Week 1 Stepping Stones Quilt Along: Fabric Requirements and Color Options

Hi everyone and welcome to the Stepping Stones quilt along! Are you ready to play? <grin> I am!

Stepping Stones finishes at 57-1/2” x 69” (lap size) and contains 30 blocks. During the quilt along, we’ll be sewing up the individual block units first, then assembling the blocks and finally, sewing the quilt top together. This quilt is definitely fast and easy!

Scrappy Precuts Version/Scrappy Fat Quarters Version

Planned Yardage Version

This week, we’ll talk about fabric selection and requirements. I used a neutral palette of fabrics for the Scrappy Precuts Version/Scrappy Fat Quarters Version of Stepping Stones and a bright palette for the Planned Yardage Version, but you may prefer something else.

Stepping Stones can be made either scrappy or planned. The simplest way to make Stepping Stones is probably scrappy, because the block is designed to use both precut layer cakes (10" squares) and jelly rolls (2-1/2” x WOF strips). You can also go scrappy by using fat quarters. For a more planned look, you can purchase yardage.

Let's take a closer look at the design of Stepping Stones so you can begin to understand some of your options beyond scrappy or not.

Scrappy Binding

The first thing you need to know about the design is the scrappy binding. With both scrappy looks (the Scrappy Precuts Version and Scrappy Fat Quarter Version), the scraps left over after cutting the block pieces is used to make a scrappy binding. I happen to like that look, and the idea of using up my scraps. But you might not. If you prefer the look and ease of a single-color binding, you can purchase yardage for that (I list all the fabric requirements and options at the end of this post, so don’t worry!)

Three-Dimensional Look

The second thing you should notice about the pattern is that you can achieve an almost three-dimensional look by carefully placing the lights, mediums, and darks within the block. Using precuts, you can get a pretty good three-dimensional look by simply sorting the layer cake squares and jelly roll strips into lights, mediums, and darks and making the necessary substitutions before you start cutting. For example, if you don’t have exactly enough lights for the large portions of each block, just substitute the lightest medium square and use that.

If you want to use fat quarters and get a three-dimensional look, you’ll need to buy a few extra fat quarters. I list that option in the Fabric Requirements at the end of this post.

If you want to use yardage, you can easily achieve this three-dimensional look by purchasing slightly different amounts for the side strips (the white portions of my Planned Yardage Version). Again, you’ll get both options at the end of this post after we talk some more about color choices.

Focus Fabric

The third thing you should notice about Stepping Stones is that the block has a large section in which you could put a large-scale fabric--you know, those lovely fabrics with big motifs that you buy and then don’t use because you hate the idea of cutting them up small and losing that loveliness? Well, good news. You can use them now.

The option to use large-scale fabrics applies whether you buy large-scale yardage, or fat quarters/precuts that happen to include large-scale prints. As a bonus, if you decide to feature a focus fabric in the large block area, you could use it to pull other colors for your color palette.

Color Options

For me, the best part about starting a new quilt pattern is deciding on my fabric. Sometimes though with all the color combinations out there, it’s hard to decide what to choose!

One option of course is to look at the color wheel. Colors that are right next to each other on the color wheel (such as blue-violet, blue, and blue-green) are compatible and make a good quilt. So are colors exactly opposite each other on the wheel (such as orange and blue or yellow and violet). There are lots of other color combos that work, but unfortunately, a more complete explanation of color theory would fill tons of blog posts! For now, if you simply look at the color wheel and remember that “Neighbors make good combinations” and “Opposites attract” you can use it to make your fabric selections.

Another great way to choose fabrics for a quilt is to look at beautiful color palettes. Design Seeds produces a new palette for you every day, by carefully choosing colors from a gorgeous photograph. For example, here’s a recent color palette.

You can scroll through the recent selections, or use Palette Search to narrow your search by favorite color, season, or theme. Here’s a palette I found under Spring. Isn't it yummy?

Playcraft’s Palette Builder uses a favorite photo that you upload to create a color palette for you. For example, consider this photo taken of my garden.

After I fed the Palette Builder a photo and it produced a compatible color palette based on it. If you want, you can drag those white circles around to adjust the palette. Notice also that the Palette Builder supplies you with the names of the Bella Solids you would need to purchase to create the palette in quilting cotton solids. One warning though! Both of these sites are incredibly addictive! <grin>

Here are some additional color options to spark your imagination

Wanna play? Here’s a coloring sheet you can download and play with.

Fabric Requirements

OK! Enough about color theory and fabric combos. After you finalize your fabric choices, here’s what you’ll need to make Stepping Stones in Lap size--57.5” x 69”.

If using precuts (layer cake, jelly roll)

  • One layer cake (one pack of 40 or more 10” blocks)
  • One jelly roll (one pack of 40 or more 2-1/2” x WOF strips)
Note: You can use the left over jelly roll strips to make a scrappy binding, or you can purchase yardage for a single color binding as listed below

If using fat quarters

  • 15 fat quarters, in a mix of light, medium, and dark
Note: You can use the leftovers from the 15 fat quarters and purchase 1 extra fat quarter to create a scrappy binding, or you can purchase yardage for a single color binding as listed below.
Note: if you want to achieve a three-dimensional look by carefully placing the lights, mediums, and darks within the block, you’ll need these amounts instead (plus you won’t need the extra fat quarter for making the scrappy binding--since you're purchasing more fat quarters here, you'll have more than enough).
  • 11 fat quarters, light
  • 4 fat quarters, medium
  • 3 fat quarters, dark

If using yardage

  • 1-1/4 yards white
  • 2-1/2 yards pink floral (focus fabric)
  • 1/4 yard each pink and green
  • 5/8 yard for binding
Note: If you want to achieve a three-dimensional look, then purchase 2-1/2 yards of light, 5/8 yard of medium, and 1 yard of dark fabric, plus 5/8 yard for binding.


  • 3-3/4 yards

Well, that’s it! You’ve got a week to make your fabric selections and prep them for cutting. To inspire the rest of us while we make our choices, please share your fabric selections in the Inquiring Quilter Flickr group, the Inquiring Quilter Facebook group, and/or on Instagram with the tags @inquiringquilter #SteppingStonesQAL.

To encourage everyone to post photos, I have a giveaway! Even though it's barely Spring, it was so hot here today that I thought maybe a good giveaway would be this quilted coolie (koozie) I made during my 12 Days of Christmas series. It has a chalkboard fabric insert so you can write your name on it and hopefully prevent anyone from stealing your ice-cold drink when the temperatures start to soar.

For a chance to win this truly awesome prize, share a photo of your fabric selections in my Flckr group, Facebook group or on Instagram. If you use Instagram don’t forget to use the hashtags @inquiringquilter #SteppingStonesQAL or I won’t know you've shared a photo! For additional chances to win, post your picture in more than one place—the Facebook group, Flickr group, or Instagram. You have until midnight EST on Monday, March 21st to post your pics for a chance to win. I'll announce the winner next Wednesday right here on my blog. (Help a gal out and leave a comment here to help me identify you if you use a nickname on Flickr, Facebook or Instagram.)

I can’t wait to see the fabrics you choose! See you next week!

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