Scrap Quilt Color Thoughts

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Did you realize that scrap quilts actually have thought put into them when it comes to color and fabrics? Anita Eaton loves to make scrap quilts and today she is going to share some of her thoughts about choosing fabrics and colors for them. 

"One thing I know about myself is that I am primarily a “scrap quilter” in the sense that I like working with a large variety of colors and textures in my quilts. When I was a little girl and first started quilting I didn’t know that there were other kinds of quilts. My grandmother’s and mother’s sewing scraps were my fabric sources. Even then, I sorted fabrics for things that “went together.”

“Crystal Charms” is made from a charm pack and a strip pack with extra yardage for a border. The colors were preselected by the manufacturer. However, it can be made from selected scraps. I am considering making it again in red, white, and black since I have a large collection of fabrics in those colors. I can’t seem to resist picking up fat quarters here and there, and now I have a plastic bin full. By using selected colors in scraps, the design will really pop.

As I work on my current scrap quilt, I think about how I select the fabrics. In my opinion, even scrap quilts should have a theme of some sort. You might call it a set of rules, or better yet guidelines. I much prefer colors that harmonize in some way. Sometimes the color might be autumn or spring colors.

Angels or Angles” is an example of what I think of as autumn colors while “Crystal Charms” is made of mostly spring colors.

Values can greatly affect the look of your quilt. Soft colors are gentle and subdued. Brights are energetic, happy, and fun. Strong contrasts can be used to create dramatic pieces. This little quilt from my “Celebrations” class demonstrates what I mean about the happy energy of brights.

Contrasts can focus on various elements of your design. In the “Entwined Star” light, medium, and dark fabrics were carefully selected to enhance the sense of the sections wrapping around each other. Also, the use of patterned fabrics with nearly solid colors adds to the illusion. The other version of “Entwined Star” is done in 30’s fabrics, the colors are in light and medium tones and have less contrast. You can certainly see the difference when you compare the two.

entwined star bed

Entwined Star using light, medium, and dark colors

entwined star 30s

Entwined Star using 30's fabrics

Actually, I like 30’s fabrics, they remind me of the quilts that my two grandmas made for me. Originally, this quilt didn’t have a border, but when I wrote this pattern as a workshop (where we discuss color, block, and alternative piecing options) I added the blue and piano key borders to the front. To accommodate on the back, I extended it using leftover squares of the 30’s fabrics. 

Do you like scrap quilts? Did you realize how much thought actually goes into the fabric/color selecting? It can certainly make the difference between a great quilt and an outstanding one when you have a little color understanding!

About Anita Eaton: Anita started sewing at 3 and began quilting at 7 thanks to her grandmothers who taught her to sew, embroider, and quilt. Since then she has continued to sew and quilt as well as study hundreds of quilting books and work in quilt stores. Anita offers quilt patterns that you can find at Arbee Designs and online workshops. To read more about Anita, visit Anita's page at the Academy of Quilting.


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