I’m in the middle of making the last quilt for my next book (C&T, Nov. 2024). I can’t show the quilt, but I wanted to take a minute to talk about how I arrange (grade?) fabrics when I make scrappy ombré quilts.
I start by gathering any fabrics in the color range that I think will work. I put the fabrics light to dark. I add or remove fabrics as needed. I move them around. I look at them in my studio and in natural light – usually morning and afternoon – to catch anything that may be off.
Often a fabric that isn’t quite right will work if there are enough different fabrics in the range. For example, if you look closely enough at the selection of colors below, you’ll see a few fabrics that have a slight purple hue (orchid, maybe?) to them BUT because the prints have pink, as well, they work. Your eye doesn’t immediately go to a print that’s slightly off because there are enough fabrics.
This is also a good opportunity to remove some fabrics. The three fabrics on the left were removed from the selection, and I think the floral print on the far right will also be removed, even though I love it. It’s too bold.
Once you have the colors you want, it’s really helpful to group the fabrics by value. For this particular quilt, I grouped fabrics in sets of 3 or 4. I’d already cut the lighter fabrics on the left so they’re not organized, but I promise that, at one point, they were.
I organize fabrics this way because it’s easy to pull a lighter or darker fabric to make a color range work. If you look at the photo below you can see how I moved the fabrics into different groups but the overall light to dark still works.
Remember, the more fabrics you use, the less each color matters. That means you don’t have to have a *perfect* match, just close enough. Have you made scrappy quilts using lots of a particular hue? I’d love to see it!