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Barn Door QAL with Sarah Quilts

Sarah @ Sarah Quilts is starting a Quilt A-long today, using her Barn Door quilt pattern.


This quilt is made with 3.25″ strips, but it wouldn’t be too difficult to modify the pattern to work with jelly rolls, if you’re looking for a fun way to use some of those up! (I’m always looking for ways to use those up.)

Sarah asked me to share some ideas for different ways to color the design for different effects. And y’all should know by now I’m always happy to talk color!

Note: For this post, I’m only looking at the square version of the quilt, and not worrying about the top and bottom border.


When it comes to choosing colors, I like to start by figuring out what element I want to make the dominant feature for the quilt. This design has two major elements, the horizontal stripes, and the triangle shapes. The highest amount of contrast should be between the design elements you want  featured. I’ll explain that in more detail below.

Horizontal Stripes


If you want the stripes to be the main feature, then the most contrast, or visual difference, should be between the stripes. By alternating a light or dark neutral and bright colors along the stripes, it creates a large amount of contrast between the stripes. Alternating the white along the diagonal lines (like Sarah’s original quilt) makes the diagonal lines stand out more as well.


Using that as a starting point, we can start playing with colors. Here’s a version where there is a cool/warm split between the hourglass and bow-tie shape made by the triangles. The color placement brings attention to these two shapes because the colors stay the same across the triangles.


On the other hand, if we use a consistent color in each side, they instead look more like four distinct triangles.



If you want the triangle shapes to be the main feature,  keep the contrast between the stripes to a minimum, and maximize the contrast between triangles.


Once again,  here’s the warm/cool split, bringing the attention to the hourglass and bow-tie shapes, but with less of a striped feel.


And here’s a version highlighting each separate triangle. Compare this to the second design above, which uses the same colors, but alternates with white stripes.


Unless you carry the same fabric across a seam, both the triangles and stripes will still be a design feature, but one will generally be more dominant. If you use similar amounts of contrast between the stripes and between the triangles, you get something that leaves both design elements at equal dominance.


Light values tend to proceed (come forward) while dark values tend to recede (move back). That gives this design a somewhat 3D effect, with the stripes appearing to be overlaid on the triangles. The triangles and stripes have similar dominance in this design, which keeps your eye moving between them.

I hope this inspires your creativity and helps you with your designs. I can’t wait to see what you create!


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