Friday, August 19, 2016

 I found this small top while I was cleaning up the work room, made  a while ago when I was thinking about two colour quilts. I've attempted to work using just two colours before, but I always made things scrappy; lots of blues, lots of pinks or reds or browns instead of one fabric. I felt the tedium of cutting and sewing with just two main colours would be more than I could take. But I also love the simplicity of two fabrics, the pattern can really take centre stage. There are some gorgeous antique examples, surely I could grit my teeth and limit myself to a background and ONE contrasting fabric?

Hence the small quilt, just to see if I could do it. Surprisingly I didn't find it boring at all. The pressing of two larger pieces of fabric instead of multiple smaller ones seemed easier and the cutting went quickly. There were no decisions to make about what to put where, I just had to pick up each piece and sew. It was almost zen-like in it's simplicity and repetition.

Another advantage that I hadn't thought of was that I could begin setting the blocks together straight away. When I make scrap quilts I always do a pile of blocks, then lay them out to see whether I've got the colour and tone balance that I need. I never sew them together until I've finished all the blocks because I want to make sure that the fabrics are distributed around the top in a pleasing manner. Don't want all those darker blocks on one side, or the same fabrics touching!

With only two fabrics you can start setting blocks together straight away and build the rows on the design wall from the beginning. As someone who has multiple sets of blocks sitting around awaiting their final setting decisions, this was a novel experience for me. Far from hating the experience of using such a limited selection, I actually enjoyed the whole process, and now I'm seriously thinking about a larger quilt to see if that affects my findings. (I would still be using a scrappy leader-ender, so I could get my variety fix from that.) So this was a succesful experiment, I would say.

I've been a cutting fool in the sewing room, and I scraped up all the fragments on the floor to put in the bin. They made an astonishing pile, so I must have hacked up a fair swathe of material if this is only the trimmings. I don't measure fabric as 'used' until I finish a top, so I can't see any difference in my  tally, but I definitely feel as if I've cleaned out a few scraps and lightened the stash a bit.


Karen August 19, 2016  

I too would feel so tempted to use a variety of fabrics within a two color quilt. Agree that only two fabrics can produce a design that stands out.

Sue SA August 20, 2016  

I love looking at two coloured quilts and I have even made a couple, but really really struggle with them if they are one fabric. A variety of fabrics in the same colour is fine, but one colour, especially a solid, I struggle. So I completely get your experiment. And the joy of mindless piecing, is exactly that, a little holiday, relaxing and seems quick! Go for it I say!

Gretchen Weaver August 20, 2016  

I pieced a 2 color Dear Jane several years ago. I loved it, I never had to struggle about which fabric to use in the block and I could sew the rows together after I completed each row. I had purchased a whole bolt of the blue fabric so I have plenty left. I see more 2 color quilts in my life. Blessings, Gretchen

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