Line Dance SAL Week 1 - Picking Fabrics

Welcome to the first week of the Line Dance Sew-Along!

I hope you had a chance to look through the intro blog post here, and maybe even played around with the pattern on PreQuilt here.

This first week is a chance for everyone to pick fabrics and gather their materials. So if you’ve just signed up, don’t worry, you’re not behind.

A few notes about fabric picking

First up, when I talk about choosing colours, I am mainly talking about choosing fabrics/colours for the ribbons. I think we all know to pick a background that shows off whatever fabrics we choose for the main design on a quilt, so I’m going to assume that is a given, and focus on the ribbons.

The most important thing in this quilt is some kind of contrast. Whether that’s by choosing different colours, solids and prints, or darker and lighter shades of colours, it’s just important that your fabrics can relatively easily be distinguished from each other.

The pattern relies on the illusion that there are ribbons of fabric that loop in and out of each other. Each block has two loops that intertwine, so each block needs to have that contrast between the fabrics.

Depending on which version you choose to make, this is a little easier or trickier to do. So let’s go through the various versions.

Version A - Two-colour

This version is the simplest and most minimalist one. You have just two colours, or two fabrics if you’re choosing prints, for the whole quilt (plus a background). I’ve labelled the pattern as intermediate because it requires some fabric organization that beginners may not yet have, but if you’re an adventurous beginner, I think you can make the two-colour version without much trouble.

Simply choose two fabrics you like. Whether that’s two solids in contrasting colours, or a light and a dark of the same, or choosing two prints from a fabric line you love etc. Here are some mockups of what that might look like.

Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - mockup in Small Throw size in peach and mint on blue background Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - mockup in Large Throw size using Thrift Shop fabric collection by Figo Fabrics Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - mockup in baby size in pink and navy

Just one word of caution for using prints: the smallest piece used is a 2 ½” square, so make sure that whatever print you’re choosing doesn’t end up reading as a different colour if you cut it up small.

For example, if you have a large floral print that is mainly blue, but has large pink flowers, you don’t want to end up with the small piece looking pink instead of blue because you happened to cut it exactly on a flower. Especially if your second ribbon happens to be a pink print. So just keep this in mind when selecting prints. Choosing small to medium prints will help, and so will picking something like a yellow for the second ribbon to go with my example of a blue and pink floral print.

Version B – Four-block Loops

In this version, 4 blocks use the same fabric to create full loops that go from block to block to connect together. This was a bit of a tricky part of the pattern to write, because I was trying to distinguish the square loops in each block from the bigger loops created by using the same fabric for 4 blocks and having them connect to one another.

But, this is what I'm talking about: the yellow, orange and peach fabrics in the mockup below each create a full circle of blocks that are all connected to each other. So each one of these colours is a four-block loop.

Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - mockup in Small Throw size in yellow, orange and blue on white background

So for this version, you will definitely want to make a few copies of the colouring page and try out some combinations. Each fabric will give you four small loops (the small square ones on each block), so pick out which four blocks you want to use the same fabric in.

Here's another example, this time using Large Throw:

Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - mockup in Large Throw size in pink, yellow and blue on white background

In this example there are 5 four-block loops in the quilt - one in each corner, and then one in the center. The remaining fabrics are spread along the edge of the quilt, those are all the square loops that look like the ribbons are running off the edge. I decided to make the two blocks in the middle along each side the same fabric (two shades of medium blue), because they connect at one spot. Then I used one of the fabrics for the top and bottom edge, and the other for the left and right edge of the quilt. The last fabric (light blue) I used for each corner block, because the loop there doesn’t connect to anything.

Again, keep contrast in mind. There are various ways to pick colours for this version.
You can do a similar colouring to Version A, where you have two main colours, but then choose a different print in those colours for each loop. In the example below, that's pink and grey.

Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - mockup in Large Throw size in pink and grey on white background

Or pick all different colours, or all different prints for each loop. As long as you get enough contrast for each full four-block loop with all the fabrics around it, the pattern will work.

Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - mockup in Large Throw size using Thicket & Bramble fabric collection by Figo Fabrics
Thicket & Bramble by Figo Fabrics

You could even do an ombre version of the quilt in this way. This works best with the Large Throw, but can also be done with the other sizes - except the baby size, for that one Version A and B are actually the same since there is only a single loop on the quilt.

Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - mockup in Large Throw size using solids in a blue ombre arrangement on white background

Version C – Scrappy

This version is the stash buster, and there are a few  ways to approach fabric selection for this one.

You can choose to approach it like Version A, where you have two fabrics, just that in this version “fabric” actually means a bunch of different ones that read the same. So either pick a few different fabrics in the same two colours, or pick some light and some dark fabrics.

Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - mockup in Large Throw size using Indigo and Cheddar 2 fabric collection by Andover Fabrics 
Indigo and Cheddar II by Andover

Or you can go about it like Version B, where you pick certain fabrics for each loop. If you wanted to have a, say, yellow loop, pick 4 yellow fabrics for that one, and make one block with each of them. Then put them together to form the yellow loop.

Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - mockup in Large Throw size using Thrift Shop fabric collection by Figo Fabrics 
Thrift Shop by Figo Fabrics

This is kind of what I did with the cover quilt. I made multiple blocks from each fabric, since I was working with a single fabric collection, but I separated my fabrics into peach and yellow(ish), and made two loops each with those fabrics.

Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - sample in Large Throw size using Prickly Pear fabric collection by Figo Fabrics
Prickly Pear by Figo Fabrics

And lastly, you can also just go super scrappy and just use any two fabrics for each block and see what happens. I personally prefer a bit of organization and I like the four-block loops in the pattern, so I would choose some kind of cohesive theme in the fabrics, but there’s nothing saying you have to follow that. And to be honest, I’d love to see a totally scrappy quilt just to see what that looks like. I think it would be awesome, and who knows, it might show another secondary pattern somewhere.

This version would also be perfect for using Jelly Rolls, but you’ll need one that has two strips per fabric. When I first wrote this pattern for Love Patchwork & Quilting, it was supposed to become a jelly roll pattern. I tried so many different ways to get the whole block to fit a single jelly roll strip, but I just couldn’t make it work. I guess it wasn’t meant to be ;-) 

Version B & C – organizing your fabrics

I’m going to be talking about fabric organization next week, when we get to cutting our ribbon fabrics, but thought I’d mention it here already in case you wanted to work ahead.

With both version B and C, you’ll need to pay attention to which fabrics go together within each block. Especially when you do four-block loops, the main colour that forms the loop will be the same for each of the four blocks, but the second ribbon in each of those blocks might not be the same.

So for these two versions, we’ll need to label all the fabrics, and then label each block with where on the quilt it is, whether it’s a block A or B, and which two fabrics are in it.

Share your fabric pull

I’ve decided on these lovely fabrics from the Flirtation collection from Zen Chic, and I’m going to be making the small throw in Version B. There will be yellow and green loops, and I’m using the blue fabric for all the ribbons that go around the edge of the quilt.

Stack of 7 quilting fabrics from the Flirtation fabric collection by Zen Chic. Fabrics are yellow, green, blue and white. Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - mockup in Small Throw size using solids in green, yellow and blue on white background

Have fun with your fabric pulls, and be sure to share them on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #LineDanceSAL, and tag me @pennyspoolquilts so it will definitely pop up for me.

Next week: cutting the ribbon fabric

Dust off the rulers and put a fresh blade in your rotary cutters for next week, we'll start by cutting the ribbon fabrics (the background fabric will be in week 3). 

And if you're going shopping sometime this week, you may want to grab a package of paper plates for an easy fabric organizing method. More on that next week, though!

Line Dance quilt by Penny Spool Quilts - Schedule for the 2024 sew-along

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