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This pattern comes in three different sizes: crib, throw & twin!
One year ago, I pulled some super bright, retro-fun prints from my stash and decided I was going to make something out of them. Some blocks. (For a quilt. Obviously.) But how was I going to make this different? I know! I'll make all of the blocks the same but all of the fabric placements will be different. It will be coordinated and modern, but with a fun scrappy feel to it. And it's going to be awesome.
But trying to figure out how many different ways to put together 4 fabrics in combinations of 3 kind of boggled my mind. I mean, I was pretty well convinced that all of the math I learned in school up through college-level calculus courses were never going to be useful to me in real life. Elementary times tables and learning division? Sure! Understanding fractions and percentages? Absolutely! But when in my real life was I really going to need to ever remember permutations and factorials? Uh... *me, jaw dropped in disbelief, wide-eyed in shock.*
But since I wasn't about to try and remember (ehem, Google) that crazy formula, I just wrote out all of the possible combinations I could think of with pencil and paper, and BOOM. Quilt permutation complete and algebra crisis averted-ish! *me, smiling snuggly for having figured it out without Google or my TI-83 Plus - which I still have - somewhere... where is that thing?*
What I'm trying to say is, no two blocks are the same and I've don't the hard work of figuring that out for you! Which makes this quilt a heckuvalotta fun to put together. Choose 4 fabrics, pick a coordinating (or delightfully contrasting) background color, and you're well on your way to a quilt full of Variegated Squares!
Picking Fabric for Variegated Squares
There are a few different ways you can go about selecting fabrics for your own Variegated Squares quilt: choose from a fabric collection (designers typically coordinate their colors in each fabric line), be inspired by the color wheel (monochrome, analogous, complimentary, etc), make it scrappy (this makes a great scrap busting project), add a pop color (or include a neutral in an otherwise colorful selection), or when all else fails, go ombre! And while this quilt (like any quilt) works great using beautiful fabrics of any kind, consider the value of the colors and be sure to mix it up, including one dark color, two medium and one light to add depth to this design.
Sunset on the Savanna
For this sunset-inspired twin size, I used warm pinks and purples and added a touch of tan. This is a play on ombre, but adding the light brown gives it a little something extra. After working through several variations, I settled on this dusty selection of Kona Cotton fabrics and could not be happier with how it turned out! By choosing a light, medium & dark in the mauve tones and adding a medium value in a different pigment, the brown plays well with this otherwise feminine-feeling palette. The sashing coordinates in the ashy-gray shade, but it's neutral enough to let the blocks stand on their own.
The crosshatch quilting was done on my domestic machine using a 3.5 stitch length. Using an acrylic ruler and Hera marker, draw lines 2.5" apart on the angle, only working a few lines at a time. Draw a few, quilt those, draw a few more... once you get in a grove, it actually (surprisingly) goes pretty quickly!
After searching for a backing fabric that would coordinate with my quilt top with little success, I opted for a twin-size flat sheet instead. It saved me quite a bit of money (buying several yards of fabric just for backing a quilt can get pricey), and I didn't have to piece it together! I did find it a little tougher to pin baste this one (most likely due to the thread count), but I didn't have any issues with quilting it on my domestic machine. As an added bonus, there was just enough of the sheet left after squaring up my quilt to make the coordinated binding!
To achieve this look:
- Color A: Kona Shell
- Color B: Kona Caramel
- Color C: Kona Eggplant
- Color D: Kona Foxglove
- Background: Kona Ash
- Binding & Backing: organic cotton sheet (Target)
- Batting: Warm & White
I have been enjoying the challenge of working from my stash over the last several months, and this green and beige version was no exception! This quilt includes 3 prints (one as the backing) and 3 solids, and the 6 fabrics come from 5 different manufacturers. I love how similar the prints and solids are, both in color and value, but having come from different manufacturers they are definitely not the same, and that subtle variation keeps this throw size subdued but interesting, and calm but not boring.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that this quilt gave me a little trouble when it came to quilting it - I wanted to try some new-to-me quilting with my walking foot, and I eventually landed on these intentionally organic and uneven wavy lines. I can see how this would have been much easier with a free-motion foot or using a longarm, but for my first try at this style on my little domestic machine I'll call it a success! Using a 3.5 stitch length, I simply worked my quilt through the machine to make the first wavy line, then used each subsequent line as a guide to keep all my waves having the same amount of 'ups and downs' but made some of those larger or smaller than others by varying the spaces between each line. I finished the quilt by hand binding it to match the sashing and framing.
To achieve this look:
- Color A: Cloud 9, Morn's Rays Ecru
- Color B: Kona Cotton, Artichoke
- Color C: Paintbrush Studio, Dryad Fabric
- Color D: Kona Cotton, Snow
- Background & Binding: Moda Bella, Flax
- Backing: Lotta Jansdotter, Kita
- Batting: Warm & Natural
The crib size actually has more variation than the throw size, and that's because I decided to shrink the block sizes to purposefully include more block combinations (or permutations? Whatever, algebra). If you're looking to make a scrappy version like this low-volume one I did, use one Fat Eighth or a generous scrap for each block in the quilt size you want to make and cut out pieces for each 'layer' of the colored blocks. Then simply mix up your pieces (laying them out in the quilt grid and working from the outside-in is easiest), and sew them together! For this one, I made sure all of my fabrics were prints and kept the colors to white, gray, yellow and aqua/teal.
To achieve this look:
- Colors: Various prints
- Background: Kona Silver
- Binding: Kona Snow
- Backing: Various prints
- Batting: Quilters Dream
And here we are, back to the original Variegated Squares quilt, the super vibrant baby size that started it all! I sourced these analogous colors from my stash (sadly most were missing selvages so I can't be sure what all of them are), but I love the retro-mod vibe those pinks, oranges and yellows are radiating! So bright and cheery.
This was also one of my first quilts that I attempted the triple zigzag quilting on and I can sum up the results in one word: squish. It gives the quilt such a cozy feeling, perfect for little ones to crawl on and cuddle under. Mark lines anywhere from .75" to 1.5" apart, use a stitch length of 3.0 and width of 7.0 and enjoy the ease of this no-fuss quilting.
To achieve this look:
- Colors: Various prints, Kona, Amy Butler Midwest Modern
- Background & Binding: Kona Silver
- Backing: Free Spirit Fabrics Wrenly Wren
Other Colorways & Styles
The pattern comes with several color suggestions and a coloring page so that you can imagine all the ways to make this quilt. Want additional inspiration? Variegated Squares is super versatile - just look at these awesome versions made by my pattern testers!