I don’t know what your favorite part of a project is, but I LOVE the fabric pull stage. My mind is full of possibilities and going thru the cubbies of fabrics, looking for the perfect ones, is SO…..MUCH……FUN!!

Yesterday’s event was even more fun because I watched my friend Marnie pull fabric for a quilt. Making it even nicer is that this quilt will be a Christmas gift for her friend Mike.


The quilt that she is making will use Laura Heine Guitar Collage…..

This design calls for numerous solid/”reads-as-solid” fabrics for the background and then lots of fussy-cut pieces added as embellishments.

Marnie threw herself into the assignment of choosing fabrics….

….pulling whites, blues, greens, oranges and …..TONS of possible embellishment fabrics.

As she searched, I cleared the cutting table…..

….and covered it with a neutral-colored fabric…..

As much as I like my purple cutting mat, it doesn’t do ANYTHING for helping to discern the true color of the fabrics!!

Marnie picked 8 to 10 fabrics in each color category and LOTS of possible embellishment fabrics. We spread them out to have a look…..

Now it was time to look at each color group and winnow down the options. The whites were the easiest to do so we started with those…..

As we went, Marnie learned how to place the fabrics in succession so that one flowed into the next…..

We now had all of the fabrics selected……

….and could start on the layout process.

It is going to be a great journey. Be sure to come back next week for more!!!

Picking fabrics…a love/hate relationship!!

In the next few weeks, I am starting a new series called “Twelve ways to quilt a Sawtooth Star”. I am super excited about this and have been madly working on quilting designs but FIRST, I need to make a quilt top!!

These were my thoughts as I spent over an hour trying to pick fabrics…….

Since I didn’t have a plan for this quilt, I decided to use a paint color palette to pick my fabrics. I also had two fabrics that I was enjoying so picked a palette to go with them…..

I added a few more fabrics…..

But, as I looked at it, I simply couldn’t wrap my head around how this was going to be a pretty quilt!!

Then I came across THIS palette…..

Now THOSE colors speak to me!!!

I picked my first set of colors…..

….thinking that I was done.

But, what if I added this fun fabric…..

Of course, that would mean that I needed to add some darker blues to the mix.

How about this one…..

I liked that, but if I am using the quilt to highlight FMQ, maybe it shouldn’t be such a dense print!!

Next was this one…..

That might work, but the yellow is a bit too bright!! And, if I am using a yellow for the inside of the stars, I probably don’t need the two yellows in the center!!

This is better. Yellow print for the inside of the stars, solids for the star points, and beige for the background…….

But as I started cutting the background (beige) fabric, I realized that I didn’t have enough……ARGH!!!!!

So, what if I split the yellows up into two different fabrics, and maybe add a border/sash fabric…..

AT LAST!!!!!!!

The fabrics are cut and ready to sew……

I think that I am going to LOVE this colorway!!

Do you go thru this process when you pick fabrics? It was frustrating at times but I am truly happy with what I ended up with!!!

Learning about Jelly Rolls

I had made it thru 3 days at the International Quilt Festival without buying any fabric!!

On the last day, at the very last booth we visited, this Jelly roll just jumped out and grabbed me…..

The colors were so vibrant and I just knew that I could make a fun quilt with it!!

I found a pattern that I liked (more to come about that), opened the roll, and started fondling the fabric. The first thing that I noticed was tons of schmutz showing up on my cutting board….

I realized that this was coming from the pinked edges of the strips and I was NOT amused!! Although, I should have realized what was going on when I moved the roll from the background fabric….

Now I started wondering exactly how wide this strip was. I was surprised to find that from outside edge to outside edge, it was 2-5/8- inches…..NOT 2-1/2-inches!!

I knew that the 1/8-inch would make a big difference with the piecing.


Should I try to adjust my seam allowance to make up for the difference or should I recut all 40 of the strips??

Since I am already struggling with keeping my seam allowance consistent, I decided that I needed to recut them. I was thankful for the Accu-Quilt machine which made it much easier to cut two strips at a time…..

I know that I could have cut many more at one time, but it was too important to get the strips PERFECTLY in line and I could only do that in groups of two!!

Each cut left a small string of fabric and a bit more schmutz….

Eventually, they were all cut, leaving 40, perfect 2-1/2-inch strips AND a pretty pile of leftovers..

I really haven’t worked much with precuts and especially not jelly rolls, and I have these questions for you……

  • Is it normal for the “pinked” edge strips to be oversize??
  • Do you recut or adjust your seam allowance, or do you just not worry about it??

Thanks for any feedback. I am truly perplexed!!

Kew Quilt – Fabric Selection

Okay….pattern is made. Now comes the fun part of choosing colors. I will say again that it is so sweet to be able to see all of my fabric at one time…..

….especially those that don’t fit naturally into one color family.

When I was telling my friend Linda about my ideas for this quilt, I said that it was going to be abstract with bright colors. But, as I thought more about it, I just wasn’t sure. Here are some of the questions that went thru my mind…..

  • Make it abstract with colors?
  • Solids or prints?
  • “Crazy” print in the windows?
  • Gradation colors coming up the sides?
  • Gradations in “steps”?
  • Gradations in “windows”?

As I pondered the last two questions, I came to a decision that I really wanted to do gradations in the steps and windows. As I looked further at the design, my resolve became even firmer AND I decided that I wanted to keep the center section in blacks and greys. I can always add some color to the outside rigging, making long strings of color….but that decision can wait!!

Now I needed to put together the gradations of blacks and greys. I started with grey and made a layout of what I “thought” was a good gradation…..

Normally, I would look thru these with my value finder….

….but for some reason it has gone missing!!!

Instead, I took the above photo and edited it to black and white…..

Okay….I see a few that need to be moved.

After repeating this procedure several times, I came up with a decent gradation…..

Next, I did the same thing with the blacks…..

Since the gradation will be from light to dark with BOTH sets of fabrics, I needed to put them side by side to see how they looked…..

The final step was to use the Q-Pins (that I reviewed HERE) to mark the fabrics so that I can keep them in the correct order…..

NOW comes the REALLY fun part…..how am I going to put this top together???