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Put your shades on for this scrappy, softball version of the Fastball Quilt

Do you ever have one of those projects that feels like it has taken forever to complete? This

is one of mine. As I was nearing the final edits of the Fastball Quilt pattern, the idea came to me for a softball version as many of my summers were spent in dugouts across the midwest. Both of the samples I had made for the launch of the Fastball pattern were in more traditional baseball colors (red and white) and I couldn't leave my softball friends out of the fun. PLUS my oldest is participating in her first T-Ball league this summer, so I knew this one would be for her. A flurry of brainstorming sent me on my way to find the perfect fabric pull for this quilt, and as I got closer to narrowing down my color choices, I knew this one needed to be scrappy...and the perfect dose of neon.



If you're not familiar with the game of softball, the colors of the ball are...eye-catching to say the least. The color combination of bright neon yellow often paired with red stitches for the seams is designed that way specifically, making it easier to see than a baseball. Since a softball field is smaller than a baseball field, the distance from the pitcher to the batter is much shorter giving the batter less time to see the ball coming.


I started off with my usual look at my Kona Cotton swatch wall, searching for the perfect combination of bright neon yellow/green and more traditional red. But as I was combing through the swatches, I realized there was someone who already knew neon...and knew it well.


Any guesses as to who it could be?


If you guessed Tula Pink, you hit the nail on the head. While I have never used any of her fabric before, I've always admired her knack for color from afar. I'm still narrowing down my personal "style" but I've always shied away from bright color and bold prints so choosing to go with a fabric pull from Tula Pink definitely pushed me outside my comfort zone but it absolutely was the best choice for this quilt.



 

FABRIC SELECTION AND LAYOUT


Sourced from both my local quilt shop and several online quilt shops, I gathered quite a few options from several of her fabric lines to come up with my color palette. I new I wanted a scrappy look to break up the bright neon to give the eye a rest but I also wanted a radial ombré to mimic the 3D shape of the ball.


The easiest part of the color palette were identifying the red ombré fabrics for the "seams" on the softball. I went with the following reds/pinks in order listed below from darkest to lightest:



  • Moon Garden Moonlight Baby Geo

  • Daydreamer Papaya Butterfly Kisses

  • Designer Essentials Solid - Hibiscus

  • True Colors Mineral - Agate

  • Designer Essentials Solid - Persimmon

  • Daydreamer Dragonfruit Lucy


The background lime/neon yellow proved to be much more of a process to nail down the colors exactly how I wanted them...


Initially, I had seven fabrics chosen (as shown to the right) and was pretty happy with the ombré gradient I had selected so I dove head first into cutting and piecing. For this quilt, I utilized the cutting instructions for the "scrappy background" + the Ombré color way included in the Fastball Quilt pattern.


As I began piecing my first set of "seam blocks", I started second guessing myself so I went ahead and completed those, then arranged my cut background squares on my design wall

to be sure I was happy with my gradient...and wouldn't you know, after seeing it all laid out, I wasn't happy with it entirely.


It took me awhile to figure out what was bothering me and in the end, I decided that the value of one of my lighter fabrics in the center just didn't seem to be in the same realm as the rest of my fabrics. My solution was to simply remove the center four background squares and add four more background squares of the next fabric to make a larger center diamond.






The final line up of background fabrics listed from the center of the quilt to the outside edges is:



  • True Colors - Mineral in Citrine

  • Designer Essentials Solid - Mojito

  • Designer Essentials Solid - Limeade

  • True Colors - Hexy in Chameleon

  • True Colors - Tiny Dots in Meadow

  • Daydreamer - Lil Jaguars in Kiwi











After the final decision on background colors, I finished the rest of my "seam blocks" and assembled the top together.


 

BACKING AND QUILTING


For the backing, I chose this adorable Hedgehog fabric from Tula's Tiny Beasts collection. "Who's Your Dandy in Glow" was the perfect fabric to balance and showcase the colors in this quilt.






For the quilting, I purchased the Tula Pink x Aurifil Small Premium Collection 50 wt which includes 10 variegated thread colors. I used the lighter of the two green color options for an all over straight line check pattern for the background of the quilt.













In addition, I used the red option from this collection to do a simple 1/8" edge within all the softball "seams". I wanted the seams to "pop" and just a touch of an outline with no quilting in the middle allowed them to really stand out from the background.





 

BINDING


For the binding, I used leftover fabric used for the red "seams" and created a scrappy binding to really tie-in the overall "scrappy" look of the quilt. I'm happy with how it turned out and love the contrast of the pinks and reds as they weave their way around the edge of the quilt.



 

Overall I'm incredibly happy with how this version turned out and I can't wait for my little ones to use it at my daughter's T-Ball games this summer.



 

Want to make your own? Grab your copy of the Fastball Quilt here.


Come see me on Instagram @jessicasteeledesign for more!

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