New Year – New Quilt: Choosing Colors for a new project

Out with the Old, in with the New!  I am intrigued by Pat Sloan’s latest quilt along – the #SolsticeChallenge, so I have the challenge of choosing colors for quilts.Pat Sloan 182 Day Solstice Quilt Along

Thinking about the passing of time and changing seasons, I was inspired to base my color palette for this quilt on the daily temperatures here in Phoenix, Arizona.

My Colors for #SolsticeChallenge

Color choice based on temperature

Before looking at fabric, I decided on this range of temperatures with their assigned color:

96 – 100+ (farenheit) = Red                                                 90 -95 = Orange

85 – 89 = Yellow                                                                     79 – 84 = Dark Green

73 – 78 = Light Green                                                            67 – 72 = Turquiose/Teal

60 – 66 = Dark Blue                                                               >59 = Purple

It will be fun to see how this quilt develops!  Pat is releasing a new block pattern each Wednesday and I will make my version according to my color chart.  Both weeks 1 and 2 we have had a high temperature of 70 degrees, so I am starting with my turquoise fabrics. Here is block one from Dec. 21, 2016:

Block 1 for Solstice Challenge

The TV news people have dubbed this a “Chamber of Commerce” forecast – the tourism industry loves to advertise our beautiful winter days in contrast to the northern parts of the US that get freezing temperatures and lots of snow.  The first three months of the challenge may be boring, then we will see the jump…we have had 100 degree weather in April!  Of course, the daily variation can be more interesting than just one temperature reading per week.  For instance,the high temperature on Christmas Day was just 55 degrees!

Choosing Colors for Quilts

I love picking fabrics for a new project.  Most of the time I start with a specific color, then move to my stash to pull specific fabrics. Rebecca at Bryan House Quilts details her process for selecting fabrics with a color scheme here.  For a recent project, I pulled some purples.Choosing colors for quilts

There is no set formula for choosing colors for quilts, no matter what “they” say!  My theory is to trust your instincts and work with whatever looks good to you. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. I talk about making color decisions in my book Monochromatic Quilts: Amazing Variety. Once you decide on a broad color family or theme, then the fun begins as you pick fabrics and decide what looks good together.

using a focal fabric to choose colors for a quilt

Sometimes the fabric will lead you to other colors, such as the purple and gold tones in this multi-color green print.

How do you choose colors?  What palette are you using today?  Leave me a note in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

3 Reasons why I love EQ7

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links

How does the tactile experience of quilting fit into the high tech world of computer design?  Electric Quilt developed a software package that has become my favorite tool for designing quilts.  What began as a long process of sketching with graph paper, drafting multiple copies for coloring and then pages of calculations has become an enjoyable online process.  Notice that I did not say it was faster, mainly because I get lost in the process and end up creating seven versions of a quilt in the time it used to take me to design just one!

Let me share the top 3 reasons why I love EQ7: coloring, yardage calculations and free motion quilt sketches!
reasons I love EQ7 color auditions

 

#1 : EQ7 helps you audition colors for your quilt

EQ7 has a great selection of colors, in both fabrics and solids.  You can spend many hours coloring your favorite quilt pattern with just the click of the mouse.  You can also upload pictures of your own fabric stash!

solid palette EQ7palettes in EQ7 solid or fabric

I start in the block library to find a quilt block, then I select the coloring tool and play until something strikes my fancy.  Remember to save everything to the sketchbook as you make changes, so that you can come back to the version you liked best!

Need more help learning to use the EQ7 program?  Check out Beaquilter’s tutorial library or the Electric Quilt website!

#2: EQ7 calculates fabric yardage for your project

I am a former math teacher, so working out all the calculations to figure out how much fabric my next project requires never scares me too much.  But, any time you can speed up the process means that much more time for quilting!  This is another reason I love EQ7.  Once I design a quilt with a certain block size, and set the border size, the computer does the rest of the work.

EQ7 cactus blossom quilt designEQ7 calculates fabric yardage for my project

 

 

 

 

Using the print preview option, I can see that this quilt will need 2-1/4 yd of green fabric, 5/8 yd pink fabric and 5/8 yd of a light background fabric.  Of course, once I set foot in the quilt store, those yardage estimates may increase by 50-100%…stash acquisition is an investment opportunity, right?!?

Related: there are several books about designing quilts with EQ7.

#3: EQ7 helps plan free motion quilting

The final reason I love EQ7 is that I can preview free motion quilting designs before I put the quilt under the needle. I simply print a few copies of the block and sketch my designs on paper first.

reasons I love EQ7 sketch free motion quilting

EQ7 has an extensive library of blocks and it has an EasyDraw function that allows you to create your own block designs as well.  When a single block is printed in grayscale, it becomes the foundation for planning free motion quilting designs.  Sometimes, your original quilting plan may become too complex and having another page ready to sketch helps you find a creative solution.

Related: I had to adjust the quilting designs for a Swoon block.

Why I love EQ7

 

EQ7 quilt design software helps me choose colors, calculate yardage requirements, and plan free motion quilting designs.  EQ7 is practically a necessity for anyone who loves to design their own quilts.  If you get stuck with color selection or frustrated with the math, let this software help you out.  Computers can make our lives easier and the best part is that we have more time to quilt!

What are your favorite tools for the quilt design process?