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!
Christmas is a season filled with tradition. It’s the things you do every year, without fail. Like rules, you don’t break tradition.
But families change. Kids grow up. Holidays are shared. Traditions (rules) might have to (wait for it)…change.
What does this have to do with quilting?
I always took pride in our Christmas traditions. There were certain categories of gifts and each had to be filled. Certain music had to be played…movies watched, cookies baked, old recipes fixed. I actually used to think I had to use every decoration we owned each year.
A few years back, aqua became the new Christmas color…wait, what? Not red and green? It took me a moment…but only a moment, to embrace the idea…to throw that red and green tradition (rule) out the window.
Last year I realized that the beloved tradition I’d started at our old house of making St. Lucia Bread, hadn’t risen properly one time at our new house – ten years in a row!(I’d tried all the yeast tricks, too.)
Side note: the tradition started when our girls would dress up like their Kristen (American Girl) dolls in their white gowns with their St. Lucia crowns to serve us some coffee-like substance and “cookies” on Christmas morning – it was adorable!
I wouldn’t use my red and green Christmas quilts anymore – and I had to make new ones with all the pretty blues!
I think a lot of people embraced the blue Christmas – for one or two seasons…but for me it was a NEW tradition!
My original “JOY” quilt pattern was made using a vintage ornament fabric that was very classic Christmas colors. But, in a need to show how a variety of fabrics could be used for this pattern, I had to make this blue one – from both sides of a beautiful, aqua Hoffman panel! (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
Fast forward to grown kids, job schedules, tight budgets, and limited time together, we are considering changing more Christmas traditions this year. We are brainstorming about how to make our time fun and meaningful. What’s interesting is that the more we talk about setting aside our old traditions (rules), the more creative we have become in our brainstorming. It’s as if a weight is being lifted.
Seriously, how is this post about quilting?
When I first started quilting, I was all about the rules (traditions). I wanted to learn every single one of them. Some were paramount to good technique and skill-building and very important. Others were just plain silly. I didn’t realize the difference until the day a wise quilter suggested that rules were meant to be broken.
It was then I realized I had ingested each one of those rules, not realizing that some rules (traditions) were limiting my joy for quilting and my creativity for fear of breaking them.
I’ve noticed now that I watch for the rule-breakers in quilting. Their work excites and inspires me, regardless if the technique is traditional or contemporary.
If you know me personally, you know I embrace tradition. If you are familiar with Lutherans, I am a “page 5 of the old, OLD hymnal” kind of gal!
Don’t let your need for tradition RULE your world…whether it’s Christmas or quilting.
It’s beginning to look (and feel) a lot like winter!
Use BOTH sides of one red Christmas fabric on a snowy bed of winter fabrics.
This little red truck is dashing through a snowy lane.
“Merry” quilt pattern is available in my Etsy shop: HERE
More Christmas patterns:
JOY – Use BOTH sides of ornament fabric, toy motifs, stars, snowflakes, pine motif fabrics…or many other fabrics for this joyful tree. The gifts beneath the tree are made using the reverse side.
Pepita – every year there are many, many poinsettia fabrics on the market – you likely have at least one in your stash – turn it over and see if the reverse would make a beautiful pot for your own poinsettia quilt! Super fun to arrange and goes together quickly! Pepita is named after the little girl in the The Legend of the Poinsettia.
“Holly” is made using BOTH sides of two panels OR BOTH sides of Christmas motif fabrics! This quilt was designed for Hoffman California Fabrics and is featured on the cover of their Winter Projects 2019 catalog!
In the heart of Indiana is a bright yellow door. Open it to find a cute little quilt shop filled with fun, beautiful fabric!
It’s the Yellow Door Quilt Store!
Located in Nashville, Indiana, south of Indianapolis, the Yellow Door Quilt Store carries unique and mostly bright fabrics – maybe a bit of a modern flare, but something for everyone!
I met the owner, Mary Beth, when I popped in to her booth at the Paducah quilt show – I knew right away her fabrics would work beautifully with my patterns. We hit it off and she now carries many of my designs!
Mary Beth’s fabric lines/books/patterns include: Kaffe Fassett Collective, Marcia Derse, Kathy Doughty, Jane Sasseman, and Alexander Henry and many more.
Here is Flora made with BOTH beautiful sides of a QT Fabrics floral:
It was Mary Beth’s idea that I make a pattern of a sugar skull using both sides of one focus fabric. My first shipment of “Flora” patterns now reside (temporarily) at the Yellow Door Quilt Store! #usebothsides
Visit Mary Beth online HERE or in her quilt store!
