What is Low Volume?

Have you heard or seen the term Low Volume and wondered when Quilters began talking about sound?  If you answered Yes, then this post is for you.

Some time ago, I found that I was Pinning and Flickr-faving lots of quilts that had a similar quality about them; but it wasn't until I looked close that I realized what they all had in common.  They all used subtle prints as the background of their quilts, as a replacement for large expanses of what would normally be a solid.

Being a huge fan of scrappy quilts, this appealed to me as I enjoy filling my quilts with as many prints as I can and I soon discovered that Low Volume was the answer I didn't know I was searching for.


Low Volume in the quilting world references simple prints/graphics on a mostly white, cream or beige background.

While the print is usually black or shades of grey, it is not a hard rule.  The key being that the background remains mostly white, cream or beige and the actual print is subtle.


Now that you know what Low Volume is, you probably want to know how to use it.

Here are 9 excellent examples showing how versatile Low Volume prints can be.  Some chose to use it as an allover feature of the quilt, while others mix in pops of bright colors to tell their story.

These photos and quilts are not mine, you can find the original images and read more about their fabulous creators by clicking the coordinating links.  If for any reason you do not want your project featured here, 
please email me and I'll remove it!


As you can see from the quilts shown above, using Low Volume prints adds interest.  There is something about using subtle prints in the background that is reminiscent of old school patchwork and making do with what you have available to you.  It creates a certain warmth and can make a piece more inviting.

For me : I use Low Volume prints for two main reasons.  The first is to add additional interest to a quilt by highlighting blocks or sections of my quilt.  The second reason is because I sometimes struggle with how to quilt large fields of negative solid space...so an easy answer for me, is to replace that field of solid with one or more subtle, low-volume or near-solid prints.  The prints tend to "hide" quilting imperfections that otherwise would frustrate me if it was quilting a field of solid color.

That is not to say that I do not appreciate quilts that use lots and lots of solids.  I actually applaud and admire those who can create such masterpieces...I'm just a scrappy kind of girl.

I hope you'll give low volume prints a chance and find your own ways of using them.


If you are interested in adding Low Volume fabrics to your stash, it is fairly easy to do so as many fabric stores are paying attention to this trend and calling them out in their displays.  Talk to your local quilt shop and ask about low volume prints, they'll likely direct you to quite a few.

Some online shops even offer Low Volume bundles, making it easy for a Quilter to add several prints to their stash at once.  One such example was Westwood Acres, who created a monthly club for 2014 called "Inside Voices"; quite a novel name don't you think.  


I hope you found this little lesson on Low Volume interesting and you'll give these 
types of prints a chance if you do not already use them in your work.