Guest blogger: Tamara Serrao, Tamara Kate
This is the first in a 3-part series that will walk you through the steps of creating this quilt yourself, should you so desire. You can download the free instructions and quilt along with us over the next few weeks. Download the instructions from this link:
Session 1: Planning the Quilt – Choosing Colours
If you were at Quilt Canada earlier this summer, you may have seen the Whatever the Weather quilt, front and centre in the Janome Canada booth. I created it to help launch the sewing tote & luggage collection in the booth that I had a hand in designing and that bears my name.
Today we are talking about choosing colours, but first, a bit about how the quilt came to be.
The design process for the quilt went a bit like this: I wanted to echo the colourful bicycle wheels on the bags, so I naturally worked in a circle. To play on the Whatever the Weather theme (and because I love colour so much), I chose to use a whole rainbow of colours for the wheel. To give myself an added challenge, I opted to use only my own fabrics produced over the past 3 years through Michael Miller Fabrics for this part. And finally, I wanted to emulate, but not too literally, the lovely, soft grey fabric of the bags for the quilt ground.
Visually, the quilt top can be broken down as follows:
- 3 rings of 24 coloured triangles each, on neutral ground.
- 2 rings of 24 dark triangles each (which, when placed together form diamonds) also on neutral ground.
- 4 central quarter-circles of neutral ground.
- 24 outer wedges of neutral ground.
COLOUR & FABRICS
Now we get to the fun part, choosing fabrics. And the most fun is obviously working with all that colour, so let’s start there.
RAINBOW RINGS x 3
You need (24 x 3) = 72 different coloured charm squares in total. I chose fabrics of similarly strong value for my 2 outer rings and lighter valued fabrics for my inner ring (because that’s what I had on hand). You could work with stronger, medium and lighter values if you wish, for probably an even more dramatic look.
To achieve a full rainbow, you will need reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues and purples. But to make it a rainbow that really blends together all the way around, you will also need all those “in-between” colours of gold, coral, pink, indigo, turquoise and chartreuse. You really need so little of each fabric, so start raiding your scrap bins.
Once you have lots of pieces pulled, start laying them out in a circle, following the rainbow all the way around, as in the colour wheel above. There will probably be duplicates of some colours. That’s ok. For the moment, keep them together in groups. You will, no doubt, have lighter (or softer) versions of each colour. Place those inside the circle, under the bolder versions, and if you are doing an outer ring that is bolder than the middle ring, place those fabrics to the outside.
Stand back from your rainbow and squint at it. You will start to see where you have gaps in colour transition, and where you will have to make decisions of which fabrics to illuminate due to redundancy. If you look closely at my quilt, I could have used a few more options in the blues, but I didn’t have any so chose to go ahead with it anyway. Not the end of the world. Or you could go on the hunt for those missing colours… just be sure to take samples of the surrounding ones with you.
When you are happy with your choices and layout, I strongly suggest photographing it for memory purposes. It will save lots of frustration later on in the piecing stage.
Create 3 piles of your 24 fabrics, one for each ring. Label the piles accordingly (outer, middle, inner) so that you are sure you are cutting them all to the correct size. Here is everything I chose to work with:
DARK INNER RINGS x 2
Now for the inner dark triangles: I opted for charcoal to be my base colour here, though really any dark neutral would work. Pull together as many fabrics as you can with small-scale prints that all have roughly the same ground colour (a bit of variety keeps it interesting). You only need a total of about a fat quarter of fabric, so pieces
can be fairly small. I had 6 in total that I randomly used around the circle. Put these fabrics aside in a pile.
That last option in the image above was strategically fussy cut for the quilt to just use the squiggle lines.
To have some fun with the ground fabric, I chose to go with fine black-on-white prints and soft grey-and-white prints. This mix keeps things playful and dynamic, though you could also work with a solid neutral fabric all over. Here you will need more fabric, though, so be sure to have roughly 2 metres in total. In my case, I used a bit more than a fat quarter each of 6 different fabrics that I randomly pulled from wherever I needed in the quilt. That’s your last pile of fabric and you are ready to start cutting.
That’s it for today. I will be back next week with the second instalment, “Working with Angles.”
Until then happy rainbow-making!