20 Sep

How do you choose yours?

The best part of starting a new project is surely pulling the fabrics. We love the opportunity to trawl through our stash to find the perfect elements for a stunning new quilt, cushion or bag. If you're new to patchworking it can be daunting to know where to start, so we've asked some of favourite pattern designers to share some of their secrets.

Quilt Now favourite, Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily's Quilts fame, is a prolific designer of gorgeous quilts so we think she is the perfect person to start off our exploration of this subject. Lynne's gorgeous design graced the cover of Issue 13.

"I'm always inspired by new fabric lines so those are always the starting points for new quilt designs for me. I sit down with the bundle of the whole line and work out which fabrics I want to keep in and which I want to set aside. You can add your own twist to most fabric lines by really taking the time to choose the colours and prints that will work for your quilt design. Then once I have a pile of prints for the quilt, I tend to add in co-ordinating prints or solids from my own stash to give the quilt a bit more depth and interest and to balance out the colours and scale of prints I need for the quilt design."

Kerry Green, better known as VeryKerryBerry, has a very distinctive style and when she's not stitching up gorgeous clothing she is renowned for her eye-catching foundation pieced designs.

"I like to mix and match fabrics for a new project so that I don't use just one designer's collection and instead it's a mix from my stash with a few new additions. I'm lead by the colour, the story I want to tell and the recipient of whatever I'm making. For something like the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler quilt (based on Laurie Aaron Hird's book) which is made up of small traditional quilt blocks comprised of many small pieces and will be given to my daughter, I am deliberately going overboard on floral prints, small scale geometric patterns and 1930s colours but I've also mixed some more modern interpretations of these features to go with the reproduction fabrics so that the overall effect doesn't get too sugary!" You can watch this project as it grows in the Farmer's Wife 1930's quilt-along.

"For the My Small World Quilt (pattern by Jen Kingwell) which is to be used in a family room, I deliberately kept away from floral prints wherever possible and chose a mix of fabrics based on colour and contrast."

Our favourite Canadian Abroad, Susan Standen, has a highly tuned sense of colour and a fancy for fussy-cutting.

"I seldom use a whole fabric range in a project, tending towards a mix and match approach from the stash. I have a love of tone on tones in bright colours. When I am buying fabric these are the ones I am drawn too, or fabrics good for fussy cutting, and I have to make a conscious decision to be open to more multi coloured printed fabrics. Until I started sewing for magazine commissions I seldom bought fabric for specific projects and tended to buy FQs that I liked and put them in my stash, sorted by colour and then I would just pull fabrics as and when I decided they suited a project."

Kerry Foster, also known as Pennydog, is another prolific pattern designer and she's not afraid to use colours that scare other people witless (we're talking about brown here!).

"For a lot of quilts, I'll use a fabric line. Sometimes I'll take out a colour way (like with the Sprouts Quilt in issue 4 of Quilt Now) from a large fat quarter bundle and sometimes I'll match in a solid to a lesser-used colour within the fabrics. For bags I like to mix it up a bit more. As I need to use larger cuts generally that slims down the stash possibilities. I like to choose contrasting prints and maybe something more fun that doesn't necessarily match for the lining! I don't tend to refer to a colour wheel as I think there are so many colour rules: complementary, analogous, triadic, etc, etc that eventually everything goes together. For me personally, it's more a case of getting a range of value - lights and darks - and print scales to provide contrast. I do like to use scraps too though, and I'm working on an everything goes log cabin quilt to use them up. I'm balancing it with white and pale fabrics to break up the chaos."

Quilt Now regular, Reene Witchard of Nellie's Niceties, has a fierce love of saturated colour and subscribes to the more-is-more philosophy when choosing prints.

"I usually have a colour palette in mind when I start a project but rather than always sticking to solids and basics I'm very fond of throwing all the wild prints in together. I choose prints for a project based on value, by that I mean that I will use a print based on whether it reads as light or dark. The base colour of the fabric often dictates this but sometimes elements of the pattern over-ride that basic distinction. If I don't have a palette in mind I usually choose a feature fabric then pull fabrics based upon colours used in the feature fabric."

Last but by no means least, Jessie Fincham of Sew and Quilt/ Messy Jesse shares her beautiful style. Jessie has just released a free PDF pattern for this gorgeous quilt.

"I'm so changeable when it comes to pulling fabrics for a particular project. Sometimes I will have a quilt idea in my head before I've even ordered the fabric, other times I'll choose fabrics from a set colour palette to fit a theme. Most often I will have a project in mind, pick out my absolute favourite fabrics, which will usually be florals of some variation and then pull coordinating prints and colours to tie in nicely. I tend to gravitate towards lighter fabrics, or prints with a white base tone and then balance it out with 'darker' tones."

So now it's your turn to share. How do you choose yours? If you want to play along tag us @quiltnow #howdoyouchooseyours #quiltnow We'll be keeping an eye out for you on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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