Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Busy Blocks: Choosing Fabric

Choosing a pattern for my first project wasn't the easiest task. Along with a couple simple quilt patterns (like the classic beginner's quilt Rail Fence), Kathy ordered the book Modern Baby for me to peruse. Of the fourteen patterns, I fell in love with, umm, most all of 'em. Designed by a bunch of different pattern designers and bloggers, the quilts are all pretty modern, fresh takes on classic quilt blocks. What really got me was that all of the quilts are small so it's not "too much" for my first project. I mean, I can't imagine I'm going to have "quilter's regret" or "quilting fatigue" on my first go-round, but why chance it, right?

I'm lovin' the whimsy of the cover quilt, Bubbles, by Dana Bolyard.
Some of the quilts would be a little challenging for a newbie, but Kathy okayed one of my faves, the very first pattern in the book, Busy Blocks. Shea Henderson's simple (but sooo not boring) design caught my eye immediately, so I was giddy when it became a contender.

Photo Credit: Checker Distributors
Since it's nothing but squares and half-square triangles, I'll only have to worry about using two rulers—Kathy's go-to quilting ruler, Creative Grids USA's 6-1/2''-by-18-1/2'', and their quarter-square/half-square triangle ruler, Multi-Size 45 Degree/90 Degree Triangle Ruler.

Now, compared to choosing fabric, picking a pattern was cake. I meandered around The QP, pulling bolt after bolt until I had three or four different colorways piled chaotically on one of the cutting tables. One hour and one bored baby later, I had zip, zero, notta.

Eddie resorted to playing with a (well-attached!) stray thread on a dino-filled sample while I buzzed around the lower floor.
Having seen quilters in my predicament time and time again, Kathy suggested I pick out just one fabric. Starting in the purples (since I love me some eggplant), I pulled a violet dot by Robert Kaufman.  Along with the idea to have four main colors instead of two, a teal Michael Miller joined up and snowballed the rest of the color-picking process.

I ended up with cantaloupe orange, bright red, teal and violet as the primary colors (for the main parts of the "hexagons"). Choosing the fabric for the inner squares was easy and, to tell you the truth, a bit of a relief. The QP has over 7,000 bolts of fabric and it's a bit overwhelming (for a newbie, at least) to pick just 8 prints. I questioned my choices nearly the whole time with questions like What if this isn't the right shade of teal?, What if I change my mind after I cut it up?, What about turquoise?, and Is this teal-y enough?

The secondary fabrics that make up the inner blocks won't touch any of the other secondaries.
Kathy helped keep the (crazy) second-guessing voices at bay long enough for me to cut the yardage I need. By the time I was done rotary cutting and the fabric was neatly folded, I was (and still am!) loving my fabric choices . . . and only slightly rethinking the big red-and-white stripe.

When you pick fabric for a quilt, do you typically bring a friend for a moral support/a second opinion/a shoulder to cry on?


  1. So glad I found your blog. You're starting off on a wonderful adventure and I'm sure you're going to love it. Listen to your mother-in-law, she knows what she's doing. lol

    I've tried to set up the e-mail function for your blog but it keeps telling me that you haven't enabled it yet. I'll try again later. Can't wait to see how your quilt turns out.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Carol!

      I tested the subscription function and it worked for me, but I'll mess around with it and see why it's being so fussy for you.