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5 Tips for Finding Color Inspiration with Fabric by guest Andy Knowlton

I’m so excited to have guest Andy Knowlton of the quilting blog, A Bright Corner, here today. Andy always has such helpful, practical ideas! Today she’s sharing some really helpful tips for expanding your fabric color repertoire:

Lately I’ve been dreaming up some new projects and I’m finding myself stuck in a bit of a rut.  You see, like many of you, I tend to use the same favorite colors in my quilts. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m wanting to try some new color combos – maybe push myself out of my comfort zone and add some fresh new colors to my sewing.

But we need some inspiration, right?  So today I’m sharing five ideas of where you can find color inspiration for your next project.

Color Inspiration featured by top US quilting blog Diary of a Quilter

Color Inspiration Tips:

1:  Favorite Fabrics

Ok…this one might seem like a given, but hear me out.  Maybe you have a print that you LOVE but you don’t necessarily want to use it in your next quilt. Use the print as a jumping off point- take a look at the colors in the print and see if you can pull a few out to use.  

Color Inspiration featured by top US quilting blog Diary of a Quilter

Here’s a stack of solids I pulled using this print by Elea Lutz as the inspiration.  I just took the floral bolt over to the shelf of solid fabrics and selected the ones that matched!  And if you don’t want to use solids, you can just as easily pull a variety of prints (dots, checks, stripes, etc) in these same colors. Don’t like the pink? Swap it out for a yellow, and you’ll have a color combo perfect for a little boy’s quilt.

It’s actually a lot of fun to do this.

Color Inspiration featured by top US quilting blog Diary of a Quilter

Here’s another example – I love this floral print but it’s too large-scale for my project.  So I pulled these coordinating prints from my stash.

Tip:  If you find it’s tricky to isolate certain colors from a busy print, let the selvage help you!  The colors are always listed there.

Color Inspiration featured by top US quilting blog Diary of a Quilter

 

2:  Adobe Color Picker

Color Inspiration featured by top US quilting blog Diary of a Quilter

I love playing around on the Adobe Color Picker website!  In the top left corner, click on “Extract from an image” and then just drag and drop a photo from your computer.  On your image you’ll see 5 circles – you can drag those around the screen to change the color swatches at the bottom of the screen.

Color Inspiration featured by top US quilting blog Diary of a Quilter

As a side note, Moda has a similar site here, which I find works better on mobile devices than the Adobe one does.  It also will tell you which Moda Bella Solids you need – so handy!

 

3:  Store Displays

Ever see a store display that stops you in your tracks?  It’s quite possible that it’s the colors that draw you in first – I know it is for me!  Take a picture of it with your phone and then later use the Adobe Color Picker site (or Moda Palette Builder) to determine colors to use in your next project.

Color Inspiration featured by top US quilting blog Diary of a Quilter

I snapped these two photos the other day when I was out and about.  It took me just a few minutes to use these photos to create two really cool color palettes.

Color Inspiration featured by top US quilting blog Diary of a Quilter
4: Nature

Color Inspiration featured by top US quilting blog Diary of a Quilter

Nature is a fantastic place to gather inspiration!  I took this photo at my local gardening center, but you can also use photos from your last hike, your cruise to the Bahamas, a trip to Alaska,…you name it.  It’s a great way to make a quilt that will bring back fond memories of a trip every time you use it.

5: Pinterest

Color Inspiration featured by top US quilting blog Diary of a Quilter

Of course I had to have Pinterest here on my list, didn’t I?  It’s the ultimate way to find inspiration while still at home in your pajamas!   Years ago I created a pinterest board dedicated just to color inspiration.  Take a look here.  It’s easy to do and when I’m needing some guidance in choosing fabrics I usually head there first.

I have one more thing to mention here – it’s not so much of a source of inspiration, but it’s definitely a tool I use OFTEN!

Color Inspiration featured by top US quilting blog Diary of a Quilter

I have a Kona color board that I use when I’m working with colors and brainstorming ideas.  I made it using a Kona color card (find one here from the Fat Quarter Shop and here from Amazon), and each little swatch has a magnet on the back. I can arrange and rearrange them to my heart’s content.  I also pull off the chips I like and take them to the fabric shop with me when I’m choosing fabrics.

Want to make one of your own color inspiration boards? I share how I made my board and tips for making your own in this blog post!

Thanks so much, Andy!

You can check out Andy’s other helpful posts such as 10 Tips to Organize Your Sewing Room and How to Make a Back for Any Pillow Size.

Andy also has a great selection of free tutorials on her own site as well as a gorgeous collection of patterns in her shop.

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Dena Martin
    May 8, 2019 at 11:09 am

    I”ve been a quilter for over 30 years but I still have moments when I just can’t decide on a color palette. I’ve been playing on the Adobe Color site all morning! This is a great tool for showing color options you can feel confident with. Thank you!

  • Reply
    kaholly
    May 12, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Some great advice! Choosing colors/fabrics has never been my strong suit. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Ellen
    May 15, 2019 at 7:50 am

    This post has great advice and prompts for using color. Thanks!

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