7 stash-busting batik patterns

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September quilt from Quilt BatikAre there batiks in your stash? Chances are if you have any, you have many. Maybe it’s just the people I know, but in talking with quilters about fabrics, I’ve found that when it comes to batiks, those who like them really, really like them. They don’t just have a few batiks in their stash, they have a batik stash. Does that describe you? Doesn’t it feel good to know you’re not alone?

What is it about batik textiles that makes them so irresistible? We asked three authors who really know their batiks: Karla Alexander, Kim Brackett, and Cheryl Brown. Read on to learn what they have to say and to find some great batik quilt ideas. Then check out their books for more batik patterns.

Eight-time author Karla Alexander has used batiks for years in her Stack the Deck quilts. For her, it’s all about the color. “First, I love vivid colors that more often than not appear as a solid from a distance, providing the colorway I’m seeking but without that flat one-color look,” Karla says. “I can find the colors I want, usually set into a quiet background that doesn’t steal the show but ends up doing a lot of work for you by adding to the flow of color. A good example of this is ‘Blue Moon’ from Color Shuffle.”

Blue Moon quilt
“Blue Moon” from Color Shuffle

“Second, batiks are perfect for creating a gradated effect. I search for pieces that have three or more colors in a non-stylized organic pattern, for example, vines and leaves. These winding designs can lead the eye to another color without ever creating a hard line. I can move from an inky dark purple to a light yellow without seeing the seam. ‘Loosely Woven’ from Stack, Shuffle, and Slide is an example of this effect.”

Loosely Woven quilt
“Loosely Woven” from Stack, Shuffle, and Slide

Kim Brackett is another author who’s very fond of batiks, and she’s used them extensively in her “Scrap-Basket” series of books. Color is important to Kim too, but so is pattern: “I love the variations in pattern and color within the same piece of batik fabric. Because of the way batiks are printed—with different-colored patterns on top of different-colored backgrounds—often when you cut the fabric into smaller pieces, it looks like the pieces came from several different fabrics.” This makes the fabrics truly versatile; cuts from the same yardage could be used in very different quilts.

Batik quilts from Kim Brackett
Some of Kim’s many quilts featuring batiks, from left: “Sea Glass” from
Scrap-Basket Beauties; “Nova” from Scrap-Basket Sensations; “Bali Sea Star” from Scrap-Basket Surprises

The third author we spoke with is Cheryl Brown, who literally wrote the book on batiks. (Quilt Batik!) Color and pattern are important to her, too, but so is the feel of the fabric. Here’s what Cheryl told us: “I love the beautiful colors and also the variety of patterns. But there is something about the fact that batiks are made by hand that makes them extra special. I love the randomness of the finished product. I also love the feel of the fabrics, which are more tightly woven than cotton prints and as a result, they don’t fray much. That means batiks are a great choice for appliqué.”

Quilt patterns from Quilt Batik
“Power to the People” and “Night and Day” from
Quilt Batik!

These quilts are just a few examples of the beauty and versatility of batiks. Check out these patterns and many more in these books:

Stack, Shuffle, and Slide Color Shuffle Quilt Batik!
Scrap-Basket Sensations Scrap-Basket Beauties Scrap-Basket Surprises

What does your relationship with batiks look like: just met, falling fast, or serious crush? Tell us about it in the comments!

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