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March 21, 2023



I like the left one better. Kudos to the beautifully done stripes. I have a love/hate relationship with stripes and one way designs, especially when making half square triangles!


Great example of good vs poor contrast! Thanks so much for taking the time to illustrate this. It's often written in books, but a visual really drives home the point. This is a nice pinwheel block, by the way.


I can’t disagree that the left one is a textbook example of good contrast, but the one on the right has energy! It definitely grabbed my eye first. For me, a few quirky blocks can really add interest. Bigger risk, bigger rewards.


Oh my goodness. I’ve been having the same thoughts for quite awhile. While I love the prints that talented fabric designers create, I notice that very often when used in quilts, the fabric, not the design of the pattern, becomes the focal point. I’ve been studying quilts to determine what makes them successful, and I think that a big part of it is that the fabric doesn’t dominate the design of the pattern. But, as Carol points out, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what appeals to one, might not appeal to another.

T Holzer

Great post! I really don't like large scale prints at all and exactly for this reason. It is the reason that I don't buy fat quarter bundles anymore. I would use large scale for a border still. Are you a fan of Laundry basket and have you heard of her tried and true blend of fabrics??

sue s

I find I tend to put a tone-on-tone, solid, or reads solid into almost every block I make. I have a gorgeous collection that I waited years to find the right pattern for, as I wanted to showcase the larger prints. I know some people would like the block on the right, but I love the left one! To each her/his own!


IMHO it just depends which design element you want to stand out in a quilt…the blocks or the fabric. The block that you featured looks great with smaller prints. The same sized block but simpler design, such as a HST square, may look best with at least one large print. I love large scale prints, but finding the right pattern for them is more of a challenge.


I like the individual fabrics in the right block, especially the green dots. But the darker pinwheel on the lighter background fabrics is my choice for the overall look. In the end it's personal preference that comes into play...something for everyone! Thanks for a good lesson in contrast & value!

Karen Tunnicliffe

Great post! I actually like the block on the right, although I would not have used the green spot next to the white spot. The block on the left definitely shows the design element immediately and is clean and crisp looking. In a sampler quilt with lots going on you have to take that into consideration. In my small quilt group I generally make the “busiest” quilts though. Different strokes. You have such great content on your blog.


Great reminder! And nope, I don’t like large scale prints. Well, I like them, in terms of admiring them! I don’t buy them, though. I avoid medium prints too, usually, except for borders or backing. I stick with tone-on-tone or small scale prints. I don’t like true solids much, but I like fabrics that read as solids!

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