In this week’s Sewing In Slippers with Sue, I talked a bit about what gets you stuck in your quilting process. For many of us, picking a color palette is a challenge and can be where we get bogged down and unable to make a decision. There are easy ways to go about it, such as buying a coordinating set of precuts from the same collection. I’d love to share a common method that I use that just may get you unstuck.
I’ve always loved Baltimore Album quilts and I’m so excited that in January 2023 I’ll be introducing the Plain and Fancy Baltimore Blocks. I simply can’t wait! We’ll be putting our own spin on the Baltimore Album quilt which traditionally includes lots of red and green. However, for this project I am relying heavily on my extensive fabric stash, much of which is batiks. I think batiks will lend a contemporary feeling to my Plain and Fancy Baltimore Blocks and provide lots of variety, texture and interest. For those of you who are platinum leaf members, you have access to a pre-recorded class on color theory which is very relevant to this subject. Check it out!
When I was in Texas earlier this month, we did a bit of shopping at the local quilt shop, and I found a fabulous floral fabric that I had to buy. I’m using this large-scale print as my inspiration fabric for my Baltimore blocks project. Actually, I probably won’t use this print in the Baltimore blocks at all. Why not? Well, it is a really large-scale floral with lots going on. What really attracted me to this print was the colors. The background is a salmon pink with some lovely green foliage. It also includes various shades of orange, yellow and dark red. It just hit me as I looked at this print that these are the colors I want to use in my Baltimore blocks. I like the idea of the salmon color and the various greens rather than a bright red and bright green. So this fabric has become my jumping off point for choosing my color palette. Keep in mind, this is just one way of coming up with a color palette. Do what works for you. If you have never tried this method, and you find yourself getting stuck choosing colors, it’s worth a try.
I started off by thinking about my background. A simple choice would be to go with a plain white. However, for this project, I want to add some additional interest by choosing a subtle print. I found a really great fabric with tiny butterflies on it while I was in Texas, but they only had a small amount and it’s an older fabric that’s no longer available. But I have some other ideas for background fabrics. Right now, I don’t have enough of any one fabric for my background so I think I’ll have to make a trip to the store and pick up a large cut of something similar to the butterfly fabric- or as close as I can get.
The goal is to come up with a limited color palette first. This would include your inspiration fabric, background fabric and a few reds, greens and an accent fabric, which for me will be a dark red. Additionally, I decided to include yellow in my color story as well. Choosing a variety of shades in each color will add a lot of depth to my blocks. I pulled several reds, corals and other shades of reds to audition with my inspiration fabric. As I went along, I set aside the fabrics that seemed to pull from the color scheme and rejected the rest. I also chose a darker red batik for that pop of deep red that I was looking for.
Next, I moved on to the greens. I have a great piece of SewBatik Gradations fabric that has shades of green and yellow in it. It was perfect as it provides a range of color choices all in one piece of fabric. I followed the same process to choose a few greens including some darker shades of green. Some of the fabrics, while not an exact match to my inspiration fabric, were a bridge between two fabrics that were excellent matches, so I added those to the stack as well.
In my opinion, choosing a range of shades rather than the traditional true red and green helps to elevate the color scheme of the quilt to the next level. Continue the process by choosing fabrics that fit between the shades initially identified in your limited color palette. These “in between” colors will help you create a cohesive color story for your quilt.
I hope you enjoy the process of choosing colors for your next project. And don’t forget to tune in Tuesdays at 11:00 EST for Sewing In Slippers with Sue on Facebook.