I made my son this blue quilt to take with him when he went to college. I hadn't made quilts in a long time, and didn't have a stash of fabric from which to select fabrics. So I went to the fabric store and bought half yard pieces of sixteen different fabrics, all blues. This is the finished result.
After I made this quilt, I made a couple more, and eventually developed a system to making the quilts that would allow me a lot of flexibility in my choices, yet use the fabric very efficiently. It had the added benefit of allowing me to easily figure out how big my quilt was getting. I didn't take in-process pictures until I started work on my black quilt.
By that time, I had made several of these quilts and started collecting fabrics for my stash. I noticed I had quite a few fabrics with black backgrounds, and wondered if they would make a successful quilt. So for the next few months, whenever I saw something I thought was pretty neat looking, I bought a half yard. After a while I felt I had enough, so I got started.
I always prewash all my fabrics. I bring them directly to the laundry room, bypassing my sewing area completely. This way, anything I want to use is ready.
I cut all the fabrics into 2-1/2" and 4-1/2" strips using a rotary cutter. Then I cut the strips in half crosswise, and matched a wide strip with a thin one. After sewing those and pressing them, I cut the strips into "chunks" of three sizes: 2-1/2", 4-1/2" and 6-1/2", as you can see across the top of my cutting table below:
One note: I have found it much easier to tilt my cutting table at an angle. I use a large drafting table, and I have a large cutting mat. I have a series of plexiglas strips 24" long by each measurement I want to use. I cut everything before I start sewing.
The nice thing about working this way is that everything is a multiple of 2". The three "chunks" fit well together in various configurations. I just match up things I like and think look good. I make large blocks 24" wide, but that depends on the size of the finished quilt. Since the block is based on a 2" square, it's easy to figure out when they get to the right size. I just make blocks of various lengths. When I have a few, I will sew them into long rows 24" wide. At some point I will lay them on the bed to see if I need more length.
I only have two rules to assembling the chunks into blocks:
1. The same fabric cannot "touch" except diagonally; and
2: Avoid "blobs", areas of too many dark fabrics, or too much of the same color or intensity.
When I have enough, I sew the long rows together to form the finished quilt top. Once the chunks are cut, it's easy to make a quilt top in a weekend.
I don't quilt my quilts, and I don't use filling. I find a nice fabric to use for the backing, and seam it the right size, tie the quilt every 4" with crochet cotton and then fold over the backing to make a nice wide binding. Then I machine sew it to the quilt top. These quilts are lightweight, wash like a dream, and are wonderful in summer. They make excellent "beach" or "picnic" quilts.
Here is the finished "Blacque Quilt". I wanted the colors to look like they were dancing across the surface. There are 31 different fabrics in this quilt. It's about 72" x 96".