Welcome guest blogger and quilt designer Janice Averill! Janice’s “jelly roll” quilt, Nutmeg & Cinnamon, is patterned in the new July/August 2015 issue of McCall’s Quilting. Read on, and don’t miss the fabric giveaway at the bottom of the page!
My inspiration for this design was a linked doormat that I saw somewhere in my travels. I made a quick sketch of the doormat and let the drawing develop in my mind into an idea for a block or a quilt. When I felt like I had something more to work with I sat down at my computer and played around with the idea using my Electric Quilt design software. I find this program is extremely useful in helping me to successfully develop my ideas. My sketchbook is the most important tool of all. I carry a small one with me in my purse and bring out my quad ruled sketch book for doctor visits and other anticipated long waits.
I decided this design would make a great project for precut strips. I also started to think about the possibility of making this quilt using only one package of 40 precut 2 ½” strips. There are many precut quilt patterns that require many yards of a single fabric to tie the strip collection together. I find this frustrating as I already bought the precut strip package and most of my stash is ½ yard cuts. It would be nice to be able to complete a quilt design using only the precut package and maybe some fabric from my stash for a border and a binding. I thought this was a great challenge and decided to proceed.
I knew right away that it had to be a small quilt because of the limitations of the fabric quantity. I drafted the block in dimensions that would work with 2 ½” strips. I colored it with a grayscale of values. I decided upon a layout and added the blocks.
I liked what I saw and rotated the blocks to see how it would look and I really liked the result.
Next I colored the quilt in using solid colors. I picked colors to represent the units in the block. I picked orange and yellow for half of the long units and teal and green for the other half. That helped me to see the individual strips better in the blocks. I then chose a group of violet hues for the medium sized units and pink hues for the small units.
Now that I had the quilt drafted and solid colors put in place, it was time to prepare the fabric collection for replacing the solid fabrics. First I made a screen shot of the fabric file that I wished to use. I chose the Timeless Treasures Tonga Spice Market collection. The precut fabric packs of Tonga batiks are called Tonga Treats!
Then I upload it into my photo editing program so that I could change the image to black and white values.
You can also do this by opening the entire file as a photo contact sheet and then printing a copy using “black ink only” or “grayscale” in your printer settings. If I can see how they relate in grayscale it makes it easy to sort the fabrics in EQ by value.
After that step, I upload the fabric collection into my EQ program and then sort it out referencing my black and white copy of the fabric collection.
Next I draft a strip quilt with blocks measuring 4”x 2” and as many blocks as I have of fabric swatches. I fill in the blocks with the fabrics, as sorted, by value. Next I import this into my photo editing program for a look at it in grayscale. This step will either confirm my choices or show me what fabrics I need to switch around.
For this design I had to sort the collection into three groups of values; light, medium, and dark. I counted how many fabrics I had of each value. The value that had the most fabrics was used for the unit that has the most or largest pieces. Conversely, the value that had the least fabrics was used for the unit that had the least or smallest pieces. Now that I had everything sorted out, it was time to swap the solid colors for fabric.
When I originally did the math, I thought I had achieved the goal of using only one 40 strip Tonga Treat precut package to make the center of this quilt design. Alas, I was shy 4 strips of completing all 12 blocks. But that’s not a lot of fabric to look for in my stash. Plus I’m pretty sure that I have at least that much of any fabric in my stash that might work as a coordinate to the fabric in the precut package. For the quilt that appears in the magazine I used just the fabrics in the Tonga Treat precut strips from Timeless Treasures in the required yardages.
Depending on the selection of values found in your precut strip package, you may need extra lights, mediums, or darks. If you can’t find any fabric in your stash in the value you need, then it’s time to take stock of your buying style. The next time you buy fabric try and make sure it’s in the values that are missing from your stash. We’re all guilty of it. That’s why you need to assess your stash and expand your fabric palette.
Thanks, Janice! If you’d like to make your own Nutmeg & Cinnamon lap quilt, quilt kits are available for preorder in our online shop, as well as coordinating backing fabric. If you’d like to use your own fabric and don’t already have a copy of the July/August issue of McCall’s Quilting, you can order a print or digital copy. The pattern is also available as an instant digital download.
We also have a FREE pattern for a queen size version of Nutmeg & Cinnamon. Download your free pattern here!
Janice is blogging about auditioning fabrics for this quilt design on her own blog. Read more here! And leave a comment below before midnight June 30 to be entered into our random drawing for a Tonga Treat precut strip pack. The winning name will be drawn on July 1 and notified by email. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents, excluding Quebec.