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Make Color Your Friend

By Barb Bergquist

So often, I have heard fellow quilters comment that they just don’t know how to select the fabrics for their quilt because they don’t know how to pick the colors.  One friend tells me that they go to a shop where they will “help” her pick out her fabrics.  Another admits to buying quilt kits where all the fabric is included.  Yes, these are two great ways to make sure the colors in a quilt work.  But now it is time for you to get rid of your fear and boldly choose your own colors.

So are you one of the quilters that are feeling squeamish about picking your colors?  You can start by studying a color wheel.

Color Wheel for Quilt Project Color Selections

Better Homes & Gardens’ explains all you want to know (and probably more than you want to know) about color, so I will let you read that on your own.  So let me suggest an easy way to start.

One of the easiest ways to choose colors for a quilt project is to select a print with multiple colors that you like.  Here is one of my favorites.

Amanda Floral - White Fabric Tribeca Collection by Timeless Treasures

Notice that there are four basic colors here: aqua, lime, lavender and white.  They play beautifully together.  And I am sure you have noticed the many tints, hues and shades of these colors.  So, we see a wide variety of colors that are available to choose from for a quilt project that centers on this print.  Let me show you a few color suggestions to use with this print.

Timeless Treasures' Polka Dot - LimeTimeless Treasures' Spring Basic Collection Spring Basic - Lavendar FabricTwo Way Hearts - Pool Fabric Tribeca Collection by Timeless Treasures

Pretty together, right?! Now let’s add another consideration – the design of the quilt you plan to make.  Are you creating a quilt where you need light, medium and dark selections to achieve the full effects of the pattern or design?  Will it be more striking with vibrant colors, or do you want something that feels more relaxing with softer tints? 

Or maybe choosing light or dark colors don’t matter as much, and instead, the design will pop with the background fabric you choose. A light background may create the effect you are looking for; using the above floral, you may choose a light or a bright tint of lime.  Maybe though, you are creating this quilt for everyday use, so you might choose one of the dark colors in your quilt for the background.  Again looking at the floral print, you could select a deep aqua blue or a rich purple.

Don’t forget the print pattern in a fabric will also have an effect the look of your finished quilt project and may make a difference in your choices.  Remember that you want to make a statement with your quilt so take your time when selecting your fabrics.  Whatever you choose, lay out the fabrics so they overlap or touch each other.  When you look at them, listen to your gut feeling.  How do they make you feel?  Are they making the statement that you desire?  Stand back a little more and look again.  How does it look from a few feet back?  Try switching out a fabric or two, coming back to your first selections in between.  Don’t rush the process; choosing the colors and fabrics is as important as the other work you will do on your quilt.  Once you walk out the store, you will be spending hours working with them.  You deserve to leave with fabrics that delights you, even if you are creating a quilt for someone else.  Why not enjoy working with colors that make this quilt project unique and were chosen by you?  You can do it!  You will be amazed at how good your eye really is when it comes to color.

The above fabrics are featured (while supply lasts) in our online quilt shop,  In our shop, we group fabrics not only by manufacturer, but also by groups that feature fabrics where colors and prints go well together.  You may wish, though, to put a black print fabric from Cotton + Steels Black & White group with a few of Moda’s Chic Neutrals group for your new quilt project.  Or you might want to mix fabrics from Timeless Treasures’ By the Sea and Pink Flamingo groups.  Explore and enjoy; that’s what we’re here for.  And when you are ready, we will cut, package and ship whatever you choose to your door.  We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.  Happy shopping!

Barb Bergquist along with husband, Ron, own A Block Away Quilt Shop.  A dedicated quilter with more than 25 years of experience, she is now actively sharing her love of quilting through the work in her shop.

Contact Us:

Phone: (956) 638-1961
Location: A Block Away Quilt Shop
                 2706 N. 10th Street
                 McAllen, TX 78501
Hours: Mon-Sat: 9AM-9PM, Sun: 10AM-6PM

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