Designing the Quilt Concert

June 1, 2021

For years Lissa and I have chatted about co-designing a quilt with a base of traditional blocks to be presented as a quilt along, and last year I explored the sampler quilt style with the Sugar and Spice Sampler I made as a 100 day project. With the craziness of the last year finally subsiding, we thought now was a great time to bring you this collaborative project! It’s free to participate, so check out the Quilt Concert intro post for more details!

To start the process I drafted a series of layouts using alternate grid work to embrace our mostly modern style, and we selected our favorite taking into consideration the number and size of blocks and the overall size of the quilt.

Working as a team to create a cohesive design can be challenging, so as we began the block selection process, we set some parameters:

  • Blocks must work in a 6 inch, 12 inch, 18 inch, or 24 inch format without any crazy measurements.
  • Straight seams only (no curves this time around- maybe next time!)
  • No Y-seams or partial seams
  • We didn’t set a color limit at first, but we wanted to stick to 4-6 colors so it would be easy for people to purchase or pull fabric.

We each selected 12-18 blocks that we liked from Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, and then came the hard part- choose which blocks to include. We went through blocks one by one and determined the ideal size or sizes for each. Then we went through each size and picked our favorites to include. In some cases, such as the Fox and Geese block, we added another block to the center to increase the visual interest. For this block the Double T block gives the design a lot of punch.

The rectangular blocks in the quilt are our own designs using similar elements to other blocks in the quilt to maintain continuity. For the initial layouts, the greyscale color placement was dictated by the traditional block color placement. We went into the design process knowing that this placement would ultimately change.

Using grayscale drawings of both the blocks and the quilt layout, we each created a layout that we liked. They were remarkably similar, so landing on a final design went quickly. Through the magic of technology, we screen-shared to work out the final layout.

With final line drawings in hand, we started coloring. This time around I used colorful pens to do initial color experiments.

And then we colored some more. And there was more screen sharing. And we finally arrived at the layout we are using. 

I tend to like using a lot of solids, so I selected my fabrics from some of my favorite Painter’s Palette Solids, and even made up a fabric bundle so you can use the same color scheme!

Lissa is drawn to prints, and met up with our friend Sharon of Color Girl Quilts to select fabric from her shop.

For those of you who love sewing with solids, but weren’t drawn to my original color scheme, I have put together two additional fabric bundles: Lakeside and City Sidewalks.

The Lakeside bundle is a calming yet cheerful combination of blues and greens. 

City Sidewalks is a sharp, modern, monochromatic greyscale version of the quilt.

Have you decided what color scheme you want to try? When you subscribe to Lissa’s or my newsletter, you will receive a coloring sheet so you can plan your quilt design too!

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  • Reply
    Denise Smart
    June 1, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    You can take a screen shot of the coloring sheet, paste it into Windows Paint ( a free program that comes installed on most computers) and color away. Much faster than colored pencils.

    • Reply
      June 1, 2021 at 5:58 pm

      That is a good idea for people downloading the coloring sheet!

      I drew the initial design in AutoCad and ultimately colored it there. Then I made minor adjustments in photoshop. A lot of the time I like to do part of the process by hand. It forces me to slow down a bit and pay attention to aspects of the design that I may not have noticed while looking at it on a screen.

  • Reply
    Kathleen Kingsbury
    June 4, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    Hi — Have you given a list of amounts of fabric needed for this quilt yet? All I have saved so far is the coloring sheet. Maybe I missed something?
    Thank you.

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