BIts & Pieces Quilt “Design Process”

January 17, 2015 Design, Journal

Recently I decided to update my “Bits & Pieces” using Carolyn Friedlander’s Doe collection from Robert Kaufman fabrics. I saw this collection in one of my favorite quilt stores On Board Fabrics and had to have it. The original pattern has a solid white background around the scrappy strips and it is bordered by shot cotton in a medium denim blue. With the new fabrics I wanted to see this quilt done in all prints. Determined to use all 25 fabrics, a pieced back would also need to be designed and included in the next print of the pattern.

After laying out all the fabric, 20 were selected to be used in the scrappy strips, and the two “tone on tone” whites would be the background. The black and tan triangle print was used as the borders. This could be a little tricky since it is so graphic and bold but at the same time the contrast with all the scrappy strips was perfect and the colors of this fabric surprisingly neutral.

Twenty of the fabrics were divided into 2 piles of ten each and cut into strips according to the pattern directions. They were then rearranged a 2nd time making sure that the fabrics were mixed so they did not appear in the same spot on the strips. Repeating this process two more times gave me 8 different combinations in two different widths. When I turned the cut strips upside down I doubled the diversity.

The strips were arranged in a kind of controlled chaos taking care not to repeat the same strips. The pattern was laid out, making sure that the colors that really popped like the orange and navy blue were spread out. The resulting pattern was random and pleasing to the eye.

If you are counting – that means that 23 of the fabrics would be on the front of the quilt – now to design the back. The background fabric of the back is the tan tone on tone. I had saved this for the back because it was neutral and light and would allow the others to contrast nicely.

On to designing the back!  With tea and graph paper in hand I started sketching, immediately what came into my head was the old quilting pattern Churn Dash. But not your traditional Churn Dash. Using 9 blocks and 4 different sizes, the Churn Dash were arranged asymmetrically across the graph paper.  From the graph paper it was off to the computer to fine tune the design.

Back to the cutting mat!  Nine fabrics were chosen for the churn dash including the last remaining unused fabric of the collection. All the churn dash’s were cut and pieced – background cut and it all came together.

The completed quilt will be on display at QuiltCon Booth #815! The completed pattern – front and back available in March. Did I mention I am going to QuiltCon?