Choosing colours.

For many quilters, one of the most challenging aspects of making a quilt is choosing the colour scheme.  Today I want to share some ideas which have worked for me.

If I am making a quilt for a specific purpose/decor, I choose the feature fabric first and then use the colours within this fabric to aid my selection.  For example, when I made a “significant” birthday quilt for my sister a few years ago, I chose a fabric with green and purple because these are her favourite colours.  Then I chose other fabrics ( and Aurifil threads too!) which matched the colour palette of this fabric, being confident they would “go”.

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The border print used in my sister’s quilt.

The pattern I used was by Jenny Rofe and was published in Australian Patchwork and Quilting Magazine, Volume 10, numbers 7 and 8.

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The finished quilt – actually more green than it appears in this photo.

Many fabrics actually show all the colours used in a design along the edge of the selvedge.  This can be a great tool in aiding your colour selection.  Of course you don’t have to stick exactly to these colours and sometimes they “read”  a little differently in the design when they are mixed with other colours, but I have found this is a good starting point.

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You can see the selvedge “colour strip” of my feature fabric, used here to choose co-ordinating fabric and thread colours.

Here is the quilt that was created from these colours  (based on a Robyn Falloon design, but modified by myself).

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The finished quilt.

A very useful tool to help choose co-ordinating colours which “work” together is a colour wheel.  This has a scientific basis.

A colour wheel.

A colour wheel.

Another place of colour inspiration is in home decorating books – try looking in your library.

An example of an interior design book.

An example of an interior design book.

I have found that the more you play with colour, the more aware you become of colour all around you.  The colour combinations in floral arrangements at the florists always inspire me.

Recently, while waiting for my husband at Bunnings hardware store, (I have to be patient in such situations, since he waits for me while I visit quilting stores) I went to the paint department and chose the colour scheme for my next project.  I had a rough idea in mind, so I selected small paint-colour samples and played with these (tried different combinations) until I had a palette with which I was satisfied.  There are certainly plenty of colours from which to choose and small variations in shades can make quite a big difference to the overall effect. By the time we came out of the store,  both my husband and I were satisfied customers!!  Here is my selection.

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Paint colour samples in my chosen colour scheme.

I put these samples in a zip-lock bag in my handbag, ready to be used whenever I visited a quiltstore.  And here are the fabrics I chose to match.

The fabric collection for my next project.

The fabric collection for my next project.

Whenever you see something with a pleasing colour combination, take a photo on your phone  and keep it on file.  I originally saw this colour scheme in a window display of beachwear in Cairns (only I was a bit slow and didn’t take a photo!)

Don’t forget that if you are feeling unsure about a colour, your quilting friends and the friendly staff at your local quiltstore will be glad to give you advice.

Most importantly of all, whatever colours you choose and whatever method you use, the resultant colour scheme must be be that you like.

We at Always Quilting would love to hear how you choose your quilt colour schemes.

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2 Responses

  1. Beautiful! BTW I am your long lost sister & it’s my birthday, please make me a quilt!! LOL!!! ;} I use your same methods only I buy a fan deck of colors at the paint store(s) every few years. My idea of fun!!

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