Watercolor Quilting

by: Kathy Somers

Click here for my article about watercolor quilting...

* Did you know that watercolor quilting can be as easy as making a simple nine-patch? It's all in the fabric selection. In my article on watercolor quilting, I have shown what fabrics to look for. For strip-piecing, you merely need to choose slightly smaller, more even patterns to avoid unexpected sections of fabric showing too light or dark. You will also want to buy full widths of fabric, instead of fat quarters.

* Here is an actual scan of a strip-pieced watercolor block, showing fabrics:

* You can actually use any block that you can strip-piece but, for shading purposes, I have found that a block made of 1-1/2" squares works excellently. The 1-1/2" squares seem to blend the best. For this example, I have chosen a 16-patch block (a block made up of 16 squares). You can use larger blocks, but I have found that smaller ones are difficult to shade properly.

* For this block, you will be happiest if you use 16 different fabrics shaded from light to dark. Use the techniques in the Watercolor Quilting article to decide on placement, using 2" squares of each fabric. For this pattern, the object is to shade the block from one corner to the opposite one. When the blocks are sewn together, it produces an effect similar to Attic Windows. If alternated, the blocks will also make shaded diamonds.

* You will need about 1/2 yard of each for a full-size quilt (up to one yard for king). They should be pre-washed, pressed and cut into very accurate 2" strips.

* Using your squares as a guide, sew these strips into four strip sets. These should be pressed in alternating directions (first row left, second row right and sew on). It sometimes helps to starch the strip sets lightly to make them easier to work with.

* Cut the strip sets into 2" wide strips and stack each in their appropriate position. It's important not to get the order mixed up at any stage or your blocks will not shade properly.

* Sew these strips together, allowing the alternating seams to 'lock'. Finger pinning is fine for this if you have pressed your seams properly and starched your strips a bit. Press the seams on every other block up and down on every alternating block.

* Sew your blocks together, placing a block with the seams up next to a block with the seams down. These seams should also 'lock' in place. Press well, add borders, layer and machine quilt over the seams lines to disguise them. The resulting quilt should look like this:

* Or this:

Please send questions, thoughts or suggestions to:

Click here for my article about watercolor quilting...

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