There are several challenges in making a quilt: 1) Finding or designing a pattern, 2) Finding enough fabrics for the pattern chosen and 3) the quilt design and quilting. Many times at the Big Box Fabric Store, I usually seem to find only 3-4 fabrics. At the specialty Quilt Fabric shops, I usually find 5-6 fabrics. Online Quilt Shops, like Hawthorne Threads will carry the entire collection from a fabric designer with a varied number of fabrics depending on the collection.
Of course, there is always the challenge when you fall in love with a single fabric, both design and color and you can only seem to find two additional coordinating fabrics to go with it. So now the next task is to find a quilt pattern, one for a man and one for a woman, that uses only 3-4 fabrics. You would think I would find the pattern first, then the fabric. Not a chance!
Low and behold I found the most awesome YouTube video by Missouri Star Quilt Co looking for three fabric patterns online. Jenny demonstrated a unique technique of creating a new block using two rail blocks. She had originally designed a pinwheel block from a rail block but this demonstration was amazing and was showcased by 3 Dudes Quilting in Phoenix, Arizona.
Make two rail blocks, Fabrics A, B, C, D (top to bottom). Each strip is 2 1/2″ x 8 1/2″. Lay the blocks, right sides together, with rails going in opposite directions.
Sew 1/4″ seam around the perimeter and cut diagonally from opposing corners. Here are some of the different patterns you can create depending on which corner are set in the center of the new block.
Here are some of the things that I learned trying this technique.
1) Iron the seams for each block in the opposite direction to reduce bulk
2) Make Fabric A and Fabric D the same to create a square where all four sides are the same fabric.
3) The final seam sewn is the most difficult because of the bias edges.
4) Using large, varied patterns can present some unpredictable designs with varied symmetry.
Here is the finished block!
I also practiced with 2 1/2″ by 6 1/2″ strips. I tried it with just two fabrics and also with three fabrics.
Now the challenge is to pick the one to use from all the choices since I love them all!