Week 1 - Fabric Pull

Welcome to week 1 of the Bar Code Quilt Along!

I'm so excited to have you here and to get to sew along with you!

This week is all about picking fabrics, and introductions over on Instagram.

Colour options

Have you had a chance to browse through the mockups and tester quilts to get some inspiration?

The Bar Code pattern has instructions for a version with 6 bar colours plus a background, a two-colour option where all the bars are the same colour, and a scrappy version.

Of course, anything in between goes, too.
The instructions are written so that for versions A & B (that's the 6-colour and the 2-colour versions) you are making two blocks at a time, and for version C (that's the scrappy one), you're making 1 block at a time. So if you want to change the colours halfway through the quilt, or use more than 2 or 6 colours, keep this in mind when you figure out how much fabric you need.

If you find yourself stuck somewhere and just can't figure it out, feel free to email me and I'll try to help.

And make sure to download the colouring sheet and extra fabric requirements from your welcome email, too.

Some tips on choosing fabrics

Bar Code quilt fabric pull

This is my fabric pull for the cover quilt. It's Kona solids in Robin Egg, Lagoon, Celestial, Grellow, Valentine and Bubble Gum. The background fabric was Kona White.

Bar Code is such a versatile quilt that you can pretty much do anything you like with it in terms of picking colours. Grab your crayons and colouring sheet and let your creativity shine!

Here are some of my favourite ways to pick a colour combination:

  • Start with a feature fabric (a print you love) and then pick the rest of the colours to go with it. A good way to pick matching colours is to check the selvedge of the feature print for the reference marks. They are usually small circles, sometimes they're fancy shapes, but they all each contain one of the colours from the print, so you can easily match those circles with a solid, or another print. 
    Keep in mind though that the strips in this quilt are very narrow, so stick to small scale prints, blenders and solids, and save that favourite large scale print for a project where you can really show it off.
  • Another fun way is to go to Pinterest and search for certain colour combinations. Type in things like "6 colour combination" or "retro colour combination", "blue colour combination" etc. into the search bar, to find some great ideas.
  • Choose a main colour and a contrast. And contrast can mean both for colours, such as picking complementary colours (that's the ones that are directly opposite each other on the colour wheel), or for value, which is how dark or light a colour is. The most prominent option for that would be black and white. Often the contrast happens in both colour and value at the same time, so for example if you pick a dark blue and bright yellow, so you don't need to strictly stick to one or the other. 
  • A tip for determining value in colours (for example, if you want to make a totally scrappy quilt with dark background fabrics and light stripes) is to take a picture of all your fabrics laid out, and then go to the photo editor on your phone and switch it to a black and white photo. This way you can easily see which colours show up as light and which ones look dark, and keep them separated. It's sometimes hard to determine if a fabric is light or dark because we automatically think of certain colours as dark or light colours, even if they actually are the opposite.

One more tip for choosing fabrics for the Bar Code quilt is to choose your background wisely. And by that I mean you will need a fabric that has a 42" usable width. You don't need the full WOF for the 2.5" and 2" strips, because they'll form the center of each block and you will have some leftover there.

But the 1.5" strips that make up the sides of the blocks (see steps 5 and 6 in the pattern) will use up the full 42". You can do it with narrower fabric, but if your background fabric is not a full 42", you'll only get 3 side strips out of one WOF strip (which is enough for 1.5 blocks) instead of 4 strips, so you'll have to buy some extra background fabric for that. For the throw size, that's an extra 9" x WOF.

My fabric pull

I'm going scrappy for my QAL quilt. I loved how the tester quilt by Mercedes turned out and I have so many scraps I've been trying to incorporate into projects this year.

I was planning on going completely scrappy and just pull whatever I had in a big enough size out of the bin and work with it. But then I was looking at the fabrics I had and noticed I was leaning a bit too much towards blues (blue is my favourite colour so I have a ton of blue scraps) and started to pull more other colours to make sure I had a bit of everything.

Bar Code quilt along - Penny Spool Quilts - rainbow fabric pull

And then one thing led to another and before I knew it I had arranged them all in rainbow order... so now I'm going to try to make a scrappy rainbow quilt. I'm not sure yet if it's going to work out exactly how I picture it, but that's the plan anyway.

My background will be white. I love the idea of using a dark background for the rainbow, but I don't have enough dark fabric on hand to do it, so white it is. 

A two-colour baby quilt

I've also been working away on a two-colour baby quilt the last couple of weeks, so I'll be throwing some pictures of that one in here and there, too.

Bar Code quilt along - penny spool quilts - two colour baby quilt fabric pull

Let's get started!

Head over to Instagram and post your fabric pull, tell us a bit about the fabrics, what size of quilt you're making, and introduce yourself, too! And don't forget to tag the post with #BarCodeQAL so we can all find each others' posts and I can draw a name for the first weekly prize.


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