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Piecing and Patchwork

Piecing is what makes patchwork. Quilters also make what is called a "whole cloth quilt".  This is a quilt made of just one piece of fabric- the beauty being in the quilting design.  However,  that is for experienced hand or machine quilters.

Most quilters enjoy the piecing process.  In fact that is why quilters tend to over press.  It is enjoyable to look at your work and see how the colors and patterns work together.

There are some general guidelines for piecing.  As you saw on the opening page, there are many types of fabric.  Not all of them lend themselves to piecing.  In general, the large scale prints, with lots of colors,  are only suitable for squares and borders.  If you tried to piece with them, your patterns would not show.

Small scale 100% cotton prints are a favorite with quilters and account for a large percentage of the fabric purchased each year - which could wrap around the globe more than 2 1/2 times! 

If you are a beginner, and just making squares, you will will want some of the more "flamboyant" prints.  Simple designs look good large prints. 

Quilter's often refer to these large prints as the "stars".  Remember that you also need a "supporting cast".  Too many large prints makes a quilt very busy.  You need to break it up with solids or fabrics that read solid from a distance.

Solid and small scale prints are usually used to make designs like star bloacks.  However, there are subtle large scale prints that read solid that would also work.

  As you can see from the picture to the left, you have two yellow prints- one a large scale floral, and the other a small scale floral.  The large scale print would make a great border, or a very large square.  The small scale print could be cut up into small shapes without losing the shape of the design.

All quilts are more interesting if both small and large scale prints are used in the design.

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