Choosing colors for quilts doesn’t have to be difficult but it might not be simple, either!
If you like to play it safe, are in a time crunch, or have run across a line of fabrics you adore, choosing fabric and colors for your next quilt can be a simple, quick process.
I find that every now and then, I want to do that – grab a kit and make it up, quick as possible.
Sometimes, though, I like to have a longer process for choosing my quilt colors and fabrics (including value, hues, tints, size of prints, types of fabrics, etc.) If you like to have more than one quilting iron in the fire like me, maybe you do this, too!
There are two concepts I always go back to when choosing fabric for a new quilt: Color in Nature and Value.
Color: Nature just doesn’t get it wrong. Start observing natural settings, plants, animals, bugs, everything around you. Take pictures are start collecting things for idea boards, whether it’s on your phone or computer folder or actual items pinned on a board.
Value: Nature also doesn’t get value wrong. Winter is the best time to collect ideas about how nature uses value. Some of the most peaceful quilt settings take on the natural values often found outside in winter.
I challenge you to look around you today and collect some fabulous fabric ideas from the nature around you!
SHOP for “Holly” and all “UseBOTHsides” Patterns HERE!
To the tune of “On the Cover of the Rolling Stones”, I feel like singing! At the close of 2018, I happened onto my pattern, “Holly”, featured on the cover of a Hoffman California Fabrics’ catalog!
It began with an email asking if I (along with four or five other designers) would like to try our hand at designing with a new Christmas line of fabric. It’s my understanding that other designers use digital fabric swatches and their computers to design patterns. But since I use BOTH sides of the fabric, I need the real thing!
Click HERE to see the Winter Projects 2019 Catalog by Hoffman California Fabrics.
We had a week for the deadline – but since I needed the fabric shipped to me and then I needed to ship the finished quilt back to California, I had less than that to design and make the quilt!
Frankly, I was in a hurry! Add to the mix that it was Thanksgiving weekend, I was driving six hours on Saturday, attending our daughter’s show, driving four on Sunday, and staying in a hotel (with terribly inadequate lighting) until Tuesday AND, until I could see and audition BOTH sides of the fabric, I had no idea if my idea would work!
Working with both sides of fabric means lots of value-checking. You can’t tell from the front of fabric if the reverse will work. Some fabrics have great reverses and some just don’t. Click HERE for “The Tricky Traits of Value”.
The Christmas tree panel is gorgeous on its own – who would want to cut that apart? I certainly wouldn’t cut it to make another tree. I was also pretty certain that other designers would be designing borders around the whole panel, so mine had to be different.
I started to focus on the fat-quarter panel they sent. I had received a whole box of fabric to choose from and I knew if I wanted to use this panel, I couldn’t just use one fat-quarter of it or even half of them- I needed to use the whole panel. After auditioning many combinations, I decided I could use the panel – BOTH sides of the panel!
So…once again, it all comes down to fabric values. In classes, I have quilters audition many background fabrics and take lots of black and white pictures to see how their background fabrics “play” with their focus fabric. The smaller accents strips are allowed to be a bit “louder”, but the larger pieces need to provide interest as opposed to distraction. So take a look at this picture of the panel. Lots of dark fabric, right? Really pretty fabric…but more darks than lights.
Now look at a close-up of the quilt. Do you recognize those fabrics? …same fat quarters from the panel – just using the other side! Most of the accents strips are made from the front side. The bows, bells, stripes, plaid, and Christmas words make this an exciting background for the Holly wreath. One of the fat-quarters had two stockings printed on it. I used the one on the wreath and I embroidered the second stocking for the quilt label.
The wreath is made using fused holly leaf shapes from the Christmas tree panel. Being a digital print, the fabric has a sparkle of light to it, making the wreath sparkle as well.
Even the pieced binding is made from the fat-quarter panel!
This is a fun quilt to make and so easy to shop for if you use the two panels! While I have no official timeline, my guess is that these fabrics will be in shops by summer!
If you have Christmas yardage in your stash – you can use it! I wrote this pattern to work with the panels as shown OR using your own choices of fabrics. The same method applies to both – it’s all about the value!
Here’s how Holly look inside the catalog!
I designed Phoebee 2.0 using BOTH sides of Hoffman California Fabrics “Electric Garden” as the focus fabric -it’s available in shops now!
Shop all my patterns at my Etsy Shop: Creative Bee Studios (Click HERE)
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“Holiday Revue” is our youngest daughter’s current dinner theatre gig at the Myers Dinner Theatre in Hillsboro, Indiana.
Our first stop in the quaint town was a visit to the old-fashioned soda shop!
Everything about the dinner was delicious and the Christmas “variety” show featured every Christmas genre: we heard beautiful spiritual music, classic carols, and youthful tunes. Featured guests included Mary and Joseph, Elvis, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Frosty, a cow girl, a giant blue bear, Linus, and a stage full of life-size toys.
And there was lots of audience participation! Yes, that is my husband on stage and dancing to Santa Baby! I got a little hug from Elvis!
The show ended my favorite way- with a wonderful White Christmas finale!
Oh, the weather outside is frightful…
It’s the most wonderful time for quilts! Do you include quilts in your Christmas decor?
You might recall JOY, made with Hoffman California Fabrics All Aglow on a scrappy background. The tree, topper, and binding are made from the front of the focus fabric and the gifts are made from the reverse.
This year, I #usebothsides of one Hoffman California Fabrics Supernova Seasons panel for the tree, topper, gifts, and binding! It’s a fun quilt pattern that makes a great gift for a quilter friend, a quick quilt to gift, or to add to your Christmas decor.
For the next six hours, I auditioned 42 fabrics (both sides of each) trying to get just the right mix of color, contrast, values, and feel that would be worthy of this new line by Hoffman California Fabrics.
Phoebee is the pattern and Electric Garden is the fabric line. Of course, I took tons of pictures, mostly black and white, and still this was a challenge…and a gamble! Not seeing the reverse of a fabric before-hand made me a little nervous – some fabrics just don’t have usable reverse sides.
Well, Electric Garden rocks! Vibrant color with a soft, contrasting reverse side was just the recipe I needed. I flipped several backgrounds to their reverse as well, so they wouldn’t compete with the bee or flowers. The next step was cutting out Phoebee and her flowers.
I slept on this mix so I could get a fresh look the next morning. Yes! I began fusing and quilting (on my Handiquilter Avante) right away. Next came the prairie point hanging method, binding, label, photos, writing and producing the pattern, and Phoebee was flying to California on Tuesday, August 7th!
My new friend in California let me know Phoebee arrived safely! Now for the waiting game…
Quilt Market in Houston was November 3 – 5. I was fortunate that several kind quilter souls saw Phoebee hanging in the Hoffman California Fabric booth and shared their pics with me on Instagram! Thank you, friends!
This morning I am shipping Phoebee 2.0 patterns to a very fun quilt shop in (wait for it) Canada!
Original Phoebee and Phoebee 2.0 quilt patterns are available in my Etsy Shop HERE.