Color Outside the Lines Quilt-Along: Week 1 Tips
There are a lot of colors in this quilt. What advice do you have for picking my three values of six colors?
- Use natural light when choosing colors, or as close to natural light as you can get. Colors often read differently in low light.
- Make sure there's enough contrast in the lights and darks and between the various blocks. For more on contrast, click here.
- If using a print and you have the selvage for it, use the swatches on the selvage to help determine light, medium, and dark values.
- Use a color wheel as you're picking your hues. Colors that are near each other on the color wheel will coordinate well.
- Pay attention to if your prints read as warm (red, orange, and yellow undertones) or cool (blue, green, or purple undertones). For example, some greens read bluer and some read yellower. Sticking with warm or cool undertones in a block can help it look cohesive.
- Don't be afraid to experiment! Blending two colors in one colorway can add a surprising pop to your blocks. Designers Linda and Carl Sullivan of Colourwerx used this trick in the navy and chartreuse colorways, which add pops of purple and yellow, respectively. (Photo 1; fabric is Tula Pink Solids collection by Tula Pink for FreeSpirit Fabrics).
What if I want to use prints instead of solids?
- Absolutely you can use prints! Small-scale prints work best for this pattern as the units are fairly small and a lot of detail would be lost from large-scale prints. (Photo 2; fabric is Mountain Meadow collection by Pippa Shaw for Figo Fabrics). Pay close attention to background color and how the overall print reads when determining light, medium, and dark values.
- If you're using a directional print, you will need a little extra fabric for cutting Pattern A and Pattern A reversed. When cutting those pieces, don't rotate the template or else the fabric motifs will be upside down when you sew them together (Photo 3; fabric is Perfect Day collection by Naomi Wilkinson for Figo Fabrics). In the photo, the directional fabric was cut so that the trees always point away from the center of the block. If you'd like your motifs to always point the same way (i.e. toward the top of the quilt), rotate the template 90 degrees clockwise each time.
What if I want to make a scrappy version? How will I know if I have enough fabric?
Check out the Size Chart to see how much fabric you need for one block, and then pull enough scraps to make your desired amount of blocks. If you want to replicate the effect of the diagonal color placement in the original quilt, pull scraps that read as the same color for each block. The finished quilt will look cohesive even though it contains many different prints.
I'd like to try fussy-cutting. Any suggestions or tips for fussy-cutting motifs for this quilt?
We recommend you use clear template plastic for making Pattern A. Because it's see-through, you can use it to fussy-cut motifs for the star points (photo 4). Make sure to trace the seam allowance on the template plastic so that you can tell exactly what part of the fabric will show in the finished block. You'll also need extra fabric for fussy-cutting. When fussy-cutting, don't cut the print into the 5-1/2" strips specified in the instructions. Instead, move the template around and trace just the part you want in the finished block. That way, you'll have more of the repeat available for fussy-cutting!
I want to make my quilt a different size. Can you help with the math?
We're happy to help with this! The Size Chart gives the layout and sizes for twin-, queen-, and king-size quilts. We broke down the materials by block so that you can make exactly the number of blocks you need for the layout of your choosing. We also added coloring diagrams for each size so you can decide if you want to keep the original diagonal color placement or try something different!