Adding Randomness to a Quilt

In the fall of 2021, I was listening to this episode of Let’s Learn Everything and Tom Lum was talking about randomness. I thought to myself, hm, what if I added some randomness to a quilt. What might that look like? I put that idea on the backburner as I had some other things to attend to first.

Then, I got the idea to sew strips together and join them on the diagonal, with a strip on that diagonal. I sketched the idea and put it down to finish aforementioned projects. When it was time to tackle randomness, I decided to start with this idea.

Sketch of a block with strips going horizontally and vertically, divided on the diagonal.

I made notes about flipping a coin to determine the direction of the diagonal and a color chart corresponding to a 6 sided die.

I decided to have “black” triangles and “white” triangles, so I alternated between black or white and a colored strip. Each time a color was needed, I rolled the die. Here are the six pieces that came out of that process. I used the same colored strips for both the black and white “blocks”.

6 rectangles with alternating colored and black or white strips
I printed these out and cut them up and tried to put them together. I realized that one set would have to be cut in one direction and the other, the opposite direction.
Here they are, cut on the diagonals, with the extra above and below.
I numbered them 1-6 for each of the black and white triangles and rolled the die to determine pairs and got this.
Then I arranged them symmetrically so the coin flip could determine which way the diagonal went.
The coin flip gave me this and I hated it, but I decided to plunge ahead and see what I could do with the leftovers to fix it. I am a quilter, after all.
Now I had squares that were half white/half black with random strips of color. I didn’t try to randomize the pairing here. I thought maybe I could do a checkerboard sort of thing, but that didn’t look right. Then I got the idea to cut these on the diagonal and use a plain colored triangle on the other side.
Here are the 50/50 blocks with a colored triangle. Now, how to place them? Use the die! I went with my color chart and started rolling. I chose the slant of the diagonal for these and got this.
All pieced together
And here it is quilted. I didn’t add randomness here either. I tried to quilt sections that seemed like bigger shapes. I did print out the pieced version and do a quilting diagram, which I mostly followed. I tried to do contrasting colors for the shapes and tone on tone for the colored triangles.

I’m calling this quilt Borders are Arbitrary. Let me know if you have any questions! I will definitely be revisiting this method in the near future.

Picture of the back.

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