Last week we started talking about scale in quilts and fabrics. That first post had basic information you’ll want to know.
There’s a little trick when it comes to using large-scale fabrics in small patches so I want to share that with you today.
This comes in handy when you have a fabric with the perfect colors for your project, but the patches are small, and the scale of the fabric is large.
Or maybe you just have some fabric that you want to use up. Perhaps you’re making a quilt with Baby Windmills, like this:
Baby Windmills are made from small patches, cut 1.5″ x 2.5″. (Free pattern here.) The fabric with the perfect colors has large flowers on it:
You can see that each flower is about the size of my hand.
How does that translate into patches that are only 1.5″ x 2.5″?
I cut a few 2.5″ strips of fabric from selvage to selvage, then subcut them into patches 1.5″ x 2.5″.
At this point the patches don’t look like they are going to work at all. They look like distant relatives, if they’re related at all. Pull a few randomly and make a block and…not so great.
The background patches don’t seem to be closely related.
But try this instead: Start sorting them into groups, putting patches with similar qualities together.
Pretty soon you have sets of “matching” patches.
Now they look like siblings—as if they belong together in a family.
Use patches from each group to make some blocks.
Now the background patches hold together. Their clear relationship helps the block tell its story.
Put the blocks together…
…and you have the start of a great little Baby Windmills quilt. It’s almost as if the background fabric serves as several different prints. It’s like a bonus!
You have conquered the problem of large-scale fabrics in small patches. Just like magic!