Get tips for making a palette box from designer Jean Wells. Once you have your fabrics collected, join in on our Piece & Play learnalong with American Patchwork & Quilting.

For this year-long series of Piece & Play lessons I encourage you to gather a collection of potential fabrics, which I call a palette box. I chose a print fabric with a large variety of colors as a starting point and then selected solids that echoed that print. I didn't want to match up colors exactly; I just wanted the inspiration print to launch me into the process. Once I'd gathered the basic colors, I pushed the palette, which means instead of including one orange, for example, I chose at least two more oranges that were lighter or darker, brighter or duller. Then I added neutrals; these make the other colors sing.

Once potential fabrics are collected, cut 4"- to 8"-wide pieces from the solids or subtle textural prints and arrange them in a container. This way you have manageable-size palette pieces, they are handy when you are working, and they easily can be put back for safekeeping at the end of each project. Save even your smallest leftovers-the little bits may come in handy for future piecing lessons.