Gypsy Wife – February Wrap-Up

So I never did get around to posting my last blocks for February and it’s already a week into March! February was kind of a wasted month, craft-wise, for me, but I did get a big burst of things done right at the end of the month, including a second set of February blocks all in lower volume fabrics.

Gypsy Wife - Feb blocks

I spent a lot of January toying with the idea of a low volume Gypsy Wife quilt – it’s such a vibrant, kind of crazycakes quilt that I started to wonder what would happen if you turned everything down a notch. Or ten. And so I put together this block (actually, even before I finished my brights version I’d done this one). It’s very pastel, at least in the centre, and that’s not something I really have a huge amount of in my stash, but I do have a lot of neutrals, so I’m cautiously committing myself to two versions of this quilt. (Cautiously because I’m a little afraid I’ll hit some point where I can’t keep up with two versions, and this will be the one to get put on hold, or converted to a baby quilt or something if I have enough blocks, or I won’t have enough interesting fabrics to make a lower volume version.)

Gypsy Wife - Feb blocks

I keep saying “lower” volume, rather than “low” because I’m not quite sure where to draw the line on what is low volume and what is… just quieter or greyer than a lot of the particularly bright, clear colours I have. Just for some examples, when I was looking through my fabrics, I thought the gold in that honeycomb print was sort of… near enough to a neutral that it wouldn’t read too dark/too loud, but it feels a lot darker than anything in the colour wheel block. Or say that tan print in the lower right block – doesn’t it seem kind of dark? The red and the blue on the bottom left also seem just Too Much, even though they both seemed to be very white-heavy prints when I choose them. I guess with those particular prints, it’s partly that I was looking at a larger piece of fabric and then happened to land on cuts that actually contained more of the colour and less of the white space – so I do need to be more conscious of what the fabric will look like when it’s a very small piece, placed into something else. And I need to remember too all of these are just rather small pieces in something that will be much larger, so they might not feel too dark or too bright once they’re surrounded by all the other things.

Gypsy Wife - Feb blocks

A lot of these fabrics were fished out of my scrap bins and I’m trying to make a conscious effort to use even the uglies – skip back up one photo and look at that truly horrendous pink floral or even this one here with the ladybug: that print has SNAILS on it (one of my most horrifying sense memories was stepping barefoot on a slug squish and even though snails have shells, I still associate them with slugs and that revulsion I still feel when I think of stepping on it – I’m come from a very dry place where slugs are NOT a going concern, it’s possible I didn’t even know they existed and that running around barefoot in British Columbia in a grassy backyard was a Bad Idea). I’m trying to remind myself that even the uglies can have a place in a quilt, but man is it hard to look at some of those prints and feel okay about mixing them in there!

Beginnings of two #quilts -- lowish volume and loud for the #gypsywifequiltalong

These are all my blocks so far – brights and quietish. I guess we’ll see where all this goes!

I need to run for work, but I want to offer up a link to a spreadsheet I spent a ridiculous amount of time building, which can be found here that shows all the blocks in the Gypsy Wife quilt with their name, size in quilt (so your loose blocks should be 1/2-inch larger than this), page location in the booklet, month we’ll be sewing them, and (more importantly for me!) what section of the quilt you can find them in. Here’s a small section of it below:


I’m planning to “file” all my blocks in large envelopes by section as they get made (since they’ll overtake my design wall before too long, especially if I keep up making two versions!) so I wanted to know exactly which section each block belong in. Maybe you’ll find this useful too!

Finally, I really, really need to go, but I want to remind everybody about all the incredible, awesome sponsors we’ve got for this quiltalong!




Oakshott Fabrics


Hawthorne Threads


Fresh Modern Fabric


Fat Quarter Shop


Cucire: Fine Fabrics & Sewing Notions


Crimson Tate



13 thoughts on “Gypsy Wife – February Wrap-Up”

  1. I found it interesting to read about your foray into color values! You might look for a tool at your lqs called a value finder, it is a business sized piece of dark red or green plexieglass, and when you look through it at your fabrics you will see how the “read” . I think you will learn a great deal by keeping up the two vetsions of this project!

