Hold Tight Petite Sew Along, Begins!

Hold Tight Petite Sew Along, Begins!

Hold Tight Petite Graphic weeks.jpg

You’ve heard right, I’m hosting a sew along and it starts, today!

As part of Blair Stocker’s Wise Craft Ruby Ruler™ Ambassador series and being August’s Ruby Ambassador (Read my interview by Blair—here), I thought it would be a fun collaboration to merge my Hold Tight quilt and Blair’s ruby-viewer into a sew along workshop-like experience!

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Hosting a new sew along is the perfect way to introduce you to Blair’s ruby-hued artist’s viewfinder tools the Ruby Ruler™ and Ruby Minder™ and to continue our exploration of selecting color and value for your quilts that we started in the first Hold Tight Sew Along. The extra bonus to this sew along is the opportunity to connect you to more than 1,500 other quilter’s via Blairs private Facebook group where Blair will have live workshop-like sessions to support my sew along blog posts. Note: Blair’s FB group is free to join by answering three questions when requesting to be added to the group. If you can’t join in the live sessions—no problem—the videos are available for replay and ready to view when you are!

Wise Craft Ruby Ruler™

Wise Craft Ruby Ruler™

This sew along is also free to join—no sign up forms—just follow along and have fun. You’ll will need, however, my the Hold Tight pattern. If you don't have my Hold Tight quilt pattern already, you'll want to purchase the Hold Tight PDF pattern from my Shop page. The Hold Tight pattern now includes two sizes—the original over-sized throw and the new petite crib-size quilt. The material lists, cutting requirements, coloring sheet, and full-size templates are part of the fully illustrated PDF pattern. These sew along blog posts serve to supplement the PDF but don't provide the detailed pattern information that you'll find in the PDF available for purchase. If you’ve purchased the original PDF prior to August 5, 2019 and didn’t receive a special newsletter email from this blog sharing the link to the Petite Add-On download, see my SEW ALONG page to get your copy of the bonus size. You’ll find the Add-On download that contains the crib-size material list, cutting guide, and coloring sheet. Note: You’ll still need the original Hold Tight pattern for quilt details. The current PDF in my shop has been updated with both quilt sizes so patterns purchased after August 5, 2019 include both quilt sizes—no add-on necessary.

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Week #1 - Color and Value

Welcome to Week #1 of the Hold Tight Petite Sew Along! For this blog post and the following two posts, I'll share tips and tutorials to bring your quilting skills to a new level. In three weeks you’ll no longer be hesitant about working with color and become confident about stitching a quilt with curves!

From now until August 21, 2019 I'll break down the key components of the Hold Tight quilt pattern into three manageable tutorial blog posts. These tutorials will be useful to anyone working with fabric and patchwork regardless what quilt you’re stitching. In addition to my written posts, I’ve adding skill-building demonstration videos from the first Hold Tight sew along. Find these helpful videos on my Sew Along page and can be accessed at any time. Plus, for this Hold Tight Petite sew along, Blair Stocker will be following up my Wednesday morning blog posts with a Facebook Live session at 3:30pm PDT covering the same topic that same afternoon!

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For this sew along I’ve designed a 6-balloon Hold Tight quilt using Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids. This crib-perfect size is not only quicker to make than the original quilt because there’s fewer blocks but also has a manageable number of colors needed to achieve the balloon shapes and transparency effects between balloons. Either size you choose to make the principles of color selection and construction are the same.

Where to Begin When Choosing Colors

The Ruby Ruler™ and Ruby Minder™ rulers are perfect for helping to see values between colors by reducing hues to gray scale—allowing you to see value changes. But what does it mean when I say, value?

Value is the darkness or lightness of a color (hue). A high value change between colors can also be called contrast. Black and white have high contrast. A low value change between colors can be called tonal, making the changes (or steps) between the colors subtle and less noticeable.

Let’s assume you’re NOT working with a kit or fabric collection that a designer has already determined the color story. Most of you will be working from your stash of solids and/or purchasing fabrics for your Hold Tight quilt. Where do you begin in selecting colors and how do you get the transparency effect?

The answer is to think like a designer and artist. So as not to overlap too much on the great information I’ve already covered on Week #1 and Week #2 of the original Hold Tight sew along, I’ll cover aspects of color and value as I use them in my surface pattern design, artwork, and quilts. Be sure to take a look at those earlier posts if you’re wanting more insights into Color.

My Process

I’ve introduced you to the trick of using inspiration images for color selection on the Community Sampler Week #1 post and like I said, on Week #2 Hold Tight Sew Along. I used this same approach when selecting the colors for my fabric collections and my finished Hold Tight Petite quilt. Now, let me walk you through the process….

Spirited by Sharon Holland

Spirited by Sharon Holland

My next Art Gallery Fabrics fabric collection Spirited comes out November 2019. Before I even begin designing prints I consider the season the fabric collection will be released—in this case fall. Then I think about the mood of the collection or what sort of story I want to tell—this very much influences color, values, and of course print designs. When you’re selecting fabrics for a quilt you may subconsciously be asking these same sort of questions: What room will I be using this in, who is this quilt for and do they have favorite colors, what story or mood, energy, or feeling should this quilt have.

After I have my brief or concept from those initial questions, I then go to my iPad and start poking around on Pinterest. I start a private folder to gather my ideas and allow myself to go down that rabbit hole. For your assignment, I want you to do the same thing but try not to think literally (like in this case, balloons) —just explore a wide range of images. You’re bound to have a couple beautiful images jump out at you that check off all the boxes in those initial questions. You’re golden when you can find one or two—that’s all you need—that sum up your vision in that image. Here’s the four Pinterest-pulled images that were the color and storyline inspiration for Spirited. You can view all the prints from the collection, here.

