More color direction

I’m so lucky. Not only do I really enjoy the process of choosing colors, but I have the advantage of familiarity with several computer programs that allow me to play with colors until I find a palette I like. Not everyone has that, so the first “choosing fabrics” step can become overwhelming. Jeanne and I have already provided a lot of info in the Skill Builders that I recommended earlier, but here’s a bit more for those who have an idea of the direction they want to go but need some help fleshing it out.

Suzanne said:

…in the next few days I’ll be heading to a fabric store for my backing fabric…I’m planning Navy blue but can’t decide the other colors…whether they are creams, greys, blues, ???I was thinking twinkling stars, but I’m going to need more contrast than white white white.

I wrote a looong reply in the comments and sent her an email, but she suggested that this might be worth sharing in a new post.

If you’d like some help choosing colors, try looking at color schemes that have already been created. Here are a few places to look:

Color Schemer Gallery – click Search Schemes (top center), enter the word Navy and click search. This brings up 51 color schemes that include navy, and one of them might trigger an idea for you.

If nothing jumps out at you there, try Kuler. Again, enter Navy in the search box at the top left and you’ll get 1,616 (!!) color schemes.

Design Seeds is a very popular site with beautiful color schemes inspired by photos. Click on Palette Search (top left) and scroll down to the column of colors. Click on the blue one and you’ll see pages of palettes with blue in them. (When you get to the bottom, click “Older Posts” to see more.) Not all contain navy, but you can look for darker or lighter versions of the colors in the palettes.

Similar to Design Seeds is Photo Card Boutique blog. They post other things, but if you click on Cool Colors under Categories at the left, you’ll see all of their color palettes. Again, click Older Posts to see more when you reach the bottom.

Are you familiar with Pinterest? I have a pin board devoted entirely to color palettes that I’ve found around the internet. You can also click in the search bar at the top center and type in Color Palette. When you get the results, click the #### Boards link at the top left to see a collection of all of the color palette pin boards that others have created. Click on a photo mosaic to open the board and see all of the individual palettes. Try the search using the phrase Color Swatches to get even more.

There are a ton of resources out there – you’ll find something you love in no time! Remember, though, this just helps with color. While the sampler will be gorgeous made from solids, don’t get so caught up in color that you forget pattern. Small to medium scale prints, tone on tones, even an occasional larger scale print in certain blocks, will add another dimension to the quilt.

Remember my fabrics?

Initial Fabrics

I’ve gone through and eliminated a few. I kept more than I expected to and may not use all that are left because there are only so many blocks, but I’m mostly satisfied with my choices.

The ones I eliminated have black Xs on them. Here’s my reasoning:

Top row:
Dark green with dots – I love this fabric, but a) it’s part of a line that I’m already using several of in the quilt, and I don’t want it too matchy-matchy, and b) it’s quite dark and doesn’t show up as well against the navy background.

Blue print – I like the idea of incorporating touches of blue into the quilt, but this fabric doesn’t have any green or yellow in it, so it’s out.

Floral print – It isn’t green or yellow enough, and the print is very soft and pretty, which doesn’t really work with the rest of the fabrics.

Bottom row:
Green print – I LOVE this fabric, but the shade is just a little too green (not enough yellow/olive).

Floral print – This has the right background shade, but again, the print is too “pretty” for the rest of the fabrics.

Stripe – Colors are fantastic, but it brings in another color (the rusty brown) and I don’t want that. Besides, stripes can be difficult to deal with in block piecing.

Yellow – It’s awfully yellow. The other yellows are either softer or broken up a bit with a print. Also, there’s not a hint of green in it, unlike the fabric immediately to the left of it. It leans more toward a yellow-orange, which isn’t the look I’m going for.

I’ll be posting the next block this weekend, so if you haven’t had a chance yet to make your nine patches, there’s still some time. They go quickly, I promise!



  1. Thanks for the great links and information, Sandi. I’m not doing the quilt along, but I appreciate this. And then I got lost on your color palette pinboard! You’ve got some beautiful stuff there (I think the cabbage hues is one of my favorites).

  2. Thanks for this post, I really enjoyed reading it and appreciated the links to other colour related sites.

    I challenged myself to give reasons for the fabrics you “eliminated” and in all but one I was right! The one in the bottom left of the photo looks okay on my monitor (especially if it was moved over to the other “white fabrics” in the top row) but, of course, it would be different in reality. Fun! Thanks!

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