24 March 2016


I'm a fool for hand-dyes and batiks. When the entire collection of Hoffman Bali Snaps and Crackers went on sale right around Christmas of 2014, I took the plunge.

The Snaps, 5-inch charm squares, were priced something like $1.22 each for a collection of 40 different gorgeous swirly hues in related colorways with whimsical names like Taffy, Red Hots and Kool Aid. You had to pay full price beyond the first set if you wanted more than one of each sale item.

As I see it, to buy one collection at $1.22 and a second one at $9.98 was like buying two for half-price. So yes, I did.

The Crackers, 10-inch layer cake squares, were a little more pricey, but still half of the regular price of nearly $40. I bought one of each. My little Christmas present to me.

A couple of weeks later, a completely different shop offered three of the prettiest Bali Crackers colorways for about $11 each. !!! No such thing as too much fabric for me!!!

My stash was built!

The only problem is when fabric is THAT gorgeous, it's so extremely difficult to cut into.

Twelve of the pastel Crackers almost immediately went into Faded Gems. Thank heavens I didn't have to cut the blocks. The most difficult part was already done!

Then I learned the grand niece for whom I was quilting would be a nephew...

I quickly cranked out Joel's Baby Blues using a few of the blues, which I must confess are my favorites. I can't often walk away unscathed from green batiks, but blues make me goo-goo eyed.

Nearly four months later I decided, while my quilting friend Ruthie joined me for the Denver National Quilt Festival, to use some of the most attractive blues, purples and greens in a color sampler quilt. I planned a very simple design because I wanted to show off the luscious colors. I began piecing individual blocks with sashing during Ruthie's visit, then never got back to the project until a couple of weeks ago.

I initially planned to sew the blocks together randomly. I played with a few blocks and what little dove gray handpaint sashing fabric I had on hand last year and fell in love with these tiny little charms all over again. Sadly, I didn't have enough of the very pastel gray in my stash to complete the top. For seven months, I searched all my favorite online and physical shops before finding three more yards (the last three!!!) of an almost matching pale gray. I bought all three yards.

The two colors of sashing don't match. But from a distance, I can't really tell.

The day after the gray arrived, I had cut enough sashing to finish the project. The following weekend, I played with the blocks again, trying to determine the best placement.

I tried random again, then I tried fading dark to light across the width of the top. That was followed by alternating the direction of fade every other row. I even tried putting the lightest shades in the center, then working outward toward the darks. For fun, I jiggled the starting position of the light block in each row.

I kept going back to the fade from dark to light in one direction. The next day, the quilt top was done.

In retrospect, I wish I had pieced shadows for each color sample to make another illusion quilt. However, I do have enough leftovers to repeat this experiment again, if I can just work up the courage to break into the stash again! If there is a next time, I will make sure to have adequate fabric for the sashing before I cut.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


  1. That is neat indeed. Showing all the colors that way. And sometimes you have to cut the nice things to make them even better.

    1. Very true, Pat, but that sure doesn't make cutting any easier! Happy birthday!

  2. Looks like a box of watercolors! Very pretty.

    1. Thank you, Curly! I think that might be one of the things I like best about batiks... the watercolor effect.

  3. Wow, that quilt is amazing! I love the gradation across the quilt.

    1. Thank you, Christine! I struggled with layout until I hit that one. It sealed the deal.

  4. I don't blame you for snapping up a bargain, and the colours are lovely. I love quilts which show off the fabrics.
    Smiles from

    1. Thank you, Kate! I'm with you. I love to show off the fabrics.

  5. So the sashing doesn't exactly match - isn't that what quilting is all about? :D (On screen it looks perfect, by the way.)

    Block placement is both the most fun and the most potentially agonising part of quilting for me.... That's a great arrangement you decided on! (I have to admit I kind of liked the "without full sashing" one too.)


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