I was able to piece the back from all of my scraps (that yardage of the large purple print really helped!), and chose an apple green binding from stash as well. I like that the circle motif in the binding fabric echoes the design (there's a close up of that below), and I'm really loving the fact that every bit of this quilt came from my stash, except the Kona White background fabric. Winning!
Despite the fact that I have gotten inspiration from odd places before, I didn't actually use fruit soda as the inspiration for choosing the colors for this quilt. Recently, I've had several people ask me how I choose colors for my quilts, so I've decided to let you in on a few of my favorite ways to decide on a color palette when I'm designing a quilt. Some of these overlap a little bit, but that's just the way things happen sometimes in creative endeavors. Not everything is cut and dry.
1. Shop your stash and make it work! I'm discussing this one first, because this is the thing that spills over into everything else. Even with all of these other methods, I always try to see what I already have that will work for the quilt I want to make. I know this seems obvious, but I do this a lot. Sometimes, I take a look at my stash, and identify the colors that I have the most of before I even design a quilt. Just this weekend, I noticed that I have lots of pink, purple, and aqua in my stash and designed a quilt specifically for those colors (by the way, I'll share the progress on that at NTT this week!). As I mentioned, Effervescence was created entirely from stash, so it falls into this category, as does Birthstones, which I specifically designed to use up all lots of my solids.
2. So, what if you're staring at a mountain of fabric in your stash and still don't know what to put together? To me, the easiest way to choose quilt colors is with a treasured inspiration fabric. Effervescence is a great example of this. I chose these two prints from Amy Butler's Love collection, and the colors in those two large-scale prints dictated the rest of the fabrics. The rest of the fabrics in the quilt are mostly smaller tonal prints, but because there are two focus fabrics pulling them together, they all play very well.
3. Let the professionals do the work! Folks, there is a reason why fabric designers make a living doing what they do. They create the gorgeous collections that we all drool over. Let me be very clear- I am not advocating making all of your quilts from bundles of a single collection. Not at all. (Of course, you can if you want to, but that wouldn't really fit the subject of this post) Sometimes I make a quilt from a single collection, but not very often. I LOVE mixing fabrics and colors for myself way too much. I often take color inspiration from my favorite designers and just work with what I have; or I purchase a few of my favorite fabrics from a particular collection and use that as a starting point (see #2!). I like to pay attention to non-quilty places too. When I'm out shopping, I look at clothing, rugs, decor...anything! Color inspiration can come from anywhere.
4. Variety is good. For a long time, I fell into a rut of making quilts with only two colors, or maybe three, because I worried that choosing too many different colors would be a mess. Then I noticed that my favorite fabric collections usually had five or six different colors, which adds much more depth to a design. Notice that Effervescence has six different colors in it (not counting white)- purple, periwinkle, coral, green, berry, and aqua- and it's only a lap size quilt. An important point though, is that I always make sure that each fabric has a "partner." There are at least two prints of each color, so that a single fabric doesn't stick out in the quilt.
Even when I make a quilt with only two or three colors, I make sure that I have enough variation in the depth and saturation of color to keep the quilt interesting. A good example is my first Bubble Bath quilt. Though the quilt just has shades of pink and gray, there is a wide range of hues within each color.
5. Make an "anything goes" quilt. If you have several focus fabrics and aren't sure how to use them, put them all together! Quilts like this are so much fun, but I do keep a few things in mind when I do this. First, I usually use fabrics that are all jewel tones, or all earth tones, and have a similar saturation level. I would never throw a pastel fabric in with fabrics that are highly saturated. Secondly, I choose my pattern very carefully. Patterns with larger blocks, and a solid background fabric work great to draw the eye to bold prints, so that they all work together. Stems and Stones is a perfect example of how bold fabrics from several collections can work together to make a beautiful quilt.
6. Last but not least, explore the unusual. It's fun to break out of the box with color. If you're playing around with a color palette that is unusual for you, live with it for a few days before you start cutting into it. Give yourself the opportunity to get used to it, or make changes to it if you need to. There's no law that says that you have to love every color combo you put together. I have certainly pulled fabric for a quilt, thought about it, and then completely started over. If you don't love it after a few days, make some changes, and keep having fun trying to find color palettes you DO love!