The Violet QAL - Picking Your Fabrics

Yay, it is time for one of my favorite parts of the entire quilting process - picking your fabrics! Whether you are using a bundle from a single collection for your Violet Quilt or you are picking fabrics from your stash, I have tips for you. I currently have two different stacks of fabric pulled as potential options - I'm not sure which one I will use yet!


The Violet QAL - Fabric Pulls


But first, here are some ideas for Instagram posts for this week. Make sure to follow the #violetqal hashtag, use the hashtag in your posts, and comment on each others' posts - I promise, it makes it so much more fun. 
  • Introduce yourself! Post a photo of yourself and give us a little intro about where you are from, how long you have been quilting, etc.
  • Show us your fabrics! If you already have your fabrics picked and ready to go, post a photo so we can see. 
  • Ask questions! If you have a question about whether your fabrics are working, put it out there - hopefully we can help each other.
I am so excited to get to know you better! 

The Violet Quiltalong (Picking Your Fabrics) - Kitchen Table Quilting
I am going to group the tips here into two different sections. The first will be general tips for everyone and the second will be tips specifically for people picking their own bundle from their stash. If this isn't something you have done before, it can be a little intimidating and I have a few little tricks for you.

General Tips

  • Your fabrics all need to stand out from your background fabric. This is the number one, most important tip I can give you - if your fabrics blend into the background, you will not be able to see the pattern well. Your background fabric can be a print or a solid, but if it is a print, make sure it isn't too wild (you can see my post about low volume prints here).  See the quilt mockups below? The one on the right uses a low volume print from the collection. It works, but is definitely busier and makes it a little trickier to see the pattern. 
  • The Violet QAL - Squeeze Side by Side
  • Choosing a Fabric B (the small squares) that stands out is extra, extra important. Because they are so little, they could get lost. To help them stand out, use a darker print and preferable something that is smaller scale. I highly recommend using the same fabric (or very similar fabrics) for all of your Fabric B squares because it helps your eyes focus on the overall pattern. The Homebody mockups are a good example - the one on the left uses a dark, small scale print. The one on the right uses a fabric that collection that isn't very distinct from the background fabric. 
  • The Violet QAL - Homebody Side by Side
  • Decide if you want to make the scrappy or non-scrappy version of the quilt. I think the pattern is fun either way - it will be a little more tame if you make the non-scrappy version and a little more wild if you make the scrappy version. 
  • The Violet QAL - Golden Hour Side by Side

Picking Your Own Bundle Tips

This is one of my favorite, favorite topics in the whole world. I have no artistic training (my degree is in biology!) so I am sure there are lots of technical terms and rules about picking fabrics that I do not know, but it's something that I love to do. If this is new for you, it gets easier with practice. Give it a try!
  • Look for inspiration! My favorite way to do this is to go to Google or Pinterest and search for "color inspiration." Lots of different color swatches will pop up. I rarely end up with an exact copy of any of the ideas, but it is a good starting point.
  • Start with a single inspiration fabric. Most of the fabrics that I use in my quilts have limited color variation - usually they are a 1-2 colors and a neutral or they are tone on tone (two shades of the same color). But sometimes I have an inspiration fabric that I want to use as a starting off point - florals are a great option for this (something like this or this) - and then I will pick fabrics in my stash that match or coordinate with colors in the print. Here is an example from my last QAL - I used the colors in the Princess and the Pea print and pulled coordinating fabrics from my stash. You don't even have to use the inspiration fabric in your quilt! It can be your backing fabric or just your inspiration!
  • A Fairy Tale Tessa Quilt - Kitchen Table Quilting
  • As you pull fabrics from your stash, put your fabrics in rainbow order even if you aren't making the rainbow version of the quilt. For some reason, this will make it much easier for your brain to notice if a particular fabric just does not fit. You do not need every color of the rainbow in your fabric pull (see second photo below). 
  • The Violet QAL - Fabric Pull #1
      The Violet QAL - Fabric Pull #2
    • Take a black and white photo of your fabric. Look at the photo below of one of my fabric pulls - they are mostly mid-valued prints and none of them are significantly lighter or darker than the others. My background fabric will be light valued so I don't want anything that is too close to that. There is one fabric in the middle that is a little darker - it isn't THAT much darker, but this tells me that I should: (1)  add another darker valued fabric to my fabric pull so that it doesn't stand out in my quilt OR (2) I should use it as my Fabric B. 
    • The Violet QAL - BW Photo
    • Use a mix of larger scale and smaller scale prints. I think you can actually get away with using ALL of either - but it is trickier. If you are new to picking a bundle, it is safest to use 1-2 larger scale prints and the rest are mid or smaller scale. It is definitely ok to use a mix of prints and solids. 
    • Can you use fabrics that are a single color? Yes, but have a variety of value and different shades. I am thinking about using a mostly purple/pink combination.
    • Can you use a darker fabric for your background fabric? Yes, of course! I haven't personally tried it, but if you check out #thevioletquilt hashtag there are a couple of examples. 

    Hopefully that helps you. Also, make sure to check the #violetqal hashtag to see everyone else's fabrics. You might get inspired by someone else or you might have the advice that someone needs.

    If you are making the rainbow option, I will be posting info specifically relevant to making a rainbow-y quilt tomorrow but this information should help you, too!

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