Meet guest blogger, quilt designer, and teacher Diane Nagle of Peddlecar Quilts. Read on and don’t miss the fabulous fabric giveaway contest at the bottom of the article.
One of my favorite design techniques is to make a quilt using blocks that form a secondary pattern. Sometimes something as simple as adding setting triangles to an on-point design that continue elements of the blocks inside the quilt can really transform a quilt’s appearance.
In my Candy Box quilt (patterned in the May/June 2015 issue of McCall’s Quilting), blocks are set horizontally, and using two different blocks that continue a line or unit makes the overall appearance seem to blend into a new image of a block that really is not there when separated from each other.
This design trick can also give you so many more options because you are not limited to seeing just what is in one quilt block. The hexagon blocks in Candy Box appear to have a frame on point around them, which gives the appearance of an on-point quilt construction when it is actually alternating blocks sewn in horizontal rows. That also means it is a lot easier to sew together than meets the eye!
Because I design quilts for fabric companies, I usually work within a line of fabric, so they all end up blending and working well together. But don’t hesitate to try a scrappy look with your fabric stash or fabrics that speak to you. Keep in mind a variety of values and print scale, and keep the style or “feel” of the fabrics similar so they work well with each other. Once in a while it’s a good idea to throw in a surprise color or print (used sparingly) to give the quilt a little zing. Use a design wall as you work, to give yourself a way to spot placement of colors and fabric prints throughout the quilt and keep it balanced when you are doing a scrappy effect. Candy Box has a scrappy look within the same line simply because so many prints were available and I used them all! Many times a solid background (in any color that coordinates) will give the eye a place to rest and keep your quilt from looking too busy and running together. The white background here helps to break up and enhance the beautiful fabrics, from the Bon Bon Bebe collection by Robyn Pandolph for RJR Fabrics.
I design using EQ7, which I have been using since EQ5 was available. I have taught classes on the software because its possibilities are so endless and will advance a person’s ability to create new concepts in design. I find it easy to use, and a much faster way to rework your stages of a quilt design with quick changes at the click of a tool. Fabrics can instantly be switched around, design elements in a block can be changed, and sizes can be altered immediately. I can’t wait to see what EQ may do next in future versions to make quilt design continue to evolve. And the best part is, you can save your designs and go back to them later to re-tweak and recreate the design with new fabrics, colors, and totally change the whole look. Add a sashing, change the number of rows, or alter one of the blocks. You will amaze yourself!
Great design tips, Diane! And thanks to the folks at RJR Fabrics, we are giving away 3 luscious, large fat quarter packs of the Bon Bon Bebe collection by Robyn Pandolph!
Leave a comment below before midnight May 7, 2015 and you’ll be entered into our random drawing. Three names will be drawn on May 8 and notified by email. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents, excluding Quebec.
We have our winners! Congratulations to Paulette Jensen of Bristol, Virginia; Jeanne Baumann of Marquette, Michigan; and Arphalyne Helbing of Baraboo, Wisconsin.
If you don’t already have a copy of our May/June issue, you can order print and digital magazines in our online shop. The Candy Box quilt pattern is also available separately as an instant digital download. And there are still a few Candy Box quilt kits and backing fabric packs available, too!