{Jacob's Ladder Value Quilt} materials needed and cutting instructions

Make three piles of fabric for your quilt.  Darks, mediums, and lights.  You can make yours scrappy like mine, or just use one color for each value.  (Wow, that would make a stunning, classic quilt!)  You can use any assortment of sizes from your scraps as well, as you will be cutting 1 1/2" strips, and 3 7/8" squares.

The finished size of my quilt with borders is 68" x 85".  This is a generously sized twin size or lap quilt.  (once it's washed it will shrink a couple inches)

Approximate amounts needed:

Lights - 2 1/4 yards
Mediums - 2 yards
Darks - 2 3/4 yards
Border - 1 1/2 yards


  96 - 3 7/8" x 3 7/8" squares
  23 - 1 1/2" x width of fabric strips (cut in half at the fold to make 46 half strips)

  46 - 1 1/2" x width of fabric strips (cut in half at the fold to make 92 half strips)

  96 - 3 7/8" x 3 7/8" squares
  35 - 1 1/2" x width of fabric strips (cut in half at the fold to make 70 half strips)

  8 - 6" x width of fabric strips

While you are cutting your strips, cut them in half at the fold, so that you will have double the amount in half lengths.  I prefer to work with the strips this way for two reasons, you get a more scrappy look since you can mix things up more when sewing the the strips together.  Also, you won't be working with such loooong strips, which can cause warping problems.

I'll be back tomorrow with how to construct the quilt.

And before I forget, I was a little crazy, and while I was cutting this quilt out, I cut out another whole set!  So if you like my colors/fabrics and would like a kit that's all cut out and ready to sew, then you can purchase it here from my shop!  (this kit doesn't include the borders)

To find out more about the Value Quiltalong, visit our Flickr group which has links to all our posts!

Field Study Triangles

I never quite got this quilt out of my system.  I knew I wanted to explore it a bit more.  I also wanted to try using two background colors together that were very similar in value.

Value Dynamics!

Today it's my turn to share my part in this quiltalong - Value Dynamics!

So what's that supposed to mean?

I think in our case we'll say that Dynamics = Variations.

Yes!  Yes!  In my small and simple mind, Variations = Exciting Possibilities.

Seriously guys, I've had a hard time knowing what to zone in on.  If you've read my blog for a while, you know this may be a bit random, and not technically accurate:(  I'll do my best though, and hopefully you can gain some inspiration!

So for the first part, we're gonna focus on the block design that I used for my value quilt.

Now, we're going to take this block as our design, and we're gonna throw it in the blender with our three main values, Light, Medium, and Dark.  Are you ready?

So first we've got the arrangement that I chose, we'll call it the original, K?

and here it is in a big quilt!  (please don't judge my computer drawing skills here.  i'm a quilter, not a graphic designer)

Now let's try another one!

This one is exactly the opposite of my original.

And here it is as a whole quilt!  With both these designs, we have the latticework/diamonds design very prominent.  Doing an exact value switcheroo on this one doesn't really change the overall look of the design, although it definitely has a different feel.  (just comparing the two black and white versions, I actually like this one better than mine!)

So now we'll throw it all back in the blender...

And here's what came out now! (Now just to save confusion, the darker grey here is supposed to be black/dark values)

So this is the same as my original, except for one thing.  That very middle nine patch block is switched out from the dark/medium, to a medium/light.

See what a difference that makes?  Ok, this is my secret favorite, because it magically makes stars in the design, and I'm a sucker for stars!

Once more let's put them all back in the blender.

Oooo, something different here!  Now for the first time, the half square triangles are a medium/light value, which means that they will not be as noticeable.  All the nine patch blocks are the same, a light/dark mix.

And here it is as a whole quilt!  Now the pixelated nine patches are more of a focus, and the lattice work is a secondary design.

And then you could lay this one out with all blocks facing the same way and make this slight different layout with stripes rather than lattice.  A bit more modern maybe?

I'm sure you've figured out by now that there are so many different options, but we'll stick with these four for now.  Here they are all together so you can compare.  And remember, they're all made from the same simple block!

I chose to stay with one quilt pattern here just to keep it simple, but there are so many patterns that can be changed around just by changing your value placement!

It's really so important to have a basic knowledge of this while making quilts.  As you can see, changing just one value can really change the look of your quilt!