Visit my Etsy SHOP to see more BRAND NEW patterns and all the favorites that #usebothsides of beautiful fabric!
Do you remember the quilt design of a vase and bouquet using Kaffe Fassett fabric? I mean it was only…(counting)…20 #usebothsides patterns ago!
“Kate” was made using both sides of Japanese Chrysanthemum by Philip Jacobs for Kaffe Fassett Collective. Kate’s Bouquet also uses the same fabric (different colorway) and only two other fabrics for this large, striking look!
Shop “Kate” HERE. Kate is a 36 x 36 inch quilt made using only one focus fabric for the vase (reversed), bouquet (broderie perse) and binding on a scrappy background.
Kate’s Bouquet finishes at 64″ x 64″, making her a lovely statement in a home. The negative space gives her a modern appeal. And the best part: you only need three fabrics to make this quilt! Use BOTH beautiful sides of the focus fabric and table fabric and get one fabulous fabric for the background!
Here’s a pic of my friend, Linda’s quilt, she calls “Rose”. Her version has a calm feel about it and goes perfectly in her newly decorated living room.
Just imagine, you could have a background that mimics wall paper or old plaster walls. So many options!
And, of course, there are always fabulous floral fabrics on the market for designing your own bouquet!
This week’s shout-out is to Margie, owner of Margie’s Sew Much Fun!
Located in the Florida panhandle, in Crestview, Margie has been serving her community since 1971.
Offering over 3500 bolts of fabulous fabric (awesome patterns, too – #usebothsides) and both Bernina and Janome machines, you can be sure Margie will show you a fun time!
Margie is a “repeat customer” of #usebothsides patterns and she is a delight to work with. You can tell from the name of her quilt shop and our delightful phone conversations, I can just tell she’s got a fun shop YOU really need to visit!
When our daughter landed her first job out of college, we had no idea that her new adventure would become one for us, too. I especially didn’t expect it to influence the quilt patterns I’d design!
(If you wonder why I said FIRST job…she’s a musical theatre actor – there is always (ideally) a new job in this line of work!)
Because she’d landed the lead role and we’d never been to South Dakota before, we took a road trip last summer. Of course, along the way we stopped at quilt shops. That’s how I met the owner of the Quilt Shop in Chamberlain, SD. It was just on our list and close to the highway! See South Dakota Quilts & More and OKLAHOMA Backroads in South Dakota .
The owner, Sonya, and I brainstormed pattern ideas for her clientele and soon I was designing bison and other wildlife patterns. She carries LOTS of fun fabric with beautiful reverses!
This summer our daughter landed Sophie in Mamma Mia and off we went again! If you get a chance, stop in Chamberlain, SD – its simply loaded with fabric and has wonderful local art and craft as well.
We were able to visit again and drop off some new designs.
Here’s a big shout-out to Sonja in Chamberlain…and many thanks!
Watching quilts come to life is tons of fun – especially when each one has a personality of it’s own. That’s what happens when everyone chooses a focus fabric for class.
The Heartland Quilters’ Guild has a “Quilt Away” where they retreat for days of classes, stitching, and fun. It’s a beautiful setting for a quilt retreat. I was excited to kick off their weekend with the Grace Quilt Class.
Take a look at how these “Grace” quilts each take on a unique look – it’s all about the fabric and the “floral” designer (quilter)!
Hope to see these quilters again soon and hear more about how they #usebothsides!
My fun, sweet, adventuresome neighbor travels from time to time. When she’s away, I walk over to her house and water her flowers using her vintage watering can.
When the editor at AQ Magazine asked me for a new quilt design using BOTH sides of a floral fabric, I went straight to Merle’s house to sketch out her watering can!
So here she is…Merle’s Bouquet!
Do to the long time between designing a quilt pattern and the publication date, it seemed the day would never arrive. When I got a call from friend Nancy to look in my mailbox, I knew it was time! It was fun for Merle and I to open the issue together.
Here is the original quilt as it appears in the magazine.
This is a version using another focus fabric, making it look completely different! It’s pictured here with Merle’s can.
The RJR fabric has a vivid, painted look with a variety of flowers and birds to add to your quilt. The focus fabric and magazine are available HERE.
Thanks for following my blog! Visit my Etsy Shop for more than 28 patterns plus fabrics and Use BOTH Sides!