This is the first post in my Tokyo Subway Map Quilt-Along. This is a laid-back quilt-along that you can join any time you want.
Welcome to the Tokyo Subway Map Quilt-Along! I will be posting instructions for making a 60" x 60" quilt composed of 1,600 tiny squares. (Time to use up those scraps!) The quilt top will be pieced from 25 blocks, which I'll describe in a series of posts.
If you're looking to do something a little different, please don't hesitate to make your own drawing and/or calculations for a revised version in a different shape or size.
Please note that, although my pattern was inspired by a real map of the Tokyo Subway System, it is a stylized interpretation that makes no attempt to duplicate the system's actual layout.
A note about difficulty level . . .The construction of this quilt is both incredibly straightforward and deceptively complex. The fact that every block is made only of squares means that we'll only be cutting squares and sewing with straight seams. However, the small size and large number of the squares, as well as the unconventional arrangement of the subway "lines" running through each block, demands a certain amount of precision. In particular, it will be imperative to keep seam allowance consistent throughout the quilt.
Please let your own comfort level be your guide in deciding whether this is a project for you.
The squares will fall into the following groups:
The quilt top includes 10 different subway "lines" each indicated by a different color. Refer to the chart below to see how many print and solid squares (each 2" x 2") you will need for each line.
Feel free to use as many or as few different fabrics as you like. I suggest letting your stash be your guide. If you have lots of smaller scraps, consider cutting fewer squares each from more different fabrics. If your stash is made up mostly of larger pieces, consider choosing several of your favorites and cutting an equal number from each.
If you don't have many appropriate fabrics in your stash, you may want to invest in 1/4 yard pieces of one or two prints in each color before starting this project. If you don't have much solid fabric, a Kona charm pack can be a fast way to get a bunch of little pieces.
This composition relies heavily on harmony among the print and solid fabrics in each colored line. Lay prospective fabrics/scraps on your work surface and consider whether you think they look right together. If one fabric sticks out on your table, it's likely to stick out in your quilt too.
This project will be most successful when made entirely with monochromatic prints. However, because the squares we're using are so small, you may find that it's possible to fussy-cut monochromatic 2" x 2" squares from a larger print (e.g. green squares cut from large leaves on a big floral print).
Subway "stops" will be represented by squares cut from black and white print fabrics. Use as many or few different prints as you like to cut 60 total "stops" each measuring 2" x 2". For best results, choose bold, graphic prints that do not include any color. Don't hesitate to fussy-cut some of these squares.
All background squares should be cut from the same white solid. I recommend Kona White or Kona Snow. Enough white solid squares for this project can be cut from 2 5/8 yards of fabric at least 42" wide. Cut 45 strips 2" x width of fabric, subcutting into 907 squares 2" x 2" each.
I suggest cutting all of the squares before you start piecing. I'll discuss this more when we get into piecing, but having all of the squares cut will make it easier to distribute each print evenly across the quilt top.
My next quilt-along post will include general piecing directions, including the layout of the first block.
I'm looking forward to quilting along with you!