This doesn't need to be overwhelming, just something you're aware of.

These options I've been showing you are all fairly high contrast.  We're using lots of different Values to make an impact.

Sometimes you want LESS value.  Sometimes you want things to blend.

I decided to try making this same block again with a different value twist.  I kept everything in Lightish Values, except for the half square triangles, which I accented with Dark Values.

I used this one block to virtually simulate a quilt.  I love it!  It still uses value, but it's a softer look.  Lots of blending, which is what you get when you put together lots of fabrics with similiar values.  And just for interest's sake, and to help you loosen up abit,  I made a Value mistake here.  See it?  I used that gold print as one of my Darks, but it's really not as dark as the others.  But hey, it adds interest, and it does still read slightly darker, so it works!

Is your head spinning with ideas yet?  I hope so!!

Ok, now for part two!

So this part is more just my gut-feeling working with values.  I think one of the most powerful aspects of being aware of value when choosing fabrics, is that it allows you to breath life into your quilt.

The Swoon quilt is a great example of this!

I was hoping to have mine completed so I could show it here as an example, but I'll show you a few individual blocks instead.

It's fairly obvious that the center star and points that are made from the dark blue are a Dark Value, while the   yellow portion of the block is a medium value.

Now take this one.  The star and point section of the block are definitely a Lightish Value, whereas the brown woodgrain portion is a Dark Value.  By changing the value placement, I've completely changed the look of the overall block!

Here's one more.  In this one, I'd read the two different colors as being somewhat similiar in value, with the rose colored fabric being slightly lighter.

Now, you put all these blocks together in a quilt, and you get something lively!  Something that twinkles!

Just take a moment to go look at this quilt, (my number one favorite Swoon Quilt) See how changing the values in the blocks gives them each a personality and makes your eyes move around the quilt with interest?

Now, keep in mind that this is just a fun option.  You don't want to change up the values in every quilt.  My original value quilt for instance.  If I changed around the values to make it 'twinkle'?  Well, that may be a fun thing to try actually!  But that's not what I was wanting in that case, since I wanted an overall design.

Another example for 'twinkling' quilts is good ole Granny Squares.

I've pointed out two blocks here on opposite ends of the spectrum, one with a dark center and light outer ring, and one with a light center and dark outer ring.

All the other blocks are somewhere in between.  I was not really thinking about this as I made these blocks, although I was aware of it in a subconscious way.  This is a big part of what makes a quilt of this type come alive.

Well, I could keep on yammering, but maybe that's enough for one day!

Just a reminder once again that you can revisit blog posts from the other Value Quilters and learn so much more valuable info.

Understanding Value - Where the Orchids Grow
Leading the Eye - Badskirt
Value Patterns - Stitched in Color

Next week (likely Tuesday) I'll start my tutorial by posting cutting instructions.

Meanwhile, you can hop on over to our Flickr group and add anything Value inspired!

My Value Quilt Process

Did you read Amy's post on Value : Leading the Eye?  Wow that's some great info.  Taking all that I learned so far, I thought I'd just show you a bit of my process for making my quilt.

I started with the design you see above.  This is a slight variation of a common block pattern.  I've always known it as Jacob's Ladder, but you may know of another name for it.  I say this is a variation, because it is commonly seen with four patches, rather than nine patches.

Anyways, I had seen one made with these cute little nine patches in an old quilting book, and I've had it on my back burner for a long time.  When I was tasked with making a quilt that represented value, I immediately thought of this one.

This block above is how I decided to arrange my values.  (This diagram is actually one 'block')  The first diagram is four of these put together to create one diamond)

I went with light, medium, and dark, as my basic value separations.

Here you can see how a bunch of these blocks put together with this value arrangement will look.  (btw, on Friday, I will be exploring so many, many, different ways that you could use this same pattern for a completely different look)

Now the fun part!  Choosing fabrics!  My color inspiration come to me in a rush one morning.  I can't remember if there was anything to trigger it, but I had been puzzling over the above design for a few days, yet not knowing what colors I would use.

And then that morning I just knew!  The darks would be a mix of black and teal/navy prints.  The medium would be medium valued pinks and yellows, and the lights would be light pinks and yellows.

