Every month, we highlight a trend in quilting and show you how you can add this hip style to your projects!
Watercolor-look and painterly fabrics are emerging in many different fabric lines. Providing anything from a bold pop of color to a calming ombre brushstroke, these fabrics look great as blenders or the main focus!
Watercolor-look fabric for your shopping list (in order going clockwise):
- Artisan Spirit Falling Leaves by Elaine Quehl for Northcott Fabrics
- Sunshine Serenade by Iza Pearl Design for Windham Fabrics
- Sunday Morning from Dear Stella
- Painterly from Michael Miller Fabrics
- Blossoms from Andover Fabrics
- Interlace from Frond Design Studios
Once a month, we highlight blogs our staff is reading right now!
Don’t Call Me Betsy
Designer Elizabeth Dackson is the paper-piecing queen. Her use of color (especially solids) is so fun. And besides that, she’s a Craftsy teacher, so you know her tutorials are super helpful! Even if you’re not a person who likes paper-piecing, Elizabeth’s blog is so fun to look at. Her quilts range from bold and stunning to tiny and cute. And she does a great job mocking up her blocks in different colorways, so you can visualize the project with your own fabric!
Fresh Lemons Quilts
Designer Faith Jones makes stunning modern quilts that use both traditional patchwork and paper piecing. From common blocks to complicated designs, Faith’s quilts are not only eye-candy, but totally make us want to start digging through our fabric piles. Plus, she gets scrappy with fun ways to use a variety of prints in her projects.
Sew Mama Sew
This is one-stop-shopping for sewing projects. Blog owner Kristin Link (and her talented contributors) offer free patterns for handmade quilts, gifts, clothes, and more. With new tutorials popping up daily, you’ll never run out of sewing ideas! Whether you’re looking for something specific or just want inspiration, this blog is perfect place to jumpstart your creativity!
Trying to ignore color and just study contrast is not an easy task. When looking at fabrics in a store or from your fabric stash, try these techniques to determine the contrast or value. Select possible fabrics for a project, then perform one or more of these tests to see if you’ve included enough contrast in the group. If you need more contrast, substitute lighter or darker fabrics until you have a variety of values.
1. Try squinting. Closing your eyes slightly limits the amount of light they receive and reduces your perception of color, so contrast becomes more evident.
2. Use a reducing tool. Purchase a reducing lens or a door peephole. These tools reduce an image, making color less obvious and contrast more apparent when the fabrics are viewed. Taking pictures with your phone or looking through a camera also works in this regard.
3. Look through red cellophane. This technique conceals the color and allows you to see the continuum of values from light to dark.
4. Make black and white photocopies. Photocopying completely masks color and can give an indication of contrast between and within pieces of fabric.
Fabric is essential to every quilter’s life! We buy it, we hoard it, and we spend a ton of time thinking about it. From the initial fabric choices of our quilt, to piecing, to adding the binding, fabric is so important — and can enhance your project (or make you shake your head at your design wall). And although we work with fabric all the time, sometimes it’s hard to know which colors and prints will make a beautiful quilt that you’re proud of! A Flair for Fabric: Creative Sewing Projects from the Designers at Henry Glass is an amazing resource for fun projects, as well as tips for mixing and matching fabrics with success.
Published by Martingale and compiled by designer Linda Lum DeBono, this book features 14 beautiful projects by Henry Glass designers. Each designer gives a peek at how they design fabric and provides several tips on choosing fabric and matching colors. Plus, six in-depth lessons throughout the book give greater insight on how to make your fabrics play with each other and solves some common problems with fabric choice. Here’s a look at a few of the projects from the book.
Starburst Maple Delight by Janet Nesbitt and Pam Soliday
Funky Flowers by Heather Mulder Peterson
Days Gone By by Little Quilts
All royalties from this book are being donated to Red Cross.
Here’s tips for choosing fabric from the staff of American Patchwork & Quilting and Quilts and More magazines:
“I’ve been challenging myself to break my tried-and-true fabric selection habits — one large-scale print and three to five smaller scale prints that generally match the colors in the larger print. As part of the challenge, I’ve chosen solids as backgrounds that aren’t a color pulled from the prints. I’ve also combined bold larger-scale prints in a quilt, tossing aside the “does that match?” voice inside my head. These little changes make a difference and teach me a new lesson every time.”
