Try Your Hand at Color Shading

Customers walking into the Studio are greeted by hundreds of fabrics in an array of colors. In nearly every bit of wall space, we have quilts with dozens of fabrics.  Fat quarter bundles designed to shade from one color to another are in baskets and boxes. But what if you want to choose your own fabrics? It is easy to become overwhelmed when it comes to selecting colors and fabrics for a project. Many quilters don’t know where to start. It really isn’t that hard and can be a lot of fun once you get started.

On our website, we have three large fabric bundles, Emerald Isle, Indian Marketplace, and Shades of the Tropics, which are examples of my color theory. Each contains 39 fabrics divided into three color groups. While they look great on their own, they are more effective together. We recently decided to add another fat quarter collection, and I’ll use this to show you how easy color shading can be.

BundlesOur Moon Glow quilt has been popular for years and customers love the colors, so I decided to create a Moon Glow fat quarter bundle. I first chose a range of colors and made sure that I had several shades of those colors. There should be no gaps from one to the next, the more fabric the better.

Image 1Next, I added some deep darks, fabrics darker than the others to make my original colors pop.

IMG_5199-2I then added a couple of accent fabrics, both a little brighter than the other colors.

Image4It’s starting to look nice, isn’t it? Now I’m going to add neutrals. Neutrals cover a wide range but I think of them simply as grayed-down or muddied colors. Often quilters skip these because they say they don’t really like these colors. These neutrals, though, make the other fabrics shine. Can you see what a difference they make?

Image3Finally, I took my Portable Palette and went shopping through my stash just as you can do at home. (Of course, my stash happens to be the Studio!) Fill in anything that’s missing with a trip to your local quilt shop. Here’s how these colors work in Moon Glow and in our new fat quarter bundle.

Moonglow collageCheck out my video on our website for more details on color shading. I had so much fun putting together this fat quarter collection that I’m already planning another which will be available soon. Are you ready to give it a try?