Designing the pattern: newbie question

BuggalinaJuJuBeeFebruary 27, 2011

Hi everyone! I'm working on my first practice quilt. I am using 4 1/2" squares that I have cut from a set of fat quarters in six different fabric. It is just some pretty fabric I had from the same line (Anna Maria Horner) and I am using this as a learning experience. So I have no pattern to follow.

With having a few extra squares I have enough squares to make a nine square by nine square, um, square quilt. 36 x36.

I don't have the same amount of squares for each fabric. They range from 11-16 squares. Just to see what would happen I just laid them all out on my table somewhat systematically to get an overall look. It's ok.

I am fine with just moving on to learning to stitch them all together, but it would be nice if I could also work on the aesthetics of quilt making. I still don't have that ability to find random fabrics and know how to make it all work together. Might help if I had a pattern but oh well.

Any suggestions? In the six fabrics I do have 16 squares of one distinctive contrasting color. I can tell that I will want to distribute it well throughout the quilt. Just not sure how.

Thanks for any tips. It is fun learning!

Julie

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jennifer_in_va

A lot will depend on your personality, believe it or not!

It sounds like you're off to a very good start. One possibility is to just tweak a square here and there as you let it sit on your table (before you start to sew). It's sometimes helpful to take a digital photo of it and look at it from a more distant eye.

Another personality might not care about distributing certain fabrics around. This is a person that likes a more scrappy, relaxed style of quilting.

If it were me, a more attention-to-detail organized person, I'd spend days looking at it, finding where the same fabrics touch and moving things around so no two fabrics are the same! (Maybe an impossible task!) I might also try to start with those 16 same squares and lay them out in strategic fashion, then add the others strategically around them.

Bottom line is that it's all up to YOU!!! It's all in what appeals to your senses. You'll hear us say over and over, "It's your quilt. Do what you want with it!" and it's the truth. There is not a single quilter out there that will criticize what choices you make...unless you ask us to help, that is!! LOL

Good luck! Enjoy the process!!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:35AM
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teresa_nc7

Welcome to our forum!

Sounds like you are easing into the wonderful world of quilting in a thoughtful manner - which is very good, because the whole thing can be a little overwhelming if you don't have any or very little sewing experience.

In selecting fabrics for a quilt, here are some tips I have learned:

~ every fabric does not have to be a "wow, look at me" color or design; the eye needs a place to rest, and there needs to be supporting fabrics as well as the main players

~ a quilt is more interesting if you have some large scale prints to balance the tiny prints; also, geometric, animal skin, stripes and plaids can all have their place in a scrap quilt (my first quilt consisted of 3 fabrics - now I do scrap quilts with 40 or more different fabrics)

~ those fabrics we call "read-as-solid" or the Tone-on-Tone prints like a green leaf on a green background as color without being a busy print (when you view the read-as-solid from 8 feet across the room, it looks like a solid fabric)

~ sometimes you can get a two-for-one use from a fabric: turn the fabric over and use the wrong side if it suits the quilt design

~ really loud colors or designs can still fit it.....just cut small pieces of them and use them in pieced blocks!

~ some fabrics have movement or texture to them, others just lay there quietly in the background - and they are all good!

Hope this helps! Come back often and please show us pics of your quilt while it is a WIP (work in progress) or when you finish it.

Teresa

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 9:17AM
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geezerfolks_SharonG_FL

Hi Julie and welcome! I agree with Jennifer and Teresa. A design board will also be helpful...just hang a white piece of flannel or use the back of a flannel backed plastic tablecloth for the fabric to cling to. The pieces are easily moved around from place to place as you keep looking at it. Also, if you have a piece of red plastic and look at the arrangement of blocks, you'll be able to see where all the darks, mediums and lights are and get a more balanced look to it.

Congratz on deciding to make a quilt. We'll help all we can.

SharonG/FL

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:21AM
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toolgranny

Welcome. It sounds like you're already off to a good start. You have a designing mind and that will help. I don't see how you can go wrong. We'd love to see it when it's together. We all have our first quilt to remember.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:38AM
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pirate_girl

Hi Julie,

Welcome & good questions, you've led us into a excellent thread with some really terrific points & ideas.

It's good that you're working smallish, that's something not everyone realizes at first.

As to color tips, sometimes from a group of mixed fabric one can find on repeating color & use that as a thin inner border around the outside of the assemblage btwn the central work & a border.

Using this idea can both pop the particular color & also lend an overall cohesion to bring the work somewhat more together overall.

Design walls are excellent, allows one the freedom to play & move things around experimentally w/out having to bother much w/ pins. All the better from which to step back & observe.

Have fun & as I'm sure you've noticed, we love pictures!!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 1:04PM
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K8Orlando

I would lay the squares out on the floor, adjust them endlessly and then leave the room for a few minutes. I'm certain that when I would come back into the room, the cats would have rearranged the blocks into something even better!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 11:17PM
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BuggalinaJuJuBee

Ok, I basically did what you guys said. I settled on what should be good enough. Now I am off to sewing 1/4 inch seams with my new presser foot!

Wish me luck!
Julie

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 12:20AM
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nanajayne

Welcome Julie,
Love having new people who are enthusiastic about learning something new and willing to ask for help and advice.
I don't have anything new to say as much has already been covered but will look forward to hearing more about your adventure.
Jayne

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 1:02AM
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