Modern Fat Quarter Quilting
What is Modern Fat Quarter Quilting
Modern fat quarter quilting is all about personalizing your quilt with some different techniques. The word ‘Modern’ is broadly used here to mean non-traditional in quilting terms. Modern fat quarter quilting includes as many or as few different methods you choose to use to create a unique quilt. For me, this means the use of contrast through color, patterns and asymmetrical design elements.
Quilting A Showpiece
Walking through aisles of displayed quilts at a quilt show is incredibly inspirational, to say the least. Sometimes the patterns are traditional blocks made from patterns that date back over a century. Other quilts are contemporary variations of those same patterns. Then looking at modern quilts gives us another glimpse into a completely new style. I marvel at the transition quilting has taken and enjoy seeing the results.
What intrigues me in viewing all these different styles of quilts, is what makes one stand out from others. Do you ever wonder why one quilt will draw your attention more than another? While quilts in my favorite colors of blues & greens always grab my eye, some are so stunning I need a closer look. So, what makes a quilt a showpiece that everyone wants to see more of?
While I don’t profess to have all the answers, there is one special design element that always works for me. My personal quilting journey has evolved tremendously. From the first patchwork class I took over thirty years ago to my current modern style of quilting, I see what works for me and I know it can work for you. Apply this simple concept to your quilting designs and you’ll see some spectacular results.
My Journey into Modern Fat Quarter Quilting
Modern Fat Quarter Quilting
Do you buy fat quarters and precuts more frequently than cut yardage? I certainly do which is why I needed a pattern just for fat quarters! You can check out my personal story and how I collected more than 1,000 fat quarters. It just sort of happened. Well, it took a few years to accumulate them all, but there were some extenuating circumstances, naturally! This abundance of fat quarters inspired me to design a pattern specifically using them. Of course, cut yardage works just as well, but there’s something special about a curated bundle of fat quarters. Don’t you agree?
My ‘All Blocked In’ pattern is intentionally designed to use fat quarters. The goal is to use a group of fat quarters without repeating the same fabric layout in each block. This way each fabric is showcased as a large square in one block and used for smaller areas in the others. Sometimes, cutting up beautiful fabrics can be hard because they can get lost in the mix. This block gives each fabric a place to shine which is what I like best about it.
Making Your Quilt Special
Quilting has been a personal hobby for years. First, I started teaching friends to quilt, then selling my own quilts, and before I knew it quilting became more than a hobby. It truly has become my passion and I want to share what I know with others who want to quilt. The most important lesson I’ve learned in quilting is the use of contrast. Contrast is the element that transforms a pretty quilt into a spectacular quilt. Don’t be afraid to use some bold color and contrast in your designs. The difference will amaze you. It changed my quilting style dramatically and I love it!
When I was quilting and teaching regularly with a group, I realized some of our quilts weren’t as captivating as others. For me, it came down to contrast. Beautiful fabrics and wonderful color combinations make a great quilt, but without enough contrast they just look flat. Ever since, I always use extra fat quarters to bring in some pizazz.
Modern Fat Quarter Quilting with Contrast
How to Quilt with Contrasting Colors
Each of us has a unique approach to starting a new quilt. Color primarily leads my direction in fabric choices. While a specifically planned color scheme may be my guide, color contrast also plays an important role.
My quilts are generally filled with lots of color which can be overwhelming and make a quilt just look too busy. Instead, I’ll bring in pops of color on a small scale. Since I use lots of batiks, there are usually multiple colors in each fabric. I like to pull out a small area of a bold color from one fabric by placing an adjacent fabric filled with that color. They blend well next to each other and the larger, bolder fabric draws more attention, adding some great contrasting interest.
How to Quilt with Contrasting Patterns
Fabric patterns become a contrasting element when varying their style, scale and density in your selection. Combining different patterns adds so much interest, but there needs to be a good balance. Use both large and small prints, heavy and thin lines, and ensure some open background is visible for the viewer to rest their eyes.
A couple of my quilts above are more modern using bold, graphic patterns and designs in black and white. Some are organic meandering patterns, while others are very strong and angular graphics. Also notice the variation in the density of the fabric patterns with either more visible background or close, tight graphics reducing the background area. Mixing these patterns together with balance make for a very dynamic contrast that holds the viewer’s eye just a bit longer as they look more closely at what they see.
How to Quilt with Asymmetrical Blocks
None of my recent quilts are made with traditional blocks that repeat throughout a quilt top placed in the same manner. Instead, I prefer asymmetrical blocks with unequal proportions. These blocks add contrast simply by their design. I especially like undiscernible blocks turned in varying directions that makes the viewer look and find the block I use.
I really like blocks that are asymmetrical and even a bit wonky. Not every seam has to be perfectly angled the same in each block. Getting a bit of an improv feel can be lots of fun and add some great contrast. Whether you use little corners here and there or add a wonky star just for interest. Stepping outside the box can add some fantastic contrast in your quilt making it not only unique, but a more personal representation of you .
Make Modern Fat Quarter Quilts
Fabulous Fat Quarters
I love fat quarters because they are small enough to justify buying a few, yet large enough to impact a pieced quilt. They can provide a beautiful shaded array of your focal color or be blenders that bring all your colors together. Whatever your reason is to purchase fat quarters, don’t forget to use them and enjoy the beauty they will bring to your quilts.
Do you already have a quilt in mind when you select your fabric? Or are you more driven by the fabulous fabric you just bought and can’t wait to get started quilting? Well, either way you’re beginning with the right pattern. The ‘All Blocked In’ pattern is a winner and is perfect for so many different styles of fabrics. It works great for modern graphic prints, traditional fabrics, and bold batiks. You’ll see in my quilts below that I’ve used a combo of all the above.
Black, White & BOLD!
Here are some suggestions to think about while you’re planning your next quilt. This graphic black & white baby quilt has a wonderful modern look and highlights the fun design elements of this pattern. You can see the color contrast with a single bold batik and pattern contrast between the black and white fabrics. The narrow accent strips in each block enhances the asymmetrical design while adding a bold contrast to make these blocks pop. So be sure to keep contrast in mind. That’s my favorite component of this pattern.
Low Volume & Batik Fabrics
This low volume & batik quilt is a gorgeous, soft floral. With just enough color and pattern contrast, it carries the color scheme across the quilt top nicely. I love how the low volume prints bring in subtle color that plays off the bold batik design. This is a perfect way to carry a specific color scheme across your whole quilt top.
Modern Fat Quarter Quilting On-Point
If you’re up for a wild adventure, give this on-point version a try. Quilting on-point dramatically changes the look of most patchwork blocks as it certainly does here. This is probably my favorite version so far. The combination of the fabulous modern floral prints and the graphic black & white batiks are a dynamic duo. This quilt just screams to be looked at.
Final Note on Fabric Selection
These suggestions may not make your fabric choice any easier but will get you on the right track once you get started. If you’re not sure what fabric to use, choose a great print to set you color scheme. That’s my favorite starting point. With a beautiful focal print in hand, I just start grabbing fat quarters that work with it and provide some great contrast. Before I know it, there’s a stack of fantastic choices to decide on.
I’m excited for you to download my updated ‘All Blocked In’ pattern. It includes all three quilt variations mentioned above. I’m anxious to see what you design. Please be sure to post your fabric selections, blocks or finished quilts to Instagram #allblockedinfreequiltpattern.