Quilt Along (QAL) Week 1 – Choosing Fabric

by Nico Laudenberg

Feb14, 2021

Take time to do what makes your soul happy


Elizabeth Hartman Aviatrix Medallion

How are you?

Today’s the day: Let the feast begin! We hope you are all happy and healthy and excited to dive into our adventure.

In our weekly postings, we’ll have for you a bunch of information, but we don’t want to overwhelm you. If you have your choices of fabric or chores already made: hey, good for you. Kick back and have a great day. If you are struggling with decision fatigue: pick from our information buffet below to get some help.

This week’s task

Well, we are starting easy: This week’s goal is to gather our fabric. Nothing more – but nothing less.

The pattern calls for 25 fat quarters, but it also provides detailed directions if you choose to work with what you have.

You totally don’t have any idea in which direction to go, color-wise?

How about you make a quilt just for you and pick your all-time favorite colors, without even thinking of any compromise?
Like in: Just – for – you! Mustard and purple? Black and white? Autumn-colors? Powerful pinks, oranges and reds? Muted neutral prints? Hey, it’s your call!

You want a vibrant, bold quilt? Go for contrasts, light and dark, or hues that are on the opposite sites of the color wheel:

Color Wheel Using Fabric

Need some harmony in your life? Fine, take colors that are neighbors on the color wheel.

Get inspiration through a picture. Have a look on our Instagram feed or the FB group. We posted some photos with beautiful colorways that might inspire you. Choose one picture that appeals to you and just focus on the colors. Pick those that speak to you and try to recreate the picture’s essential look. And, as always: trust your guts, don’t overthink – it’s just fabrics, after all, play and have fun!

Use the gray-scale picture of the quilt to make decisions where to use which of your colors. Here you can see the differences in value (that means how light or dark a color is), that sometimes play a more important role than the colors themselves. When you are not sure where to place a fabric, take a picture with your phone and use a black-and-white filter (open the picture, hit ‚edit‘ and choose the appropriate filter, for example ‚mono‘ on an iPhone).

Grey Scale Photo of Aviatrix Medallion

Enjoy all the colors you want, any hue goes with any other hue, that’s just a question of your personal preference.

There’s only one thing you might want to be deliberate with: Clarity! It is very challenging to mix clear (clean, fresh, vibrant) and muddy (muted, dull) fabrics. It just doesn’t work. The clarity of colors is relative, so one color might look clear next to a very muddy fabric but rather muted next to a very fresh and vibrant color. This being said: It’s all about comparing. What does this fabric look like when it meets with the others you already picked? Because: A clean colored fabric will always make a muddy color look, well dirty. Did you ever have a project that made you cringe, even though you loved all the fabrics you picked? But still –  something was odd. Take a second look and determine whether a clear-muddy-mix is the problem.

Clear versus Muddy Colors

Do you see the difference? The fabrics in the upper row are more clear, the lower row shows muddier fabrics. You would rather use either the upper or the lower fabrics in one quilt then mix for example the bright blue in the upper left corner with the muted red on the lower right.

Be aware that the pieces you’ll be cutting are rather small. If you choose big scale prints, they might change the picture and distract from the shapes you want to create.

The same is true for fabrics with a lot of white background.

Talking about background: why not pick a darker background like the navy blue in this quilt here:

Aviatrix using Dark Blue Background made by Nico Laudenberg

Or low volume prints? Not neutral at all?

Find more interesting ideas on pulling your fabrics in Elizabeth’s tip sheet which is only available to those that have registered for the QAL.  It is not too late to register using the link below

What’s next?

Have fun petting your treasured fabric. There’s nothing more planned for this week (remember, we are here to take it easy). Next Sunday will bring you a new newsletter with the next task – making templates (or not) and cutting all your precious fabrics in tiny pieces.

And don’t forget: Keep posting with #gaaqgqal!

Reach out and connect:

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Hashtag: #gaaqgqal

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This post was written by Kathy Johnson

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