If you’ve ever missed a business meeting only to discover that you’ve been given a job “in absentia,” then you’ve got an inkling of how Brenda Shreve of APQS Oklahoma felt after having to miss the statewide quilt shop hop meeting during the fabric selection process!
Participating shops across Oklahoma each were to create an original pattern for shop hoppers to collect as they traveled across the state. The group chose a lovely line of ombre fabrics called “Gelato” as its theme fabric, which features shading gradations that move from dark to light and dark again across the fabric. Some colorways in the fabric line stay within a single color family, while others cross multiple shades such as from deep violet to bright yellow and back again.
During the meeting, shops lined up and selected their colorways in a first-come, first-served process. Brenda missed out on both her first- and second-choice fabrics, ending up with the blue-to-green selection. Admittedly it was not her favorite in the beginning, but she grew to love it as she worked on designing a pattern that would showcase how versatile ombre fabric can be, even when presenting some unique challenges.
Like many quilters, Brenda is frugal with her fabric and doesn’t like to waste it if she can help it. As she auditioned different quilt design options she struggled with how much wasted fabric each option presented. She created many patterns before she finally came up with a pattern that is both a fabric saver and a time saver!
Brenda used the “snip and rip” method to separate the colorways into single blocks of color. She snipped the fabric between each color change, then ripped the fabric along the lengthwise grain of the fabric. With this method and her clever pattern, the only waste was a bit of fabric near those selvage edges. Next Brenda pressed the torn strips to eliminate the ruffled edges, and then she stacked strips in different orders to construct half-square triangles and squares that became her design building blocks.
The size of her half-square triangles and squares was determined by the color strip width in Brenda’s fabric. Each strip measured around 3 inches wide, so she began by cutting 3-inch squares from her color strips. She layered those according to the pattern and constructed half-square triangles that she later trimmed to 2-1/2-inch blocks using the Quilt in a Day half-square triangle ruler. She also used some solid squares in her design to create a stunning, radiant starburst.
Lots of different ombre gradated fabrics are available today, and Brenda’s pattern is easily adaptable to them. Simply open your fabric selvage to selvage so that you can see the entire colorway, and then measure your color bar widths.
Decide how wide you would like your strips based on that measurement, then snip and rip along the lengthwise grain for perfectly straight pieces.
It’s easy to change it up after the blocks are made by simply rotating the blocks while still keeping them in their positions on the design layout grid. (A flannel design wall or even a flannel-backed plastic table cloth works well for experimentation.) Brenda used her APQS Quilt Path automated quilting system to finish her quilt.