
The last quilt is this pretty green crib sized piece. Besides the varied widths to the rails in her split rail fence, Rebecca used smaller blocks to build the center strip in half of her blocks. It also looks like she fussy cut those smaller blocks so we get a beautifully centered butterfly in each square. She chose to finish this quilt with our Periwinkle pantograph. You can see the sweet little flowers in the borders and solid fabrics. They really set off the sunflowers, butterflies, and song birds in her fabric. Rebecca was also learning how to use our long arm machines with this piece. What an amazing job for her first time.
Split rails can be very easy to make and lovely to behold. The simple nature of their construction can make them very easy and quick to complete. The next time you have an occasion to make a quilt for a gift or just for fun, consider the humble split rail fence. You can complete it strictly by the books in a traditional format, or you can add something different to add a little flair and personal touch. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what you come up with!