Quilt Along: Mirror Maze Week 1

Welcome, quilters and fabric enthusiasts, to an exciting adventure brought to you by the newest Designed to Quilt pattern. Join us on a captivating journey through the mesmerizing world of the Mirror Maze Quilt!

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Over the next four weeks, we’ll embark on a shared experience where we’ll explore the steps, techniques, and creative choices that will bring your Mirror Maze to life. Whether you’re a seasoned quilter or just starting your quilting journey, this quilt along is designed to inspire and guide you every step of the way.

As this is the first Designed to Quilt quilt along, we’re learning as we go, as well. So please, bear with us. If you’ve got any questions whatsoever, ask away. There is more than one way to do this, so choose your favorite:

Quilt Along Schedule

Before we jump right into Week 1, here is the schedule for the QAL. If you’ve signed up to the QAL, you’ll be receiving one email at the beginning of each week. (If you’re late to the party, you can still catch up and sign up here.)

Week 1: May 22, 2023 Choose fabrics and gather supplies (we’re here right now)
Week 2: May 29, 2023 Cut fabric
Week 3: June 5, 2023 Sew HSTs and HST rows
Week 4: June 12, 2023 Assemble and square up the quilt top

Mirror Maze QAL Week 1 Assignments

Welcome to week 1 of the Mirror Maze quilt along! This first week is all about planning choosing pretty fabrics. The assignments for this week are:

  • Gather your quilting supplies
  • Choose fabrics

We won’t go into too much detail with the quilting supplies. If you’re a new quilter, check out our blog post on quilting supplies for beginners, where you’ll get all the info on what tools you need. Otherwise, just gather everything, give your sewing machine a quick check up and you should be ready to go.

And now on to the fun stuff…choosing fabrics!

Choosing your Mirror Maze Colorway

The Mirror Maze pattern includes two colorways – limited-color and multi-color. We’ll be making a multi-color crib size quilt for this quilt along, but we’ll make sure we include tips for both variations and both quilt sizes (throw and crib).

Before you commit to anything, I recommend sliding through the Mirror Maze gallery to get inspired by all the different versions made by our testers and yours truly. The Mirror Maze really is a super versatile pattern and the fabric choices really make such a big difference in the vibe of the finished quilt.

Above are two mockups showing the different vibes each colorway creates. When choosing between the two colorways, ask yourself what you want your final quilt to be like. If you want something more elegant, cohesive, calm even – go with the limited color. That’s not to say that you can’t create a really bold and loud quilt in the limited-color version (just look at some of the tester versions!). I just think that an elegant quilt would be more easily achieved with the limited-color. It also might be easier to create a cohesive fabric pull for a limited-color version, as you’re only working with three different fabrics, so if you’re nervous about pairing fabrics, maybe that’s the way to go.

If you prefer a scrappy, fun quilt, the multi-color version might be the better choice. Mirror Maze is the perfect pattern for using up scraps of all your favorite fabrics, and with some tips we’ll be sharing in a bit, you’ll be able to create a scrappy, colorful, yet cohesive look!

Our Mirror Maze Fabric Tips

Of course, when choosing fabrics, there are some basic color principles that will always work, no matter what quilt you’re making. If you’re a bit of a design nerd, like us, I recommend reading the Quilting Color Wheel article, where we explain the basic color principles and the relationships between colors. It can serve as an amazing foundation for choosing colors for all your quilts. 

If you prefer a more practical approach, jump straight into the Quilting Color Schemes for the Modern Quilter. There are some great inspirational quilts and color schemes that might get some ideas flowing.

But these are all very general rules or rather directions. When speaking of color for the Mirror Maze specifically, there are some insights that we’ve come to while working on this pattern for the past few months.

Probably the number 1 tip I would give is to think of the HSTs as one ‘layer’ and the background as the other ‘layer’. This might seem obvious, but we’ve seen how easy it is to forget this when planning the colors. I’ll try to explain this with two examples.

Let’s say you’re making a monochromatic quilt using three shades of pink. Use the two shades that are closest together for the HSTs and the third for the background.

Similarly, if you’re using a bunch of different prints and solids to make a multi-color version, try to find a common denominator for the fabrics you’ll be using for the HSTs. So, for example, use all small-scale prints for the HSTs (vs large scale or solid for the background). Or alternatively, use low-value solids for the HSTs (vs higher-value solids for the background).

I know the theory is one thing and then practice is another (and just see me break my rules in a minute). But I think this is a good starting point when planning your fabrics for the Mirror Maze.

Our Fabric Pull

Now to show you how we’ve put all this into practice for our version of the Mirror Maze. As I’ve said, we’ll be making a multi-color baby boy quilt (there are some inspirational baby boy color combos in this article, if you’re making a similar quilt yourself).

We wanted to use some of the fabrics we’d previously bought, so we started with this ‘safe’ monochromatic blue palette.

We then felt that it needed some balance, so what did we do? Well, if you’ve read the Quilting Color Wheel article you know that this is the most obvious choice – we added the complementary color, which is yellow. You can see instantly how this balances everything out. It also adds some much-needed warmth.

But of course, as designers often do, we now felt like the contrast we just created is too much of a contrast, so we wanted to somehow tie those two colors of the spectrum together. We pulled out some greens (which is the color between yellow and blue on the color wheel) and a neutral off-white, which we felt really pulled everything together.

We’re working with quite a few colors here (8 to be exact), but the HSTs in the Mirror Maze really let you play with as many fabrics as you like.

Surely enough, we’ll be breaking our own rules, as we’ll be using the royal blue (the second fabric in the picture above) as the background. It’s not the lowest nor the highest in value of all our fabrics. But in this case, we felt like it’s a nice balance to have a selection of very low to very high value colors for the HSTs and the royal blue (which is somewhere in the middle value-wise) for the background.

We almost always like to have the backing chosen when planning fabrics, as well. This is totally optional, I know some quilters prefer finishing up the top and then looking for the perfect backing to go with it. In this case, I knew I saw the cutest jungle/cheetah fabric, perfect for these colors, so we went ahead and bought that. As for the binding…we’ll see when we get there.

Week 1 Conclusion

That’s it for this week, friends. Have fun choosing and pairing your fabrics, we’re very excited to see what you come up with. Next week, we’ll cut into all this yummy fabric together. We can’t wait!

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