Thursday, 31 March 2016

my Gypsy Wife {playing nicely together}

Back making a few more blocks for my Gypsy Wife quilt this week. This scrappy quilt has to be one of my all time favourites, and looking at the original, I am convinced the more fabrics the better! And the less important any one decision becomes in the big scheme of things!

However, I know from experience that scrappy quilts can get out-of-control quite quickly and can loose their charm quite easily. So, I've been wondering how to make my quilt work without it all looking too messy or too confusing? How do I get my scrappy fabrics to all play nicely together?

Well, I ended up making a few sort of 'rules' for myself and I thought I would share them with you. {he-he- these are all little things I didn't actually put into practise with my first version mind you!} First up, I'm really trying to stick with colours in my 'focus' fabric, 'Tapestry Rose’ by Amy Butler and hopefully using a limited palette will help kept it calm...

Repetition of grey, cream & a touch of white for those vertical strips seemed the perfect opportunity to add another controlling element. And now & then, I'm also using grey or cream/white fabrics as background in the blocks too, to help unite the variety of colours...

For the bigger blocks I'm sticking to mainly one colourway in each of them, and repeating any colour combos I love...

And finally, I decided to make the quilt in sections too, rather than work my way through the book. Not only much more satisfying, but it really helps with checking out how my overall colour balance is going. Tackling section 4 this week, just getting it all to fit together is proving problematical...

... but I'm sure I will get there
... eventually!

The biggest change I wanted this time around was to make this quilt look a bit more 'modern.' My first Gypsy Wife quilt was scrappy, and vintage-y, and chaotic, and I do love it!
But for this version, I wanted to do something different - as in mixing up a selection of more recent designer fabric ranges, including Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler, Jen Kingwell, Tula pink and a little bit of Liberty. I love seeing how different that effect is!

My earlier #1 GW quilt are the pics on the right, the new versions on the left
Have a little look...

'colour wheel' block 

'crazy Anne' block

the infamous 'pershing' block 

And how about you... how do you make your scrappy fabrics all play nicely together in a quilt?
I would love to hear!
For lots more pics, pop  over to the #gypsywifequiltalong2016 here

splish splash stash

Linking up - a little late this week - with Cynthia for 'oh scrap' here


  1. Think I definitely prefer the MK II version of the Gypsy Wife. I had that same problem getting a cohesive look for my scrappy sampler. Lots of low volume, and the random use of a silvery grey solid tied it together.

    1. Interesting isn’t it? I wonder - do you prefer #2 because of the fabric choice or because it’s more controlled? Just curious!
      And yes, everything I’ve read says a scrappy quilt still needs some boundaries to achieve that cohesive result. As another blogger pointed out to me some time ago, scrappy and random are not synonymous!

  2. I, too, love very scrappy quilts, but without some kind of parameters they can just look messy. I've done messy quilts, and never disliked them, but it's nice to have a plan in place, too. I am really liking what you're doing this time around with more of the same 'flavors' or feel of fabrics, but all the designers you've chosen are favorites of mine. I have Gypsy's Wife on my bucket list so am watching with a lot of interest out here.


  3. I was delighted to see your Cray Anne blocks, as that was the first block I made (with Laura Ashley fabrics) many, many years ago. I had never seen another one since then, until I saw yours today!

  4. It's so interesting to see your previous blocks compared to the ones you're making now. Both look great. I love the fabric you've chosen to inspire your colour palette. The greys and creams throught are giving it a calmer look.

  5. This quilt is going to be so beautiful. I love your fabrics. Thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap!

  6. Like Julie I favour the blocks in this present version of GW and your idea of keeping with your three colours for backgrounds is a good one. I confess I really haven't made any rules for making scraps play nicely, as long as I'm happy with the colours in the individual blocks I go with that but I am conscious that I love rich colour so some of my blocks will be mysterious and moody but others will be lighter and brighter along the way.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. I love to hear your thoughts. Happy sewing!