Monday, June 13, 2016

R is for Repetition


Repetition is an often used concept in many types of designs. Repeating an item will give consistency and make a set of unlike things appear to belong together. Repeating a color, a shape, or a placement of a color or fabric will create cohesiveness where it would not otherwise exist. The third chapter in my new book Scrap Quilt Secrets focuses on this useful design element.

I like the quilt Fusion because not only are the two blocks repeated over and over but the secondary design (the stars) repeat where the blocks intersect. Take a minute to look at the quilt. Do you see stars now? Or do you see diamonds? The blocks are square in a square blocks and hourglass blocks. The repetition of colors in the same places in each block creates the stars.

A good border tip for a scrappy quilt is to use up the leftover strips from your quilt scraps. Keeping the border strips the same length as the blocks frames the quilt without distracting from the block design.

Sawnee Shadows

Repeating a shape over and over again makes fabrics that are not remotely related, look like they were meant to be together. In the quilt above, Sawnee Shadows, I was inspired by this simple shape that is often avoided in quilting because quilters mistakenly think it is difficult. I promise it is NOT. I simply used an angled ruler and cut the pieces from two sizes of strips. Sewing them together into units and then into rows is simple. The book has diagrams and tips for making these perfect every time. 

The zig zag border is a piece of cake too! Simply treat the outside corners like any quilt corner and the inside corners will lay flat and angle themselves by simply clipping the quilt sandwich with scissors almost to the sewing line. Again, diagrams are included in the book!

Paper Chains

This quilt is so much easier to piece than it looks. The blocks are simple four patches and drunkard's path. By lining them up in rows, and repeating the light at the top of the four patches, the dark at the bottom and the medium fabrics on the sides, the repetition creates the 'chains'. I love this quilt because it was many years in my imagination, and once I decided how to create the chains, it went together so quickly!

I loved making paper chains from construction paper as a child. The more colors the better! Making a quilt to remind me of those paper chains was inevitable. I'm going to make this one in other colors and sizes for sure.

I hope these examples of using repeating designs, shapes, colors, and fabrics will inspire you to look at your scraps (or your stash) and see new possibilities. Start pulling some fabrics and see what happens!

Enjoy every stitch!


  1. Add " Winter Garden" by Kristin Hannah to your reading list.

  2. What a helpful post! These are fascinating quilts, and the hints for borders and binding are so insightful. I'll look forward to ordering your book after my move to another state.

  3. Great quilts, and I also love taking a simple block and putting it on point, changes up the whole vibe of the piecing! Love the chain.

  4. It's great to hear your thoughts on repetition and seeing the beautiful quilts that you've made using repetition.


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