Friday, February 20, 2015


My philosophy on selecting fabrics and colors for a quilt is a five part process that I have shared in my recent postings. Let me restate them here
FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM 1. find your fabric; 2. find your theme; 3. find your neutrals; 4 find your accent fabrics; and 5 find your pattern.
In the case of the fabrics and blocks I've been working on I already had a pattern in mind. A friend and I had agreed to take advantage of Jacquelyn Steve's free Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM. You can visit the pattern at
The center 6.5 inch block of Jacquelynne's quilt could be either applique or a fabric. I'm not all that fond of applique and when I saw the fun floral fabric at the LQS,I thought immediately how much fun it would be to fussy cut the flowers for the center block. So in this case, the pattern came before the fabric.
Most of the time, I think I find the fabric first and then search for a pattern to go with it. In my travels and visiting local shops, I look for what is on sale. If I think it is a good buy and I like the fabrics, I will buy 1 to 2 yds, depending on the pattern repeat. I have a set of fabrics in my stash that I purchased on a New England vacation in 2013. I tuck these fabrics into my mind and then I search for patterns through magazines and books. I think I have hit on a pattern that will be wonderful for this set of fabrics. On the other hand, I have bought patterns that I like and I'm not sure I've ever made them. I do make bags from patterns, many of them. My husband continually asks why I can't throw the magazines out. You all know the answer to that one. We save them to find patterns to use for fabrics we have. And the books, I have many many books and buy more. After all it is like reading a novel and you learn so much. And, unlike a novel, you will read it again. I hope you have enjoyed my take on finding fabrics and mixing and matching colors. Its been fun. Carol

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


One of the reasons why I don't blog consistently is because I have such difficulty with pictures, loading up, saving, etc. A blog is better with pictures but if you can't get them to appear and save them to your computer, well it doesn't work. That's another post. Today I am going to talk about the third and fourth items in our FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM story, choosing neutrals and accent fabrics. Featured is our focal fabric I've been working with and the neutrals and accent fabrics I selected to go with. Starting with neutral, I went with the obvious choices of white and black. Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame describes neutrals as anything lighter than a brown paper bag. That is a large selection of fabrics but I usually choose a white, cream or tone on tone. And when I'm working with scrappy, I like to use a constant neutral throughout to give the eye a rest. Back to our focal fabric. After choosing the neutrals that you are using, it is time to choose the accent fabrics to go with the focal print.
I selected a total of three accent fabrics and if you look closely, they are three prints. The purple is mottled and falls into the print category. The grey has tiny ovals printed on it and I selected this fabric because the ovals reminded me of the petals on the flower. This is an important aspect of interior design, repeating shapes or motifs throughout a room. Why not in a quilt. The third accent fabric I chose is a small grey/white floral that has a modern vibe. It is probably my favorite fabric of them all. It calms all the bright colors of the focal fabric, purple and black. It is slightly larger in scale than the grey oval fabric and it pulls it all together.
Now that I've shown you my fabric selections, its time to show them to you in a finished block.
So far we've finished 4 steps of the FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM list. The focal fabric, the theme, the neutral and accent fabrics! And we've sewn them into blocks. You can see how the bright fabrics are calmed by the white and the small grey/white floral. Next time, we'll talk about choosing the pattern. In the case of these quilt blocks, the pattern was predetermined. Until next time, happy quilting. Carol

