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For me, the funnest (is that a word??) part of making a project is choosing the palette and fabrics. I love playing with them to see how they work together, adding fabrics in, and taking them out, until I find just the right balance. Sometimes it comes together really quickly, and other times it takes a long time to find what works. However, I know a lot of people struggle with how to choose quilt fabrics. So today, I thought I’d show you my “fabric auditioning” process for my Winter Blues project, which you can get for free when you sign up for my free newsletter.
I knew I wanted this project to be blue and gray- I generally like pretty bright, clear colors, but I felt that in being “true” to the winter season, some gray was essential! So I started by pulling a bunch of blue and gray fabrics from my stash. I knew I wanted a total of 7 fabrics for the project:
First I pulled out of the grays and gray blues:
Then I added in some dark blues. Even though these are dark blues, I chose ones with a bit of “brightness” to them- not too dark, as I needed to start lightening up that heavy, dull gray:
Next, I tried a robin’s egg blue. Not quite turquoise or aqua, and not too bright- because it has to “play nicely” with that gray. Choosing a robin’s egg blue with just a touch of gray or “muddiness” to it ensures that it won’t clash with those grays:
OK- there’s a lot of gray there! Time to start weeding it out… I chose 2 gray tonal fabrics that I really like. I got rid of the one with pink flowers (pretty, but I didn’t want to add in that pink, I wanted to keep the palette straightforward) and I got rid of the one with the cream background for the same reason:
So now I have 6 fabrics, and I need just one more. In looking at the 6 I’ve chosen, I feel like it needs something to accompany that robin’s egg blue- I feel like it’s “sticking out” a bit. I audition some other lighter blues and aquas. The one below is too purple, and I don’t like the way the check is too similar to that gray houndstooth that I already choose:
This is a pretty blue, but not quite right, not “aqua” enough:
I really like the new fabric on the bottom left! But the color is very similar to the small dot that I’ve already chosen. Sometimes, even when you love an individual fabric, you need to throw it out if it doesn’t “play well” with the others (don’t worry- you can give it a good “home” in one of your future projects!!):
That very pale robin’s egg blue paisley is just right- it complements the other robin’s egg blue dot fabric, but it’s lighter in value. And the paisley is interesting and different from all of the other prints. This is it! My final fabric selection:
So that’s it! Fabric selection is a lot of trial and error, but it’s so much fun! And you can arrange and re-arrange your fabrics to your heart’s content :)