Random Fabric Selection

Quilt pieces

Last night I finally started cutting into my quilting cottons for the first time, it wasn’t as scary as I’d thought. I figured out that I’d need 40 x 1.5″ strips, 40″ long as per the pattern directions, and 30 charm squares 5″ x 5″. I made 4 piles of the 1.5″x40″ strips and put them into paper bags. I knew that if I attempted to arrange the squares that they’d probably come out looking all the same, I wanted it all to be unpredictable.

Fabric divided

I put all the charm squares into a bag a bag too, the first charm square selected was a cute olive green print I’d picked up in Ottawa with my Mom last weekend. The second, an orange batik I’d purchased at Fabricland a few weeks ago, then a dark blue circle and Laura Gunn Skinny Stripes. These colours and patterns are not what I would have chosen for a block but I continued, determined to stick to my guns.

My first log cabin block.

The second block turned out strange as well, again, not colours and patterns I would have arranged in that order, with oranges on one side of the block and blue/greens on the other.

I continued this way till I’d completed 6 blocks at which point I had to fold and iron laundry. It was very addictive, even after the dryer buzzer went off I wanted to continue, and did, for a few more strips, I wanted to find out what fabric I’d pick out of the bag next. Would I ever end up with two identical blocks? Not likely but not improbable. I have 5 blue, 4 orange, 3 green and one yellow fabric, 13 different fabrics altogether. Is this typical/normal? Should I have chosen more fabrics?

Quilt block #2

It’s supposed to thunderstorm all day tomorrow, DH has his F1 race to watch and I can continue with my quilting adventures… and laundry.

Do you plan every block carefully or do you close your eyes and pick fabrics willy-nilly? If you plan them all, how do you prevent them from all looking the same?


2 thoughts on “Random Fabric Selection

  1. My cousin and I are making our first quilts, and we wanted to spread out the fabrics so that the squares would all be different, but neither of us are the “random” type people. Here is our solution. We make a set of pieces and then kind of “collate” them. There are 4 types of fabric in each square, so, each fabric does each job in one of those squares. Sometimes, we’ll lay out 6 squares, and then the variety is even better. Since we are doing a combination of fat quarters and scrap fabric, none of the squares will be repeated, even if some of the fabrics show up on more than one set of squares. We thought that it would look pretty random, once we had all our squares made and divided them between 2 quilt tops.

  2. It really depends on the look you’re going for. If you want a scrappy/random look, do what you’re doing. With new fabric, I tend to plan more. It also depends on your block or the pattern you’re making. There are values to the fabrics, i.e, light/dark/medium, and depending on how you put them together, sometimes the light areas will pop more and the darks recede. You can also affect the overall look of the quilt by how cool or warm your fabrics are. In your grouping of fabrics, you’ve got some of each.

    When I started making quilts, I didn’t worry about any of that, though. I had a lot of fabric scraps and I made scrappy looking quilts (and love them) with the free quilt patterns, tutorials, and helpful info at quiltville.com.

    Have fun with this method you’re using. I’m very intrigued with what your final quilt will look like!

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