I pulled out a bunch of fabrics and sorted them casually by groups of light medium and dark.

Now I tried changing my photo, as I learned from Leila, and you can see that my sorting worked fairly well, although the mediums and darks blend into each other somewhat.  I was ok with that though, because the difference in hues, (bright pinks versus teals) would help with keeping the design from being muddied.

(also, I'm a fan of mixing things up abit, so messing up on the values just a bit here and there adds interest, right?!)

And here's my first block, made with my chosen fabrics!  As you can likely see by now, this entire quilt is made up of two basic blocks.  A half square triangle, and a 9-patch!  Easy-peasy!!  (Well, let's not mention that those little squares are 1 1/2"!)


So here's the quilt in it's home.  Well, not it's HOME-home.  I already have a recipient in mind for this one, but I'll be keeping it around here for the duration of this Value Series.

I'm so excited about the things I'm learning about value.  You think you're gonna learn something over the next week?  Well, you're right, you will.  If you're like me, some of it will be stuff that you kinda knew intuitively.  As a visual learner and thinker though, I don't always understand why I'm doing something, or why a design or quilt does, or doesn't work.

And it's so great to have those lightbulb 'aha' moments!  I've had some of them already in the planning and schemeing that we've been doing.

So first off, you should go read Leila's post today.  It's a great start to our Value Lessons, since it explains what value actually is in simple way, with diagrams n all!

And then just a peak at my new basement sewing room!  I didn't do a stitch of sewing all last week, between  painting and other obligations.  But now it's all painted!  And I'm having a blast filling up my shelves and farming furniture from the rest of the house.

Value Added BEGINS!!

so here's the thing.  we thought it would be fun to talk about using value in quilts. and then we thought it would be fun to actually make some quilts using values.  so the four hosts; Amy of Badskirt, Rachel of Stitched in Color, Leila of Where the Orchids Grow, and myself each designed and made a quilt, using value consciously.

We also each chose an aspect of Value that appealed to us, and wrote (or are writing, ahem) a post on this topic.

Here's the schedule for our lessons:

Tuesday, 23rd: Understanding Value at Where the Orchids Grow
Wednesday, 24th: Leading the Eye at Badskirt
Thursday, 25th: Value Patterns at Stitched in Color
Friday, 26th: Value Dynamics by Blue Elephant Stitches

Then, the following week, we will each post tutorials for our respective quilts.  

You can make a quilt using one of our patterns, or make something completely different.  This is just a place to experiment and become more confident with value in our quilt patterns!

We have a Flickr group set up, so please join the group!  We plan to spend lots of time over there chatting up a storm about value in quilts, uploading tons of in-progress photos, and seeing examples of your projects where you've used value to highlight a design.

On November 30th, there will be a link party, where you can show off what you've made, inspired by this series!

P.S. please go check out the intro posts from my other three partners in crime, you may find some info I missed!

Finished Basket Quilt!!

As of today, this is the item that I would grab and run with if our house were on fire (once the kids and hubby were safe, of course!)  Do you ever do this little exercise in your mind?  It's really just a question of what's so important to you that you can't replace?  I think a lot of people say it's their photo albums, but I don't have any of those.

The fact is that I often come up empty when I think of this. It's a good little reminder to me that every ITEM can be replaced.  But people, and the memories you have of them, are a one time deal and you can't go to Walmart for new ones.

Actually, there are a few pieces of furniture that are special to me, and as far as value, I'd be smartest to take my sewing machine!  But realistically, I'm not going to be hauling them around, so I think I'll settle for this quilt!

sewing room in progress - quilting to resume shortly

(an old quilt i found which i adore...that orange back and binding...but which needs a bit of work.  someone had the brilliant idea to use it as a tree skirt and hacked a big hole in the middle)

well, really that quilt is just filler right now, cause i don't have a lot to show you at the moment.  yes, i'm painting!  and working on getting my sewing room all gussied up.  thanks so much to each one of you for giving me your thoughts and advice on my sewing room quandary.  (seriously, you should go read the comments on the last post, there's some great ideas there!)

it was great to hear about how you folks have worked with your own homes to make a sewing room work for you.  i know that a lot of you may have smaller homes than i do!

