When I'm out teaching and when I'm with you in my internet groups.... some of you tell me you find selecting fabric hard to do. You agonize over it. Often second and third and fourth guessing your fabric choices. And some of you have told me it's not your favorite part. (so sad!)
And a group of you seem to get a bit stuck in a colorway. You love those fabrics.. and it works for you, but when you want to break out and do something different you get stuck on how to do that.
I come from the other side of the tracks. I quilt so I have an excuse to cut up fabric and sew it back together. I'm fascinated by how a pattern changes with color placement or placement of an image in the fabric (I'm looking at you fussy cutting!)
Let me share a way to give you more confidence or break you out of color rut. A way to stretch your creative mind ..a way to be super comfortable with fabric choices.
It's called making a sampler quilt.
For a few years now I've been making several sampler quilts during the year. I make just one block a month. (I'll list the current ones at the end).
For each sampler quilt I pick some fun fabrics. It might be my fabric line, it might be a line with some novelty prints in it like the ones above. Or it might be a color combination I'm interested in trying. And since I'm doing JUST ONE BLOCK each month, I can concentrate on JUST that block.
I want to show you what I'm doing with the Sugar Block club and these fabrics. Because these are super fun fabrics and to be honest, I think you might be a wee bit afraid of using them. (am I right?). I can hear some of you asking yourself... "how do I put the fish in with the trailers..... and how in the world do I then add those triangles with the big funky dots ...and pink camera... oh my!?!"
How do they all go into ONE Quilt?
I like to use a solid and make a sampler with these fabrics. BUT think outside of using either Black or White/cream. Any fabric looks fantastic with black or white solids. They really do. Give it a try.. make up an easy project using a base of black or white and it will be spectacular! You just can't go wrong.
But to really LEARN how to make your fabrics work together, choose another color. For my fabric above I went with a gold. I had this gold out on my work table and I was trying it with another project, which didn't go. I sure WANTED it to go, but it didn't. Since it was on the work table, I put it with this fabric line and low and behold.. MAGIC! it is a great neutral for these prints.
And BIG HINT.. it's used in these fabrics already... yeah baby!
Next up add in a few other fabrics to the line (if you happen to be using a fabric line). I added in rust and a green dot on cream. there are a few other bits that are not part of the line in the work pile.
Your next most powerful tool is a group of sampler blocks (LisT AT THE END) and make one a month. Or you can make a bunch at a time, but I find it kind of exciting to do just ONE a month. I open my project box each month to look at the fabrics again and it's like a reward, a birthday gift, and maybe a early Christmas present all rolled into one.... it's exciting each month to play with a new block!
Working block by block, month by month.. I audition. I audition until the cows come home, or it's the first of the next month, which ever comes first. Sometimes the cows come home IMMEDIATELY.. and off I go to sew. Sometimes they take awhile longer. Which is fine, but one month is all I allow then sew up a block! Remember it will have 11 other friends to play with in the quilt.
Here I'm trying out two color placements. It was super fun to hear what you thought about the options when I asked the other day. At the end I'll show you what I went with.
I went round and round on this block. Should the outside 4 pinwheels be the same as the inside? Should they all be different? If different, which fabrics so it didn't look like a hot mess? I decide to play with some of the novelty prints and did 5 different pinwheels
But when I took this photo.. I did an ah-ha moment. Do you see what I see?
The center pinwheel will look so much better to me if it extends to the tips with the rust color polka dot! I TOTALLY love it! Now here is another BIG TIP.. Do NOT sew everything together THEN audition.. try and see how things look with as minimal sewing as possible.
What if you had gone ahead with the stripe in the middle and sewed the block all up. THEN stepped back to see what you thought of it? I would have still wanted to change it, which would mean some 'un sewing' and seriously.. I rather not un-sew.
Audition.. taking photos... and looking at the photos are tools of the trade. .. insider tip
Here are the Sugar Block Club blocks so far.. woohoo!!! I REALLY love them. I ADORE the fabric and I'm so exicted each month to pull them out and make the next block This is kind of a camping theme.. and I will make it lap quilt size to give to one of the guys in my life. So no flowers in this quilt (yes guys.. I know the no flower rule)
These Amy Gibson's Sugar Block club - JOIN HERE
I'm also doing my FREE Globetrotting Sampler (CLICK HERE)
and the Aurifil Designer of the Month FREE mystery blocks. (CLICK HERE, block as the END of EACH interview)
(last 2 links are always found at my FREE Quilt Pattern Page)
What do you think? Have you done samplers like this before?
Did this article help you? What else would you like to know about selecting fabric?
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