My answer to that question is a big huge yes. The hours just slip away when I am creating fabric runs and playing with fabric gradations.

Ever since I made my first Bargello quilt I have had a fascination with fabric runs. In fact, you could say that I am really quite passionate when it comes to creating fabric runs. Finding just the right fabric to go between two fabrics can become somewhat of an obsession.

Even though I tell my students that there is no such thing as the perfect fabric run here I was running around to quilt shops looking for that perfect pink and my friend thought I was absolutely nuts. She kept saying what you have looks great and I kept saying no it’s not quite right. 

That was a few years ago and now I am not nearly as obsessed with getting the right fabric because I’ve realized it doesn’t have to be perfect and as long as the transition between fabrics allows the eye to flow freely then I consider it a successful fabric run.

One of the key elements to creating a successful fabric run is to make sure that the fabrics sitting on either side of a fabric has some of the same colours allowing for a seamless transition between fabrics as they do in this set of fabrics below.

Fabric runs can be made as precise runs gradating from light to dark as seen in my flower quilts or they can be a bit looser and not quite so precise with larger jumps between the fabrics as in the background of Dandelion Puffs. It all depends on the look you want and what you are making. 

Dandelion Puff Art Quilt

They can be: 

Monochromatic – using one colour grating from light to dark – perfect for backgrounds as in my Icons on the Landscape quilt the Lone Pine.

Lone White Pine Art Quilt

Multi-coloured – several colours and often of the same value or a gradation of value such as Rainbow Bricks which is part of my Unlock Simple Blocks workshop

Fabric lines – some fabric lines work well for creating fabric runs and have really interesting prints that create wonderful texture

At first, the fabric runs I made were used for making Bargello quilts – mostly wall hangings. But then my brain started swirling and wondering what else could I create using a Bargello and I came up with the idea of creating flowers. Hence my series of Bargello Flower quilts was born.

Yes, this meant cutting up the Bargello, after all the effort of creating the fabric run, cutting the strips, making the tube, cutting again and sewing the strips together once again to make a gorgeous Bargello I cut it all up again. I know, isn’t that crazy to cut up that beautiful piece with such movement and texture that I had just spent so much time sewing together? But I did it, it turned out amazing and I never looked back.

After all these years I am still fascinated with cutting up Bargellos – it’s a bit like a box of chocolates you have no idea what you are going to get until that last petal is put in place. It’s always a wonderful surprise.

I’ve even used them in sections of my Minimalistic Landscape designs – they just have a way of sneaking into most everything I create when I’m not looking. 

I am very excited to announce that I have a new virtual trunk show called Create Fabric Runs Fearlessly where I’ll show you how easy it is to create eye pleasing fabric runs as well as how to use these fabric runs in your quilts.

Until next time,

Happy Quilting