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.
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.
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.
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.