Today we are going to talk about the details of fabric selection for the Penny Quilt Pattern - prints, solids, scale, value, etc. and getting a good balance for your quilt. I'm going to work through some potential questions that you might have and give you some examples of what I think will work best for the pattern.
Just a reminder - there is no quilting police and I do not believe in quilting rules. I am giving you some guidelines here, but you have got to make the quilt that you want to make.
Can you mix prints and solids?
Absolutely! If you are working with a collection (or just pulling from your stash!) and don't have quite enough fabrics, mix in a solid or two (or a coordinating basic print).
The quilt below uses the collection More Pie? by Dana Willard for Figo Fabrics (not available until next year but I'm really excited about it so I'm using it for the mockup). The collection does not have enough prints for the pattern, but I have used a combination of Figo's basic prints and solids to round out the collection so that it will work.
Can you use large scale prints in this collection?
Yes! Because the fabric isn't being cut into tiny pieces, large scale prints actually work really well in this pattern. I would make sure to have a mix of larger scale prints and small scale prints or solids though because too many large scale prints can be overwhelming.
See how this quilt uses the larger scale floral and butterfly prints, then some more mid-scale, and some tiny prints? This helps to differentiate the fabrics from each other and helps the quilt feel more balanced.
How does value play a roll in the quilt?
This is really up to you. In my opinion, the quilt works best when there is a variety of value. You want some fabrics that are darker and some that are lighter and lots in between and you want to evenly distribute them through the quilt. One caveat though - make sure that your fabrics all stand out from your sashing fabric (Fabric D) so they don't blend in.
See how in the Five + Ten version of the quilt that I made, there are some white fabrics? I made the decision to use a light gray for my Fabric D instead of white to make sure these stand out. There isn't a huge difference between the gray and the white, but it is enough that you can see the difference in the quilt.
You could definitely make a version that used all dark valued fabrics or all light valued fabrics - just make sure that your Fabric D stands out. This would actually be really fun to make a low-volume quilt and then use a dark fabric for the sashing.
Can I make an all-solids version?
Absolutely and this is on my to-make-someday list. I wish I had time during the QAL.
Using all-solids is really fun - in this mockup, I used lighter shades of a solid for Fabric A and then a little darker for Fabric B and then darkest for Fabric C.
Can I make a rainbow version?
The better question here is: would Erica write a pattern that couldn't be made as a rainbow version? Of course you can! It will require cutting from a lot of different fabrics and you will need to follow the instructions for making the pattern fat quarter friendly that I will be sending out soon through the email list.
How do I make sure my fabric choices aren't a disaster?
In some patterns, thinking about value, shade, scale, etc. is super important but this is not one of those patterns. One of the great things about the Penny Quilt
is that it can pretty much take whatever you throw at it. Could you make it look ugly? I guess - but is there really such a thing as an ugly quilt?
I made this mockup in about 2 minutes using random fabrics I just had loaded up without paying attention to any of those factors. There are prints and solids from a variety of collections and manufacturers. Am I dying to make this version of the quilt? Not really, but is it a total disaster? No, it is fun and scrappy.
My point is - don't stress too much. I do highly recommend doing a little planning and downloading the coloring sheet
to plan your fabrics a little bit. You may make changes as you make your quilt, but it is a fun exercise.