Pattern or Solid?

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Blog, Montreal Modern Quilt Guild, Quilts

The Montreal Modern Quilt Guild is making their banner. Members were asked to contribute a 6.5″ unfinished block of their choice using fabrics with the guild colours.

guild banner coloursThis challenge has driven home the importance of knowing one’s techniques. A 6.5 inch block tends to put a focus on detail, measurement & technical ability and eliminates the philosophy that I can just wing it. A challenge indeed! It has also opened my eyes a bit to modern quilters’ use of solid (or almost solid) fabrics. Something for me to ponder …

As penance for discovering after the fact that the oldest of all quilt blocks is not constructed as I thought, I decided on a simple border on border on border log cabin block.

quilt guild banner block

While I measured and cut everything very accurately, my scant quarter inch seams were not quite as precise as I would have liked (I choose to blame that on my crummy sewing machine). Not bad, though. And, yes, I know purists would balk at my haphazard placement of long and short sides of each border, but, quite honestly, it is more the overall look I was going for and I am not very good at following rules.

Then I thought of doing something that is quintessentially Montreal. A quick google search of graphic Montreal images brought me to the map of the city’s subway system.

montreal metro map

It could not have been more perfect in terms of colours. There’s the orange, blue and green lines, and I could take artistic license with the yellow one and make it chartreuse. Alas, time has been my enemy of late and I could not get it all figured out and sewn prior to our meeting. Perhaps down the road…

guild banner blocks

When all the blocks were put up on a board at our last meeting I realized I tend to use much more patterned fabrics than many in the group. While I love the look of many solid fabric quilts, as you can see on my Pinterest board, I just can’t seem to help myself … the pattern just keeps creeping in there. A designer recently said to me while reviewing a collection of mine, that most people, while they might appreciate pattern and colour, don’t actually use them much in reality. That they tend to opt for neutrals in their homes, their clothing, what have you. She said she was one of them & asked if I was the same. I had to say a resounding no! I love colour and I love pattern. Given the choice of buying a plain grey or striped cushion or one with some fanciful colourful pattern, give me the pattern and happy colour every time, please.

I am wondering, are you one who opts for pattern or plain? I see merit in both, I just tend much more heavily in one direction.


  1. Gma
    April 17, 2014

    Oh pattern please….. everyday…. the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree!

  2. Cinzia Allocca
    July 9, 2014

    you know i tend towards solids! But that doesn’t mean i shy away from color. I love bold, vibrant color! When i use prints, I do so sparingly. They showcase well against the solids. And when i do use them, I gravitate towards polka dots. as you can see in my block;the green box with yellow accent (to the left of the word ‘modern’).
    Your block is lovely. I am the opposite of you: I love the look of quilts with all those lovely prints, but can’t bring myself to using them.