Color…. I am asked every time I speak to a group how I choose my color palette for my quilts. It’s an interesting question. To me, the colors I choose breathe life into my designs. If I have a color in a quilt block that does not mesh well, the design can be lost. You need the right contrast between colors to enhance a design.
I am a scrap quilter at heart. So I like a lot of color in my quilts. Once a design is complete, I will decide how many colors I want in the quilt. Then it’s time to “audition” the fabrics!
Here’s how I store my fabric:
Sometimes, all those bins are spread out across my floor!
By laying out the fabrics like above, I can see how each color interacts with the others in the stack. If one of the fabrics sticks out too much or fades from view within the collection, I know that it does not belong with this group.
Here’s how I sort out fabrics when I am looking for lights mediums and darks for one project. By stacking the fabrics as shown in the photo, I can see what the fabrics will look like together and also pick out the ones that may not fit in.
Here’s a photo that shows how I get contrast. The photo on the left shows the first grouping I chose. On the right, you’ll see that by replacing 2 fabrics with a lighter version, I created some contract within the group that will help accent the design.
You do not necessarily need to stay within a fabric line or even with fabrics from the same fabric company. What I have found is that using fabrics from the same genre pretty much insures they will look good together. For example, I use Civil War Reproduction fabrics. In most cases, this is foolproof. However, if I find a fabric that is not from a Civil War collection but fits in well with the other fabrics chosen, I will use it!
What if You Don’t Like the Colors I Choose?
I’ve heard it before. Someone looks at a quilt sample of mine, and will say: “I love the design, but I just don’t like the colors!” Well, if that’s the way you feel about a quilt ….. use the fabrics you like! I’ve even done that myself with a design of mine. Here is a quilt of mine made with the fabrics I love:
And here is the same quilt, made for my son’s girlfriend, in bright colors that I never use!
See how the design works for both? Many quilt patterns are like that. Substitute the fabrics you like and you will love the design and the fabric!!
So, it’s time to go shopping for some fabric, right? When do we actually need an excuse!
Now, it’s sharing time. Do you have some tips on storing your fabric and on color? Share those tips and win a copy of my pattern, Homestead Trail, so you can practice your color choosing! I will draw for the winner next Monday, November 20th.
I do choose randomly from my stash however when in doubt pick out a print fabric you like and pull colors from that. You don’t necessarily need to use the print
You are right, there are SOME patterns that you can use any color, but not every color matches any pattern, i think when you choose a pattern it should speak to you, then you visualize the colors in your head, then gather the colors that you choose and go from there. that’s what i do. I store my fabric by colors and i know each and every one of them. p.s. I always loved the colors you choose
barbara blair says
I find a focus fabric that I like, and choose colors from it to coordinate
Anita Jackson says
My fabric collection is a big pile of a mess. I am always digging through it and picking and choosing so it is difficult to keep it tidy. I just grab and go with attention-getter fabrics. They are my favorites!
Nancy N says
I try to store my fabric by color. That helps me to be able to see what different colors I have within one color family.
I store my fabric by project (pattern or note of book & page number with fabric) and my scraps by color. Having scraps by color makes it easy to pull colors you are looking for for a project.