I’m starting to think I have a problem. I’ve made lots of buffalo check quilts in the past. In fact, this is the story of the fourth and fifth ones I’ve made… is that too many? You’re right – it’s probably fine. Because look how great they look! Thank you for your support!
Now let me tell you why I accidentally made more than one Wildwood buffalo check quilt!
Some time ago, I was contacted through my Etsy shop about the possibility of creating a custom quilt for a client. She had a vision of how she wanted the nursery to look, and after seeing some of my other quilts, she thought a buffalo check quilt would round out the design of the room. I immediately agreed!
Our first priority was choosing fabric. Out of all the fabric in the world, I wasn’t sure how we were going to narrow it down and find something she loved, but it really helped that she had an idea of what she wanted. She shared paint colours with me (a dark green), and told me that she liked prints with a bit of whimsy. Well, if this Rifle Paper Co’s block-printed woodland scene isn’t whimsical (and dark green), I don’t know what is! FYI, this print is called Fable Leaf – adorable! And so the idea of a Wildwood buffalo check quilt was born!
I shared the above swatch with the client, and she was overJOYED! She said that she had been hoping to make curtains out of that exact fabric, but had a hard time finding it in stock in quilt shops (cue the foreshadowing).
Before we proceeded any further, I did a quick online search and found it at only ONE fabric shop in Canada – it was sold out everywhere else. ? It appeared that many other Wildwood prints were widely available – it was just the dark green that was hard to find.
Next up we had to decide on an accent colour and layout. I mocked up some low-tech images, sent her several options, and she chose Option C. This has the green as the “dark” fabric, the exact same print in light blue as the “medium” fabric, and a white for contrast / light fabric.
Want to know my opinion? I liked all of them, but decided that Option B was my favourite. So I decided I’d buy enough fabric to make an Option B version as well. Cheeky, right? For this design, the green fabric was the “dark” fabric, and the identical print in black was the “medium”.
This tutorial is amazing!
The pattern I used for this quilt (and the many others I’ve made before) came from a FREE tutorial by Shea Henderson of Empty Bobbin. I wish I knew how often this pattern has been downloaded – a million? A bajillion? It seems like every quilter I know has made several of these!
In any case, I quickly looked at the pattern and realized that for the size of quilt my client wanted (baby), I would need the following:
- 1/2 yard dark fabric
- 1/2 yard light fabric
- 1 yard medium fabric
What could go wrong?
Easy peasy! I doubled what I needed for the dark fabric and ordered one of the precious few remaining yards in Canada. For some reason, this particular quilt shop charged 1.5 times the “regular” cost of quilting fabric, and their shipping was extortionate. This is by far the MOST EXPENSIVE yard of quilting fabric I had ever bought, but it’s what the client wanted! So that’s what she got!
I purchased all of the rest of the fabric (including backing and binding), from a local quilt shop. Their prices were great and the shipping reasonable! No drama there. I was ready to make my Wildwood buffalo check quilt.
Following a pattern is NOT hard, but…
If you read the pattern, it clearly tells you to cut your strips at 3.5″ wide. But is that what I did? No way! I was so excited to get started on this project that I didn’t bother to check the pattern before I started slicing away.
This is what the foreshadowing was alluding to…
I CUT ALL THE FABRIC THE WRONG SIZE!
Maybe I’m really used to cutting 2.5″ strips? Because that’s what I did – I cut an entire quilt’s worth of fabric (dark, medium, and light) in 2.5″ strips… not 3.5″ strips like the pattern indicates. If I had cut them too big, I could still have cut them smaller, but you can’t make a 2.5″ strip into a 3.5″ strip! <insert several swear words here>
The good news: I only cut up HALF a yard of the precious, rare, EXPENSIVE dark green fabric. Which meant that I still had a half-yard left that I could (theoretically) still cut at the RIGHT size (assuming I didn’t mess it up again).
I looked at my pile of too-small strips and cursed myself for not taking TWO SECONDS to check the pattern. Then I set the shame-inducing strips aside, got back on my computer, and ordered some replacement medium and light fabric.
Second time’s a charm!
Once the replacement light blue fabric arrived, I was able to assemble the Wildwood buffalo check quilt without further incident. This project goes together incredibly quickly, and I’ve often finished a top in one afternoon.
The client chose Soho as the pantograph, and I think it looks great! We used a large-scale Wildwood print for the backing and a small-scale fabric for the binding. As per usual, I machine bound the quilt for extra durability and longevity. I know this method will last through years of cuddles and trips through the washing machine.
I finished the quilt in record time and shipped it off to my client just in time for Christmas. She was very pleased with the results, and I felt great that I had helped make her nursery dreams come true! Hooray!
How to use the offcuts?
What do you do with a pile of fabric cut into the wrong-sized strips? You make another Wildwood buffalo check quilt! My plan of making a second quilt in the Option B colourway went out the window, and I decided to make a nearly-identical copy of the first quilt.
I did some quick math and decided that I could still end up with a decent-sized baby quilt with my leftover fabric, so I set about assembling it into a top. The first one was sized 39″ x 45″ with a layout of 13 x 15 blocks, and the second one was 38″ x 46″ with a layout of 19 x 23 blocks. They’re very close in size, but the first one had 195 blocks, and the second one resulted in 437 blocks!! Isn’t quilt math mind-blowing?
Maybe you’re wondering how I managed to make all of these 632 blocks line up so nicely (and without using any pins)?? The secret is my Stripology Ruler. Have you ever heard of this tool? It’s a life-saving, game-changing, accuracy-improving, speed-of-lightning amazing tool that I couldn’t live without. It’s pricey (here in Canada it’s about $70), but so worth it in my opinion.
I used the Stripology Ruler to first cut my strips, and then to cut my strip sets into sections. Everything went together in a FLASH, and the fact that I nested my seams meant that I could sew the rows together without even one pin. That’s a huge win in my books. Maybe this is why I’ve made so many of them? This quilt pattern is fast and satisfying!
For the longarm quilting, I chose Mackintosh Rose as my pantograph. Whenever I have a quilt that features squares prominently, I like to use a circular / curvy quilting design. It softens things up quite a bit.
I used the dark, large scale print from Wildwood for the backing, and had enough left over after quilting that I also used it as the binding. Who doesn’t love a dark binding!? It really frames a quilt!
Once again I machine bound the quilt. If you’d like to see a tutorial of my technique, you can check out the highlighted stories in my Instagram page. Never mind that I sound like a chipmunk in one of the videos – there are text prompts along the way!
If this quilt gives you heart eyes, I have great news for you! It can be yours! I’ve listed it for sale in my Etsy shop, and you can find all the listing details here. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions about it!
What did we learn?
Well, I think we learned that it helps if you measure even ONCE before you cut! Sigh. Or at least check the pattern for cutting instructions.
The good news is that I ended up with two beautiful quilts in the process, so it was definitely not a loss!!
Have you ever had an “oopsie” moment turn into something nice in the end? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!