I never thought I’d say it but I think I’m in love, you guys. These little 4 patch blocks have completely changed my way of thinking about patchwork quilts. I used to be pretty much just ‘meh…whatevs’ when it came to quilts. Now that I know the secret to sexy blocks, I’ll never turn my nose up at another quilt again.
I used to think patchwork quilts were almost too patchy and just a big mishmash of leftover fabrics. Which is what they’re supposed to be right?
I get it that back in the old days when people had to make their quilts or freeze to death they used whatever they had on hand whether it coordinated or not. Here’s a piece of flannel, here’s some burlap and an old piece of moth-eaten wool, here’s a couple of pieces of that dress granny wore on her last birthday before she died and here’s that old shirt pa wore when he milked the cows. Let’s make a quilt!
But even as recently as 3 or 4 months ago I’d see a new quilt, that someone just made with brand new fabric, and I’d think to myself: “What is the attraction? I don’t understand why this person thinks this quilt is so beautiful. It’s just a mishmash of fabric!”
Then I got to playing around with the little 4 patch blocks and it suddenly occurred to me that I’m having a blast making these things and seeing what I can turn them into.
So I asked myself: Why? Why am I all of a sudden loving patchwork when I’ve never really liked it before?
Lesson #1: Choose fabric you love
Because I chose the fabric. And that’s the big secret, folks. It’s all in how YOU choose the fabric. Don’t choose fabrics because someone told you that would be a great color pallet. If someone says, “Red quilts are all the rage right now!” or “You should do red and green for Christmas” you’ll only like those quilts if you like those colors, no matter how well you put it together or how complicated the blocks. Choose colors and prints that speak to you and you alone if you want to love your finished project.
Lesson #2: Love the Process
But even when you choose colors and prints that you absolutely love, if you’re a beginner you might still turn out a project that makes you say, “Meh. I’m not convinced.” So my second secret is this:
Quilting looks complicated, and sometimes it is. Take your time and learn to appreciate the whole process of quilting – choosing the fabrics, the textures and prints, choosing the blocks or patterns, cutting all the pieces and getting that perfect 1/4-inch seam allowance. Making a quilt is a process and, like any process, there are many steps to take before it’s complete. Trust me, the feeling you get when you turn out that first project you truly love is amazing!
Bonus Lesson: When it comes to patchwork quilts, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Years and years ago I visited a farmer’s market somewhere here in Ohio and they had this fabulous patchwork quilt for sale, done up in shades of green. It was one of the very few quilts I’d seen up to that point that I liked. In fact, I loved it. I loved it so much that I paid $450 for it and gave it to my mom for Christmas. And I could tell by the look on her face that she thought, “WTF! This is hideous! I’m gonna have to hide this and remember to bring it out when she comes to visit! UGH!”
And that’s the main reason I put off learning how to quilt for so long. I rarely saw a quilt I liked and I just figured that anything I made myself would be equally as dreadful as everything I’d already seen.
But it’s the ‘eye of the beholder’ thing that makes the difference here and it’s taken me years to realize that. It doesn’t matter if anyone else likes it. If you love it, then it’s the most beautiful quilt in the world!