In a previous post we created an ombré Triangle Jitters quilt by combining the required yardage from the pattern into 8 fat quarters. With that quilt we used some fabulous ombré fabric by V and Co. This time around, however, I’ll be using solid fabric fat quarters to create an ombré quilt. It may take a bit more brain power, and a swatch card is certainly helpful, but I think we can do it.
Turn a Pattern Into An Ombré Quilt Step #1: Fabric Requirements
These steps can apply to a lot of different quilt patterns, but in this post I’ll be talking specifically about the Nordic Triangles pattern. Step #1 in this process is to convert our fabric into fat quarters. To make the throw size (54” x 72”), the fabric requirements look a little something like this:
- Color 1: ½ yd.
- Color 2: 1 ¼ yd.
- Color 3: ¾ yd.
- Color 4: ¾ yd.
- Background: 2 ¾ yd.
Just like we did with the ombré Triangle Jitters quilt, let’s mash together Colors 1-4, but leave the Background fabric as is. You could mash it all together if you want more of a flowy watercolor look. In fact, if you ombréd two colorways together, one being the “Colors” and one being the Background, and had them meet in the middle that would look amaaazing.
I’m getting off track. But you should totally do that. OK, back to business.
The Nordic Triangles pattern is made with only half square triangles. This wonderful and basic block is simply a square sliced in half on the diagonal, forming two 90-degree triangles. (Thus its name, the half square triangle.)
So even though Colors 1-4 mashed together equals 3 ¼ yd. because they are taken from different cuts of yardage, we know that if there’s just one color and a background fabric, then they will be exactly the same. In this case, that’s 2 ¾ yd.
TIP! If you love two-color quilts, you now know that all you need is 2 ¾ yd. of two different fabrics to make the Nordic Triangles quilt.
Step #2: Convert Those Requirements to Fat Quarters
A very general rule of thumb is that one yard of fabric can be converted into four fat quarters. Is this always the case? No. Unfortunately every pattern needs different things based on the cutting instructions and a tiny bit of math is involved. (Don’t hate me. I’m just the messenger.)
The Nordic Triangles pattern is made from cutting 10 ¾” squares and using the 8-at-a-time HST method. When I made this quilt, I wanted to make it fast, so I threw accuracy out the window and cut my squares 11” – this gave me a bit more wiggle room for errors. I also, however, had to trim the blocks down to size. You can cut your blocks either way based on your affinity for accuracy and trimming.
Here’s where the math comes in – if I need 25 - 11” squares, how many fat quarters do I need to buy? Are you having algebra flashbacks?
I’m a visual person, so to figure this out, I like to draw a fat quarter (18” x 21”) on my computer and then see how an 11" square fits. (You can also use grid paper.)
Oh dear. It looks like this is a terrible use of a fat quarter. After seeing this, I need to make a decision:
- Scrap the ombré quilt idea completely.
- Use bigger cuts of fabric. Probably ½ yd. pieces.
- Change the way I cut half square triangles so I can fit more in the fat quarter.
Ding! Ding! Ding! We’ve got a winner, folks! It’s number 3!
Half Square Triangles are AWESOME for this type of ombré quilt conversion because there are three different ways to make them. Just because the pattern is written for the 8-at-a-time method doesn’t mean I can’t switch to the 4-at-a-time method. Both roads lead to the same place – a perfect HST!
Check out this Easy Half Square Triangle Tutorial with Video!
Step #3: Make a Cutting Change and We’re Off!
After consulting my handy dandy HST conversion blog post I know that I can cut 8” (I’m rounding up) squares and also get the same finished HST size from the pattern. With this new way of cutting I can get 4 - 8” squares from each fat quarter.
Back to that math. Previously we needed to cut 25 squares to have enough HSTs for the Nordic Triangles pattern, however that was when each square gave us 8 HSTs. Now that each square will only yield 4 HSTs, 25 squares needs to double to 50 squares. Still with me?
To figure out how many fat quarters to buy, there's only one more math question left. What is 50 divided by 4?
Did your brain just go silent?
It’s OK, I’ll do the math for you. The answer is 13 with a couple squares left over.
Below is a picture of chain piecing quilt rows. Check out the full tutorial with video!
Make an Ombré Nordic Triangles Quilt Recap
Here’s the skinny in case you’d rather skim:
- Use the 4-at-a-time HST method.
- Get 13 fat quarters + Background fabric
I guess the last 800 words could have been condensed into those two bullet points. Huh. But aren't you glad you read it all? I really made you work for those two bullet points so now the payoff is even greater. Right??
Step #4: Pick Fabrics to Make an Ombré Quilt
An ombré is a gradual stair stepping of colors that has a similar effect of a watercolor fading from one hue to another. It’s a beautiful look! With the plethora of fabrics available to us, an ombré quilt is also a very achievable look.
For a simple ombré, pick two colors on the color wheel. These two colors will be your bookends. Now just fill in the gaps! With the Nordic Triangles ombré quilt I started with a light cool pink and ended with dark warm blue.
In the middle of the quilt my stair steps made a jump from the purple pinks to the light blues. I could have found different fabrics to make that transition flow better, but I really liked the mirror effect it gave the quilt since this design is symmetrical.
My Ombré Quilt Fabrics
All of my fabrics are Michael Miller Cotton Couture. These are some of the softest solid quilting fabrics on the market and they have a beautiful sheen. The background is Cream.
Have you made an ombré quilt? Do you have a favorite fabric line or any tips on picking colors? Share with us in the comments!