Monday, February 16, 2015


As I've been writing my take on Color Confidence and Fabric selections, I've been running my writings past my friends on quilt and Lose Team. I quilt but I don't lose and they let me stay anyway! Before I delve further into color selection, lets concentrate a bit on theme. Lets narrow our themes down to just three: traditional/transitional; modern/contemporary; novelty. There are many others we could name but most fabrics probably fall into one or more of these three categories.
Lets first talk about traditional/transitional. I put these two together because they can cross over into themselves. A traditional design would include large florals, roses, the "Waverly" look, Colonial design, toiles, and civil war. Plaids lend themselves to traditional when made in warm colors and tones but they can also be fun and playful. Lets not get too bogged down in names, just go to your LQS and peruse the racks and try to select tradtional designs. There are many fabrics that fall into this category and the coloring of the fabrics also plays into the category. A magazine where you would find the use of traditional fabrics and furnishings would be TRADITIONAL HOME.
Next, transitional, which bridges the gap between very traditional and modern/contemporary. I live in Florida and I have many clients who move here from northern and midwest states. In their past lives, they may have had very traditonal interior design in their homes and I help them "tone it down" to a more transitional design with the use of color and furnishings. They may have brought antique furniture or dining room tables with Queen Anne legs with them. We add brighter, more contemporary fabrics to the mix. The 1930's fabrics would suit this type of furniture well and bring it down to a more casual lifestyle. Traditional/transitional fabrics and design are the # 1 preferred style of the American lifestyle.
There has been a resurgence in the modern/contemporary look in the past several years, both in interior design and quilting and sewing. Modern fabrics include geometrics, solids, textures, stripes, flowers that have been "modernized" and more. You could also include Australian/Aborigine fabrics as they include very modern techniques with a traditional vibe. You should be able to identify modern and contemporary fabrics at the LQS because if you don't particularly like this look, you would breeze right past them into the more traditional section.
Lastly, lets talk about novelty fabrics and this includes a wide range of just about everything left. Fish, sailboats, juvenile, baby, Americana,; It's easy to identify novelty fabrics at the LQS
My interior design eye is trained to peruse the racks in the LQS quickly and land on the fabrics that I am either looking for, or that appeal to me. I can quickly eliminate those I'm not interested in. If you could train your eye so that you can eliminate and select, it would help you in your quilting. In many quilt shops, there are so many fabrics on the racks it is overwhelming, even for an experienced fabric selector such as myself. I visited the Keepsake Quilt Shop in New Hampshire two years ago and I was completely overwhelmed at the # of bolts on the shelves. In addition, they had all of their fabrics booked by color. If you were looking for a particular series of fabric, like Civil War, you wouldn't find them all together on the shelf. All the browns would be separated, all the blues, reds, etc. It can be very confusing if you are looking for a particular line. I had less than an hour to shop at Keepsake because my husband was patiently waiting in the car. If I could go back and spend half a day, it would be different! I hope this has helped you to be more comfortable in thinking about themes and grouping them into the three categories I've suggested. Quilting isn't a test and you don't have to be exact. We just need a few guidelines to make beautiful quilts. Until next time, visit your stash and group your fabrics into themes. Carol

Sunday, February 15, 2015


So the first two posts I made about color confidence gave us some background information on quilting terms and the use of black as an accent in design and quilting. As I said before, I had difficulty relating to the terms, light, medium and dark as it pertains to fabric selection in quilting. I think these terms must have been invented when quilters were really sewing with scraps and leftover clothing, etc. In order to have the quilt look pleasing in the end, they just learned to select fabrics with different values. To me it has little to do with color. If you bought a new black dress and wore it to a dance, would someone say to you,"Oh, that is a beautiful dark dress!" I have always wanted to write a book and so the proposed title of the book that talks about Color Confidence is "FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM'. There are five steps to learning how to select colors and fabrics for your quilts!
Number 2, Find the Theme
Number 3, Find the neutrals
Number 4, Find the Accent fabrics
Number 5, FInd the Pattern
These five items can be done in any order you wish but lets talk about them as listed.
Finding the fabric might be your first step as quite often, we go into the local quilt shop and we see a fabric that we absolutely fall in love with. Maybe its on sale and you buy what's left on the bolt. Maybe its not paired with something else in the store, you just love it and have to have. Maybe someone gifted it to you. Then it sits on your shelf and you never use it. One of the things that I rarely see talked about in quilting magazines and articles is the print or pattern of the fabric. In interior design you want to start with a focal point in the room and find a focal fabric from which you pull all of the other elements in the room together with it. I had been planning to sew along with and in the center of the blocks is a 6.5" square that is meant for applique or a focal fabric. I saw this fabric at the LQS and thought how pretty those flowers would be for the center square, fussy cut. It was on sale and the fat quarters were $1.00 so I snatched it up. The is the answer to my number 1 guideline, Find the Fabric.
The next step to finding the fabric is to identify the theme of your fabric. In this case, I would say that this is a modern floral print with a fun transitional vibe. By transitional, it bridges the gap between very tradtional and very modern. It is neither both of these themes. So when I select more fabrics to go with the print, I need to be aware of the theme involved so I don't pick something that doesn't fit. Until next time, have fun playing with your fabrics and identifying the theme. Themes to consider, traditional, modern, fun, flirty, romantic, kid, baby, etc. You know the drill. Carol

