So completely by chance I happened upon a link for Play Crafts' Palette Builder 2.0 just a few days ago, and then did some digging and came across this great interview of the program's creator, Anne Sullivan, that was featured on There's a Thread back in September. Immediately I thought "aha! this would be great for that color related post for the SWC series" and behold: link up #1 is about choosing fabric, and I'm rolling with this as the starting point! The program is great because it's really easy and customizable. Simply upload a picture you love and it'll give you a list of coordinating Kona solids. Want to tweak the scheme? Just move one of the points on the screen to swap out a color. Here's an example of mine:
For me, most projects start with color - some vivid full color vision of a completed project that I imagine in my mind's eye and begin gathering fabrics to match, or some gorgeous saturated fabric I fall head over heels for and simply must build around. (Side note: I love color! I know all those low-volume projects are trending, and I do love some of the designs I see out there, but as someone who has spent her entire life rainbowtizing anything I can get my hands on - my fabric stash, my art supplies, my filing cabinet, my closet - I know that saturated color is definitely where it's at for me.)
I don't have a hard time choosing fabric for a quilt once I know my color palette; I have a good eye for tone and can easily weed out what is just right and what is a hair too warm or cool or busy. (Also pretty adept at knowing when I simply *must* make one more trip to the fabric store for that just-exactly-so piece I'm in need of to tie it all together ; ) All that said, I definitely gravitate to certain color schemes more than others, so in an effort to mix it up a bit now and then, I enjoy playing with online color tools like Palette Builder, and I look forward to the weekly Stash Share with Pile O'Fabric because it makes me think outside my usual box and is helping me mix and match fabrics from my stash that I otherwise wouldn't. (I've also experimented with Color Scheme Designer before, like on this project pictured below.)
Another great way to mix it up is to swap scraps with other crafty people you know! A friend sent me a bunch of her scraps that were too small for her purposes, so I've ended up with pieces I would never have bought myself, but that play really well with what I have on hand.
So as far as choosing fabric, since I have the color part down, I think what I need to improve is my knowledge about types of fabric and which is the right one to use when/what effect I can get from what. Someday I'd love to be brave enough to create an entire piece from atypical fabric; a woman in my quilt guild just unveiled her king size quilt made from decorator's fabric - all scraps she got for free from an upholsterer! Talk about a durable, budget friendly quilt! I'd also love to make a crazy quilt, but I'd be hard pressed to right now with my boring, all quilting-weight cotton stash. And I'd especially like to learn about knits so I can start sewing the kinds of clothing patterns that most appeal to me. I am about to undertake two new fabrics for a Santa project - polyester lining and felted wool for doll coats, so we'll see how those turn out as a first foray out of quilting cottons!
So how about you? How do you go about selecting fabrics? Do you fall in love with colors or a particular print and go from there, or do you let a preset color scheme dictate your direction? If you have a vantage point you'd like to share, comment below or consider linking up with the Sewing with Certainty series on Quilty Habit!