Many years ago Moda came out with the Grunge fabric line and I fell in love with it. I have managed to collect many of the colours over the years and wish I had them all but sadly I don’t.

I specifically bought a set of fabrics to create the blocks in my Chopstix quilt pattern. It required 7 colours with a light and dark of each so a total of 14 fabrics plus an accent fabric that stood out amongst all 7 colours. It’s a great pattern to play with value as well as layout of the blocks. I love all the negative space around the blocks. I did a lot of auditioning and rearranging of the colours and where they should go in the blocks – the image at the top you can see that I did the opposite on the bottom of the block to the top of the block for the placement of the colours – that didn’t make the cut. The image below shows my preference of one value in the centre and one on the outside.

Auditioning the centre fabric

The Grunge was only used for the blocks in the black background quilt. I also made it with the Toscana fabric line from Northcott – the grey background which is another great basic line.

Creating the Chopstix blocks is a great way to play with value – the lightness to darkness of a fabric – and learn all about how fabrics behave when placed next to each other. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of photos when I made this quilt to show how I decided what went with what. But I do have an image of the grey background quilt turned to black and white to see the value of each fabric. Taking the colour out of the image and just having the grey scale is a very valuable tool for determining value.

Grey scale image of Chopstix to showing the value of the fabrics

Having only used a fraction of those 14 fabrics to make the quilt I had lots left over to play with. And play I did with colour, shapes, lines, beads and thread.

I made 4 skinny pieces that I call the Geometric Shapes Collection. Originally these pieces hung on the wall going up the stairs in my house but I no longer have the stairwell so they are only on display when I do a trunk show. Although I have an exhibition coming up at the Gravenhurst library in their stairwell next month so I think I’ll display them there.

To begin, I picked out 2 Grunge fabrics that would make up the backgrounds of one piece and then added in a print fabric for the geometric shape. These fabrics were either left overs from something else or pieces of a 2 ½″ jelly roll strip. Using up those scraps and leftover fabrics – this would be a great way to use up some of those orphan blocks you may have as well.

Choosing the fabric for the triangles

The section with the shapes on it was created first using three layers – top, batting and backing – then the shapes were added and stitched in place and finally quilting lines added. I used a lot of 12 weight threads on these pieces so that the quilting would stand out.

Top layer quilted

Beads were added after all the quilting was done.

Once the middle sections were made I squared them off, pinned them to the background section which was also made up of top fabric, batting and backing. This meant stitching through 6 layers of fabric to attach the orange section to the blue background. The middle section was then stitched to the background using a free motion zigzag stitch with a 12 weight thread. There are many 12 weight threads on the market – Aurifil, Wonderful, Sulky and Valdani to name a few. The thing to remember when using a 12 weigh thread is that a Topstitch 100/16 needle is needed for optimal stitching and with its large eye the heavier weight thread flows through the needle easier. In the bobbin a 50 weight cotton thread to match the top thread colour was used.

Geometrics 2 – circles

These pieces were a lot of fun to create and allowed me to think outside of the box. The best part is that they are quick and easy and can be made in a day. A great idea to try in my Improv Design workshop.

I think I see a few more in my future – possibly a bit larger with more colours and shapes in each one. My drawer of Grunge is still very full so I will be able to play some more. And my scrap bins are overflowing with all kinds of prints.

I have also created an amazing LeMoyne Star quilt using the Grunge fabrics but more about that another day as I am in the process of creating something with the leftover blocks from it. Here is an image as a bit of a teaser using some of the leftover blocks.

Stars and checkerboards in Grunge

I will be doing a presentation for the Conquer Your Fabric Scraps Summit in August all about using up orphan blocks and creating cool quilts with them so save the date for August 15 – 18, 2024.

Until next time,

Happy Quilting!

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