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Round Robin Plaited Fabric Center

Quilting expert Linda Gass gives instructions for creating this plaited fabric center.

Weaving fabrics together can create interesting color combinations and texture for your quilting projects. Plaiting is a simple weaving technique where like elements, in this case strips of fabric, are woven together at right angles to form a checkerboard pattern.

Materials and Tools:

corkboard large enough to hold entire weaving
round head pins
cutting mat
rotary cutter
clear plastic quilting ruler
16" square of cotton muslin
15" square of fusible web
15" square of fabric for vertical strips
15" square of fabric for horizontal strips
freezer paper (optional for silk fabrics)
pressing cloth
spray bottle of water

Figure A


1. If you are using silk or another slippery fabric, iron the silk to freezer paper before cutting it into strips to keep it from wiggling around while you are cutting it. Peel off the freezer paper before weaving the strips.

2. Cut vertical weaving fabric into 1-1/4 inch wide vertical strips using cutting mat, rotary cutter and clear plastic quilting ruler.

3. Cut horizontal weaving fabric into 1-1/4 inch wide horizontal strips.

4. Iron the fusible web to the cotton muslin according to the manufacturer's instructions, remove the paper backing.

5. Lay the cotton muslin, fusible web side up in the center of the corkboard.

6. Arrange the vertical strips of fabric on the fusible web and pin down - put the pins in at a shallow diagonal so they hardly stick up from the surface where the head of the pin is away from the finished area so it may be pressed with an iron later.

7. Peel back every other vertical strip.

8. Lay down the first of the horizontal strips about 3/4 inch from the bottom of the vertical strips and make sure it is straight.

9. Take the peeled back vertical strips and put them back in their places—this will cover part of the horizontal strip you just laid down. Pin down the horizontal strip at both ends.

10. Now peel back every other vertical strip, using the alternate set from the last time.

11. Lay down the next horizontal strip and make sure it lies right next to the previous horizontal strip.

12. Take the peeled back vertical strips and put them back in their places. You should see the checkerboard pattern starting to emerge in the design.

Figure C

13. Adjust the fabric strips carefully so that there aren't any gaps between squares and so they are straight. Pin down the horizontal strip at both ends.

14. Continue peeling back the vertical strips, laying in horizontal strips and putting the vertical strips back into their places, adjusting and pinning until all of the horizontal strips are in place.

15. Pin the tops of the vertical strips in place.

16. Fuse the woven strips to the cotton muslin backing using the manufacturer's instructions for the fusible web (this usually involves using a dampened pressing cloth).

You may now use this woven fabric as part of your quilt.

You can make your weaving any size with any width strips. To calculate how large your fabric for the horizontal and vertical strips needs to be:

1. Multiply the width of your strips by how many strips you want.

2. Add 1-1/2 inches to the length of each for attachment.

3. Make sure the cotton muslin backing is one inch wider than your finished weaving all the way around and cut the fusible web to be slightly smaller than your cotton muslin. Also make sure you have a corkboard surface large enough to pin down the weaving. Do NOT use foam board for the weaving as you will need to iron on the surface when the weaving is all done.

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