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Today I'm delving into part 2 of my take on becoming color confident in fabric choices. In the interior design world, there are many principles of design that we learn in our studies. But I am not going to delve into those or attempt to teach you the principles of design as it just gets too technical. After all, our purpose here is to learn to effectively select colors and fabrics to go into a quilt so that we will love it in the end. Today I'm going to talk about color and value in general. The hue of a color is its name and the primary hues are red,yellow and blue. Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a hue and you get different values by mixing and matching other colors with it. A tint is the color with the addition of white. A tone is the color with the addition of black. The intensity of a color refers to the purity of the hue. I hope that is simple enough. Lets talk about black. A pure black is vibrant and clear. Adding other colors, such as beige, can make it muddy. Interior designers have long known that black is a great accent to use in a room design. A room without black can be very bland. Look around in your own home and see what black highlights you might have that you weren't even aware of. A picture with a black frame, the black fireplace surround, black appliances in a white kitchen, a black granite countertop, a black lampshade, a plaid fabric with a black line through it. Its something you may not notice until you start looking for it. I often use black in my quilts as it creates a neutral place for the eye to land and accents the other fabrics. Above is the first block that I made for Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt. Bonnie provided the suggested colors for the quilt and then I selected my own colors from my stash and purchasing additional. Black was one of Bonnie's constant colors and the blacks I chose were solid, one with a small white dot, one with a green leaf and one with purple swirls in it. Without the addition of the black, this block would be a boring mess. Another change I made to the block was adding a solid purple center where Bonnie had suggested a 2 color 4 patch. I preferred using the solid for something for the eye to land on. You can find out more about Bonnie's mystery quilt by clicking on the Grand Illusion link on the right of this blog. Looking at the block can you identify the lights, the mediums and the darks? The lights are the white and yellow, the medium is the green plaid and Most of the other colors are darks with a similar intensity of hue. Intensity refers to the purity of the hue. HOpefully, I've helped you make some sense of these terms that are prevalent in the quilting world. Until next time, happy quilting. Carol

Friday, February 13, 2015


First off, let me thank everyone who commented on my blog and appreciated the quilt I had made to support Breast Cancer. It was fun and I still plan to make the "bras" but another day on that. Today I am going to start a thread on Color Confidence. I am an interior decorator with 30 years experience putting colors and fabrics together for my clients. I've won lots of design awards and a special award from Waverly Fabrics in the late 1980's when that Waverly look was so popular. I became a quilter 4 years ago in 2010 after taking a beginning class. I was always an avid seamstress and I took to quilting like a duck to water. When it came to trying to adapt my color and fabric selections to the quilting terms of "light, medium, dark and value," it was difficult for me to wrap my head around them. After all, these terms are not descriptive of any sort of color or fabric that I was familiar with. So I bungled along, choosing fabrics and patterns for my quilts and bags and making color choices using my skill as an interior designer. It worked and I churned out quilt after quilt. Then I started hearing from other members in my quilt guild who would say, "I have such a difficult time picking out fabrics." "I'm not good with colors." "I only buy kits so I don't have to pick out fabrics." " Illustrated is a blue and yellow quilt I made with a honey bun and an Eleanor Burns pattern. I didn't have to pick out anything, just choose the two colors that would go in each block. An easy quilt for anyone. So this year, my guild was looking for speakers and I decided that I was no longer a novice quilter and it was time for me to share my color expertise. I'm practicing my speech on you, my blog readers. I finally decided to learn about the terms, light, medium, and dark. I learned I already knew what they meant as it is just about choosing the right tones and colors while pulling fabrics. I just don't use these terms to describe my selections. I don't say to my clients, "why don't we put a medium drapery here." Or "how about some dark wallpaper?" I use terms like pale pink, bright fuschia, and vibrant burgundy. Now how to get that across to quilters? So I've come up with a plan and I'm excited to share. It's called "FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM!" Next time part 2. Happy a happy day! Carol

Sunday, February 8, 2015


I had all intentions to make up the cute bra pattern provided by Madam Samm SewWeQuilt. but it just didn't happen. I got bogged down in some charity quilts I was tasked to make for our guild meeting this coming thursday. So instead, I'm going to share with you the quilt I made last year for my church. A group of our ladies participates in raising funds to support Breast Cancer in our local area. The first year they participated, they raised over $7500 and won the competition! We are a small church and maybe 10 ladies participated so that is amazing. Last year I decided to make a quilt for them to raise funds.
I had the pink breast cancer fabric but needed more so I made a trip to A&E Pharmacy in Pensacola to find the little bra fabric and a few others. If you are ever in the Pensacola, Fl area make sure to stop by A&E Pharmacy which is not only a pharmacy but a general store and a huge fabric shop. Did I say huge? They have nearly every fabric imaginable and if you can't find it there, it might not be available. I didn't have a pattern but I saw a quilt pictured in a magazine that I felt would be easy to copy. 9 patches out of 1.5" strips and squares and some other things sewn together. It made up so nicely and was well received. I'll be making another for them this year and maybe even attempt to make those bras. Stitchin By The Lake Tea Leaf Quilts Books, Hooks, Sticks, etc this is your next stop....( sorry about this ladies) Seams To Be Sew Stitchen' My Life Away Feb 9th Stitchin By The Lake Tea Leaf Quilts Books, Hooks, Sticks, etc Seams To Be Sew Stitchen' My Life Away sorry to hear you had to drop out…