    1. I actually have a value finder, both red and green, but I don’t know where it is! (Tells you how often it’s been used…) I should really go dig through some of my things and see if I can find some of my old stuff that I’ve got laying around or boxed up from the last time I moved (5 yrs ago).

      I agree, it could be a real learning experience, doing both versions. They’re very different and I think there might be different things to keep in mind when I work on colour selections for both.

  2. Ewwwww slugs! One of my earliest memories is when I was little and we had a dog,I lifted up his outside waterbowl, and there was a GIANT slug under it ew ew ew. And I’ll never ever forget the sound snails make when you step on them *shudder*

    I’m going to have a play with that spreadsheet! I’m still thinking of making a second Gypsy Wife in all solids; but I’m too lazy right now πŸ™‚

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever stepped on a snail, but ugh, I can imagine it’s gross.

      Ohh.. an all solids version might be fun, though you’d still have to figure out the right balance f what colours to use and where. It’d be interesting, anyway!

  3. Can I tell you a secret? I like your lower volume one best. I think it’s outside the ordinary if what I am seeing made elsewhere. I think it has a calmness in contrast to the hectic pattern. As far as your colour choices, it really like that orange hexagon. And yes, the blue is a tad bold, but these are what add texture to your quilt. Otherwise it might end up a bit wishy washy.
    And I know that there are some of your “ugly fabrics” in there, but I think they look great! That cute little lady bird is perfect. When you’re cutting your pieces so small a allot of the ugly gets lost and you just get the vibe.
    I really, really like it.
    E xx

    1. Thanks! I like it too, but I’m somehow more worried about it πŸ˜€ That blue is so interesting because it seemed SO much lighter when I was looking at it as a charm square, but SO much of the white got caught up in seam allowances (and trimmed off as excess) leaving me with mostly that bright blue. I think the danger with low volume is having it all just kind of grey and blah if there isn’t some variation in value, so I’m trying to remember that these occasional bursts of brighter blues or whatever will actually be a good thing in the long run. Ugly fabrics… yeah,, it’s good to make use of them, I think they’ll blend better in something like this than trying to find other ways to use them – they need something as busy as this quilt to help hide them πŸ˜€

  4. You work so hard! I am so thankful for the spreadsheet! I have been wondering how to keep it all straight and now you have done all the work for me…thank you, thank you! I was also thinking of making two different color ways of this quilt and wondered if I had the stick-to-a-tiv-ness to follow through. The other thing I was thinking was to modify some of the blocks by inserting some of my leftover scrappy blocks, but still the same size OR using a leftover pinwheel center for a block instead of a cut square. We’re not so far in that I couldn’t do….and I do have that color wheel already made don’t I :). I think you are going to love the low vibe quilt as much as the brights, just a whole different way.

    1. You totally could make a second version using that extra block. It’s so restrained compared to your other blocks, it’d have a totally different look! I’m not sure I’ll have the stick-to-itiv-ness either, but I’m just hoping at least to get enough to make, say… a Gypsy Daughter baby-sized quilt, or something πŸ˜‰

  5. Thank you so much for the spreadsheet!! I’m almost finished all my blocks but it’s definitely nice to have all the info in one place for when i start to lay them all out. I’ll be making good use of this! (and i definitely see another gypsy wife in my future!)
    I absolutely love both versions of your gypsy wife… and now suddenly want to make an all low vol one for myself!

    1. It’s such a frustrating pattern and it was driving me crazy that I couldn’t easily tell where all my blocks were going to wind up, so that’s what prompted the spreadsheet! I’m hoping it’ll be useful for people πŸ˜€ If you’re nearly done and know of any mistakes in the pattern… feel free to share!

      On Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 9:17 AM, Work-in-Progress Girl wrote:


  6. Your spreadsheet is much appreciated – I only just discovered the GWQ some nine months post hoc the quiltalong – and am stubbornly resisting the impulse to purchase the pattern after the party is long over!! I’ve done what you mention (making two versions) on other quiltalongs, usually because that way I have a double quilt (a la Emiko Toda Loeb) and I hate trying to find backing fabric to equal my “masterpiece.”

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