Tuesday 15 July 2014

Free Motion QAL - Choosing Colours

Welcome to the first week in the Giant Chevron Free Motion QAL! This week is all about preparation - choosing fabrics and starting to practice your free motion quilting. So today I'll be talking about choosing fabric and showing you how much your quilting will change with practice. Later in the week, I have three very talented free motion quilters sharing their advice on how to get started with free motion quilting.

My thinking behind this was that although we won't be starting the quilting for a few weeks yet, you might want to start practicing some simple quilting (like stippling for example) before we get started on quilting the whole quilt, especially if you're a beginning free motion quilter. I shared some of my advice on FMQ a little while ago, and the guest posts this week will be full of tips to get started or improve your quilting - so hopefully it will get you excited to start practicing :o)

To me, free motion quilting is very much like handwriting; it takes a while to get the hang of creating the shapes and forms and to create muscle memory (so your hands know what to do without thinking about it), but once you do you won't forget it easily. The other really important similarity is that free motion quilting differs from quilter to quilter in the same way that handwriting differs from person to person - although you may be making the same shapes as someone else, the way you execute them will be your own. So practicing and creating that muscle memory, and discovering your 'handwriting' when it comes to quilting are really important. I will explore this idea in more depth during the QAL, but it's a concept that I think is important to keep in mind as we get started :o)

So, let's get on with today's discussion on colour. Some people seem to be able to create a palette of colours with very little pain involved, but others find it a very difficult process. If you find choosing colours hard, there are a couple of really great tools available online which can make choosing a palette of colours easier. If you are making the Giant Chevron quilt, you will need to choose five colours for the stripes, along with a background colour. You can use a single fabric for each of the colours, or use up to six different fabrics - each option will give your quilt a different look.

1. Design Seeds
Design seeds is a really great online resource for colour inspiration - I am actually using an image from Design Seeds as inspiration for my palette for my QAL quilt.

I sent this image to the girls at Polka Tea Fabrics, and they curated a bundle of Cotton Couture solids for me based on this photo (they are more than happy to do this on request - and Cotton Couture is seriously divine!). You could also go on to use Play Craft's Palette Builder to find out the exact shades of Kona cotton that match your photo...

2. Play Crafts Palette Builder

Another fantastic (free) online tool for playing with colour is Play Craft's Palette Builder. The Palette Builder allows you to upload a photo and generate a colour palette using the colours in the photo (you can pick which colours to use from the photo.) Not only will it generate a design seeds style palette for you, but it also relates these colours to the shades of Kona cotton solids that best match. You can use any photo in the palette builder - so it could be a really cool image you found online, or a photo you have taken yourself.

3. Selvedges
Do you have an absolute favorite print that you can't bear to cut into? Maybe a large scale print that has lots of different colours, but is really difficult to use in a quilt? It could be the perfect jumping point for choosing colours for your next quilt. These fabric designer people really know what they're doing with colour - so looking at what colours they pull together in a single print can be a really useful way to find new combinations of colour.

I used this method for choosing fabric for the Marcelle Medallion I made last year, and it was such a fun way to choose fabrics. This Summer Totem print (by Anna Maria Horner) is one of my all time favorite prints, so I used the colours in the print to pull my fabric. You could also use the coloured dots on the selvedge to help you pick out the different shades and tints the designer has used.

Hopefully this post will help you decide what colours you'd like to use in your quilt. If you'd like a bit more inspiration, head over to the pattern release post and check out the fabulous versions my pattern testers put together. 

I'll be back in the next couple of days with the first FMQ guest post!

xx Jess


Karin - BluePip Designs said...

I found some great neon solids and am planning on using a black background and thread. I can't wait to get started!

Katy Cameron said...

Pretty colours for your pull!

Mara said...

Is there going to be a link up of the fabrics/colors we will be using?