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Arcade Quarters - The Inspiration

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

I think it's fair to say that I've never followed a pattern well. I press how I want (to the side), add extra fabrics or double up, and size blocks up and down as I see fit. I mean, my first quilt was made with a tutorial from Coop Crafts and a lot of motivation to create the quilt I wanted, not the quilt that was easy. So when I came across Alderwood's Pattern Writing Academy, it just made sense - if I was designing for myself anyway, learning the few extra steps to turn it into something people could replicate was just logic.

I've always leaned towards geometrics, and as I started playing around with my own designs, I found myself experimenting with different ways to incorporate stripes into HSTs and other standard blocks. The block design that became Arcade Quarters was one of my earlier sketches that I just kept coming back to until I got the layered effect that I really loved. Then last summer, Libs Elliott posted this photo of her newest collections on a funky striped carpet, and I had a colorway. I had the original Phosphor collection in my stash, and I was just waiting for the perfect quilt to use it on. What better than the first quilt I'd designed myself?

As I started to learn what actually went into writing a pattern and making it approachable, I quickly realized that a 12-color offset ombré was probably more than most people were looking for, so I toned it down to two blocks with 4 feature colors and 2 stripe colors. It was manageable. It was fun to write. And you'll probably see a ton of photos of the still-wild toned down version that became the cover quilt for sure. But this baby was stuck in my mind, and I knew she had to come out.

Entirely a labor of love, I trusted the longarm quilting to Jenn of Knotted Thread who helped me pick out the perfect geometric pantograph to highlight both the diamonds and the stripes. It's backed in a print from the Beguiled collection and I added scrappy flanged binding in reverse (the flange is on the back) which brings it all together.

The final product is fun and vibrant, and reminds me of the bright and youthful colors of growing up in the 90s - think Lisa Frank and laser tag, but a little grown up. Seeing the final product, I knew that there were people who would want to make something similar, so I included directions for cutting the color block units from any fat quarter (or larger) bundle that you might pick.

To create your own version of this scrappy rainbow, use a rainbow fat quarter bundle for the color block triangles and yardage in black and white for the Striped triangles. Then follow the Fat Quarter option in the pattern to create the first layout in the Color Inspiration section. This is Libs Elliott's Phosphor, and you can still find a few bundles of it around, but you could get the same effect with her newer Phosphor 2021 line or another designer with great rainbow collections.

There's countless options with the scrapbusting options included in the pattern. Keep an eye out in the next week for a showcase of the quilts my testers created - they made great use of the options, and a lot of them felt the 90s vibes too!

Arcade Quarters is available in the shop now! Click the button below to grab your copy.

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