quite a few advised me to stay in my dining room.  oh, i so agree.  only problem being that i'm a messy person who hates mess.  so i'm unhappy when my house is a mess, but i leave messes around me everywhere.  and i tend to be a collector.  no, not a hoarder, a collector:)

so i've decided to move to the basement.  and yes, I will bring my machine up and sew upstairs sometimes.  when i'm quilting a large quilt, or working one one big project, it's worth my time to haul my stuff upstairs.

and yes, your advice to paint?  of course!  i'm known to use a fresh coat of paint as a solution to any problem, which isn't always a good thing, my husband would tell you.  but this time, i had told myself that it wasn't worth the time it would take, i should rather be spending that time finishing up quilting stuff, rather than making my sewing room pretty.

but you cheered me on, so i'm painting!  and i chose to switch my basement rooms around so my former guest room will now be my sewing room.  it's bigger, and it has a concrete floor, so i can paint it a funky color!

so hopefully i'll be back to regular quilting stuff in a few days!

and about that Value Quiltalong?  Yes, it's happening, but i was getting a bit ahead of myself.  It's coming at the end of October...

Sewing Room Quandary

Ugly photo alert!!

and "possible-boring-content-for-most-of-you" alert!!

In our 9 years of living in this house, I'm sure I've changed my sewing room location at least 8 times.  Right now my only two options seem to be the dining room, where I have it currently, or the basement spare bedroom, which I had it for a few years before this.

I have SO enjoyed having it in my dining room, but I'm rethinking it again.  I'm (almost) admitting defeat and heading back to my dingy basement corner.

Above you see my dining room/sewing room.  It's open to the kitchen, the living room, and is pretty much what you see when you first walk in the house.  It is usually quite messy.  I'm SO sick of this, which is why I'm even thinking of moving in the first place.

And here's my basement room, sitting pretty much empty.  Kinda ugly, but it has a door on it!

So here's the pros and cons:

Upstairs dining room pros

- Big sunny windows which make for awesome photos.
- Big sunny windows which overlook my kids outdoor playing area
- Right next to the kitchen and laundry, so I can squeeze in a bit of sewing whenever I feel like it.
- In the evening I can sew and chat with Duane while he reads in his chair.

Upstairs dining room cons

- a very messy first impression for anyone
- no room for a design wall (which at first I thought I didn't miss, but now I do.  And I almost wonder if my work hasn't suffered a bit for not having one)

And then the basement is basically the opposites of all this:


- Away from the main part of the house so I can give a (false-ish) better impression to guests
- Has a design wall
- And a closet


- Terrible lighting
- Orange carpet
- Sickly yellow walls

Ok, I don't blame you for not reading this boring monologue, but I think I've already decided that I'll be making the pilgrimage back downstairs.  Don't worry, I don't think it will affect the amount of quilting I get done!

Just to reward you for those less than inspiring photos, here's a little UFO I finished up today.  It's been sitting for such a long time, and today I saw it there with it's backing and a pillow form all ready to put together!  And I thought I was so smart, I'd just finish this thing up in no time.

Then I came up against the same wall that I obviously did many months ago, the original reason why it got set aside.  I didn't have a small enough pillow form.  grrrrr... but I was not to be stopped today!  So I took the next biggest size, and chopped it off.  Yes, I just hacked right through that pillow form.  And then I serged the two sides that I'd cut off.  And it worked great!

Then I didn't have a zipper, and, oh well, I finished it somehow!

I want to quickly insert that I LOVE this exact color/fabric combo and definitely want to work with it some more!

But now my final dilemma, do you ever have this one?  I finished this pillow.  I do NOT need any more pillows.  It would make a cute little gift, but I'm not quite happy with the quality.  (The zipper that I improvised with just doesn't look that hot.  Of course I was smarter than to show that side to you!)

So once more I'm stuck with one of these things that I made and I don't need, but I'm too sheepish/embarrassed to give it away.  And it's so small that it has no earthly use anyways!

a peak at my value quilt

    I've been doggedly plugging away on this little beast.  Hoping to get it quilted this week, and then I'll be showing it to you sometime next week!  

      Yes, I'm joining Amy, Leila, and Rachel, in a fun little series on using value (light, medium, and dark) in your quilts.  There's gonna be some great  info flying around, me thinks.  

We'll be starting next week, so mark it on your quilty calendar!