In my last post, I discussed my Day Lilies quilt and how to plan fabric and color schemes for this and any “scrappy” quilt. Today, I’m continuing that discussion.
For any scrappy quilt, I think it would be impossible to try and plan the placement of every piece in advance. I like to work in units, making sure that the balance of color and fabric placement within each unit is satisfying to me.
For Day Lilies, my unit was one petal. I made stacks of brown, red and purple petals, using a wide variety of different fabrics.
Depending on your pattern, you may have just random placement of dark, medium and light within the units such as is done with Thousand Pyramids.
Or you may have colors shaded light to dark within each unit such as Day Lilies above or Urban Sunset shown here.
When working with shaded units, I have a little trick to make easily get several different units. Lay out a group of fabrics in a “run,” light to dark. Here I have such a run which I might use for Day Lilies. There are 11 fabrics.
I only need seven fabrics for a Day Lilies petal so I could make one unit using in order fabrics 1-7, for another petal I could use 2-8, then 3-9 and so forth. This will yield five different petals. Continue doing this with different runs of shaded colors.
For Urban Sunset, some of the nine-diamond units are shaded light to dark lengthwise and some are shaded light to dark sideways as seen above.
For these units, I did the same thing as shown above on Day Lilies. I arranged several “runs” of fabrics such as this one which contains nine fabrics shaded light to dark.
Since only five fabrics are needed for each unit in this quilt, there are five possible units that can be made shading them lengthwise and five sideways for a total of 10 different units. The lengthwise shaded ones are shown here.
When I find a unit with colors that I like, I will make at least two of the same colors. They will be used in different parts of the quilt so that the same units are not adjacent to each other. The Urban Sunset Pattern shows how the smaller units are formed into the increasingly larger units.
Once I have a good amount of what I call the “base” units, I will start arranging them into larger units. For Day Lilies, it is the large flowers by color – purple, red and brown.
For Urban Sunset, it is the larger units that are built according to the directions in the pattern.
For Thousand Pyramids you will make two sets of units one with the dark triangles at the bottom and one with the light triangles at the bottom. These are then alternated in the layout of the units.
After the larger units are sewn together then is when I finally like to lay them all out on either a design wall or the floor and arrange them to my liking. You will find that if you are satisfied with the base units and then the larger units, you will be pleased with the overall arrangement.
I find that if all the pieces of the quilt are decided upon in advance, it does not allow for the quilt to “speak” to you. Some of the spontaneity is lost and for me part of the pleasure of making a scrappy quilt with lots of fabrics is the discovery along the way.