The Beauty of a Limited Palette - Ice Cream Soda Quilt

Sometimes you need to make a quilt in three colours. Instead of making lots of decisions for each block, spending time pondering fabric options, cutting and basting (only to have some not turn out like you hoped), and learning from the experience, you need to just make one block over and over again. That's exactly what I needed for this Ice Cream Soda Quilt

Ice Cream Soda quilt

Different Types of Quilt Making

Sometimes quilts are for total engagement. You enjoy the challenge and creative exploration of putting different colours together, and you find new ways to fussy cut your stash to bring out the best in the fabrics and the quilt block. You take your time processing, making decisions, growing your quilt carefully. I love those quilts. They are made over a longer period of time, carry with them all the memories and hopes and changes of that season, and they're often my favourite once finished.

Sometimes, though, I find myself longing for the same block over and over. One decision made for the whole quilt, one day of cutting everything, a couple of days for basting, and then stitching without thought. 

Actually, I shouldn't say without thought. Often, I need these quilts precisely because my brain is full of thoughts. I'm trying to decide how I want to shape my new EPP  club, or I feel too busy but I'm not sure what to let go, or perhaps my family needs extra attention. Whatever the reason, I love the way a simple, repetitive quilt gives me the space to keep making, keep my hands busy while my mind either wanders, or focuses on something else entirely. 

basted Ice Cream Soda quilt

How to Choose Fabric for a Limited Palette

For this large version of Ice Cream Soda quilt, I dug through my stash first to see what yardage I had of different colours. I was happy to bring in other prints, but I wanted a couple of print staples that I could cut most of my shapes from. Once I'd chosen the rust for the stars, a pale pink for the kites, and the warm pink/plum for the crowns, I started to bring in other prints to add a little movement and interest to the quilt.

I started cutting from smaller pieces of fabric first, and once I'd cut one or two block's worth from each print, I calculated how many shapes were left to cut from the main prints.

I then used my handy cutting guide to work out how much fabric I needed, cut several strips for each shape, and then cut those strips to size.

I basted all the shapes in one long session and then mixed and matched the basted shapes into ziplock bags of prepared blocks. I think it took me about three days on and off to have all the block prepped for the whole quilt.  

Ice Cream Soda quilt

I gave half the blocks to my mum, and then we revelled in the stitching. Such easy progress!

I often feel compelled to make rich, scrappy versions of all my quilts because they're so ‘me’, but I think I'm going to embrace the simple and easy 2-3 colour palette more often. I love making a quilt where the guiding decision was made first and all that's left to do is sew. 

Once the top was constructed, I continued along my simple path, choosing one of the front prints for the backing, machine quilting simple, straight lines, and then binding with rust. 

Jodi quilting Ice Cream Soda quilt
Ice Cream Soda Large
Ice Cream Soda quilt

Want to give Ice Cream Soda quilt a try?

Now that I've finished, I definitely don't have the same feelings for it that I do for my original, which took over a year and carried me through massive change. But not all quilts have to be so weighty, even if they are hand-stitched. The more EPP quilts I make, the more convinced I am that quilts can serve all kinds of purposes, from helping us grieve or walk through change, to teaching us about print and colour, to just being something mindless and fun. And for mindless and fun, this quilt was perfect. 

Ice Cream Soda quilt is our quilt club for 2024, and my focus is making a quilt that meets you in the season you find yourself. Whether you're busy and stretched, or open to a new challenge, Ice Cream Soda quilt can be the perfect travel companion. Join us below!


  • Peggy

    My Goodness, Jodi! This quilt is PERFECTION. You’ve not just put together a gorgeous quilt in one of my favorite color palettes, but using my favorite EPP quilt pattern. Not that I have any experience with making an entire EPP quilt, but I will have soon! Joining the Ice Cream Soda QAL has me so excited! And you’ve inspired me to maybe choose a 3 color palette very similar to this one ;) instead of the full-on scrap-fest that I was planning. I’m hoping this quilt will carry me thru what’s going to be a rough year ahead, much like your first ICSQ did. And I agree with Cathy’s sentiment above. Your writing is so fluid and beautiful. Always look forward to your newsletters and blog posts! Ok I’ll shut up now. 😆

  • Cathy

    I adore your writing style and seem to share the same feelings you express so eloquently in the emails you send out. Savour the moments in your utopia!

  • Tammy

    This is perfect! And while I am ( still enjoying my Hexie Harvest quilt, life is so hectic that I find picking fabrics a bit overwhelming at times. So your sentiments agree with this season of my life right now. Thanks for all your inspiration!

  • Joan

    What a wonderful color adventure this quilt is. Same-same but different! Looking forward to seeing more of these! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.