–Linda Augsburg, editorial content chief
“When selecting fabrics for a project, I like to start by choosing a simple and controlled color palette. For inspiration, look around you at the objects you surround yourself with. Color combinations can be drawn from a favorite piece of artwork, a book cover or even a favorite outfit. I was once inspired by the packaging on a Starbucks coffee bag!”
–Elizabeth Stumbo, assistant art director
“Color choice depends on the size block I’m making. I like to make small blocks – ideally 4 or 5 inches square. When making smaller blocks it is better to choose fabrics with fewer patterns and colors. Because fabrics get cut into small pieces, a large scale print with lots of color looks very different when it’s chopped into tiny pieces. If you want to maintain definition in your pieces, choose fabrics that have a tone-on-tone or a mottled appearance. Batiks are also great choices when making small blocks. They are tightly woven and pieces are less likely to fray.”
–Jody Sanders, editor of Quilts and More
“I love scrappy quilts, so I usually go overboard by choosing WAY too many fabrics when I’m gathering fabrics from my stash for a new project. But I purposely try NOT to limit myself, because even though I may have gathered three times what I need, I always end up further refining the selection a few days (or months!) later when I come back to start cutting out the quilt. That way I’m still left with plenty of fabric for the project I’m working on.”
–Elizabeth Beese, senior editor of American Patchwork & Quilting
“I find color and fabric inspiration in collections. I love the colors in collections of Aurifil embroidery floss. Using the threads as a visual guide, I select matching solids and prints from my stash. Then I fill out the basic collection with lighter and darker, more saturated/less saturated fabrics.”
–Jill Mead, editor
“Let the fabric designer do the work! Buying fabric from a single fabric collection ensures that your fabrics will not only match, but also have a variety of prints, scales, and colors to work with. If you need to add fabric from your stash, look at the color dots on the fabric selvage to guarantee that whatever fabric you pull will match perfectly!”
–Lindsay Fullington, assistant multimedia editor
Follow along with the blog hop! Each blog will have a fun fabric giveaway and great tips for choosing fabric!
Tuesday, November 18: Launch at Martingale’s Stitch This! blog
Wednesday, November 19: Dana Brooks
Thursday, November 20: Leanne Anderson
Friday, November 21: AllPeopleQuilt.com (It’s us!)
Saturday, November 22: Janet Nesbitt
Monday, November 24: Linda Lum DeBono
Tuesday, November 25: Anni Downs
Wednesday, November 26: Kim Diehl
Friday, November 28: Jill Finley
Saturday, November 29: Amy Hamberlin
Monday, December 1: Margo Languedoc
Tuesday, December 2: Little Quilts
Wednesday, December 3: Lizzie B Cre8ive
Thursday, December 4: Heather Mulder Peterson
Friday, December 5: Jacquelynne Steves
Saturday, December 6: Wrap up at the Henry Glass blog
In the February 2015 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting, designer Jean Wells teaches us how to expand our piecing horizons with a new technique — freehand curved piecing — and shows us how to play with color. The editors were so excited to learn this technique and create their own projects. See what they made below and share your own creations inspired by Piece & Play using the hashtag #apqlearnalong on Facebook and Instagam. And follow along with new projects and inspiration at www.allpeoplequilt.com/learnalong.
Elizabeth Tisinger Beese, editor of American Patchwork & Quilting
Elizabeth says: “I had so much fun making this pillow! I’m not an art quilter at all, so I was a little intimidated by the improvisational nature of this technique, but I ended up getting addicted to it! (I was only going to make a pincushion but got so wrapped up in this that I made the entire Four-Patch Pillow!). I chose my Palette Box by starting with some multicolor batiks that had an interesting mix of brown and pink combined with bits of coral, orange, and green.”
Jill Mead, editor
Jill says: “I find color and fabric inspiration in collections. I love the colors in this collection of Aurifil embroidery floss from a stitch kit from Moda Fabrics. It makes me think of spring. Using the threads as a visual guide, I select matching solids from my stash. Then I fill out the basic collection with lighter and darker, more saturated/less saturated solids.
Lindsay Fullington, assistant multimedia editor
Lindsay says: “I started with a fat quarter bundle of the Hadley collection from Dear Stella. I chose one colorful print and pulled in tone-on-tone teal, purple, orange, pink, and brown to pull out colors from the main print. The darker teals play nice with the lighter pinks. The brown tones the bright prints down and offers an unexpected color to the palette. I loved playing with color placement and the freeform cutting technique. It felt so creative to cut without a ruler and use colors outside my normal palette! It was a very forgiving project and I felt like I could experiment without fear of failure!”