Storyboard images pulled from Pinterest

Storyboard images pulled from Pinterest

I used this exact same concept to develop the palette for my Hold Tight Petite quilt and I’ll go further into exactly how I extracted the colors from my inspiration images for my collection and for my quilt.

Inspiration images pulled from Pinterest

Inspiration images pulled from Pinterest

Because I’m heavily influenced by my upcoming fabric collection and craving fall colors (my favorite season) I found myself wanting earthy hues and an ethereal, muted palette and had that as part of my brief. Nature has always been an inspiration for me in my art so I started a search on butterflies and found these two images that I thought would make a nice color story. It’s a rather limited palette of chartreuse, gold, burnt orange, rust, cornflower blue, and lavender. I could’ve easily extracted the green in these images but instead decided not to introduce that color into the analogous/complimentary scheme that was happening already.

An analogous palette is one where shades (black added), tints (white added), tones (gray added) of hues (colors) lie next to each other on the color wheel. Complimentary colors are two hues directly opposite each other on the color wheel and include the shade, tint, or tone of those hues.

Knowing that the 6-balloon quilt has spots for four transparencies I was conscious to select colors that if mixed could yield plausible transparency colors. See Hold Tight Sew Along Week #1 post from the first sew along—it talks all about color mixing.

Extracting Colors

I’m fortunate to have a lot of design tools in my bag of tricks and I use Illustrator or Photoshop to extract colors from images. I don’t have any specific suggestions but I’m certain there’s many wonderful apps available that you can do on your phone and get the same sort of results—just do some looking around.

I import my images into my program and use the eye-dropper tool to extract a color I like from the image. Of course one could go crazy pulling colors so I limited my pull to eight on my initial pull—knowing my background was going to be off-white, I didn’t need to include that in my selection.

What I was aiming for in my initial eye-dropper extractions was a pleasing range of colors of similar value (darkness or lightness) to maintain my idea of etheral but yet, if I were to line up those selected colors from darkest to lightest there would be a noticeable change in value steps. In my fabric design, artwork, and quilting I try to have one or two value steps between colors that will be touching so they can stand out from each other. You can see that in my above example the colors almost step dark, light, dark, light….

Remember, my background is going to be off-white which in my quilt will be the lightest value. Any of the colors from my initial pull will have enough contrast next to the off-white fabric. So, if your quilt has a medium value background you will want to be pulling a lot of light and dark fabrics for the balloons.

From that initial pull I (with the use of my Adobe program) I then let the computer select the nearest Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solid color (that I’d preloaded into my program). You can see the results of what the computer selected as the nearest equivalent. As for my textile designs I have all the Pantone colors preloaded into my program and do this exact same process on my first pass to creating a color story for a collection.

But what if you don’t have access to computer programs or apps? Go old-school and manually compare your fabric swatches. Here’s some ideas:

  • Print out inspiration photos

  • Take your own photos that could yield an interesting color story

  • Use watercolors or paints

  • Pull physical items from around your house that have colors you love

  • Use a painting or colorful printed fabric

  • Take a walk in a garden or museum

Getting Real

Now it’s time to get off the computer and start pulling fabrics in real life. I took my initial Pure Solids results to my sewing room and spread out my stash of Pure Solids to compare the print out to actual fabric. Here’s where your design instincts, the Ruby Ruler™, and your personal preference will go to work.

Hold Tight Petite Fabric Selection.jpg

The Goldilocks Syndrom

  1. The first photo is the fabric pull based on the initial computer generated AGF Pure Solids selection with two exceptions: The removal of PE-421 because it was too close in value to another fabric and PE-460 because it was too dark compared to the rest of the pull or too high of a contrast. I exchanged those fabrics with PE-485 and PE-457 and that’s what you’re viewing in this first photo. Colors don’t always translate perfectly from screen to reality, so it good to see them in person. I also wasn’t feeling the lavender (although its a gorgeous color and I so wanted it to work!). Viewing the lavender with the Ruby Minder™ I could see it was too bright or a pure a color (one without as much gray added) and not muted enough to play well with the vision for my color story. It threw a bit of a cog into my color wheel (ha ha).

  2. The second image shows that I’ve replaced the lavender with a mid-tone gray but when viewing the new selection through my Ruby Minder™ the gray and the blue were too close in value—making it ineffective as a transparency choice.

  3. For the third photo I selected PE-432, a lighter gray with a hint of yellow undertones so it related to the honeydew yellow. This color selection actually made more sense as a transparency color between the blue and the light yellow even though in reality mixing those two colors would produce a green—I wasn't going to bring green into my palette so this was my best neutral that would convincingly work as a transparency. A quick confirm with my Ruby Minder™ and it was just right!

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I cut out all my pieces and put them up on my design wall to double-check my selections before starting to sew. It’s hard to see the off-white background pieces against my white design wall, but they’re there. I used my Ruby Minder™ again to negate color and view my pieces in gray scale to see if the transparencies and balance was cohesive. That’s when I did just a bit more tweaking to color placement from my original plan and added in a ninth balloon color of PE-484 for a smoother transparency between the lightest yellow balloon and the dark gold balloon.

Hold Tight Pure Solids Selection.jpg

Here’s my final fabric pull for my Hold Tight Petite quilt and I’m super happy with how it looks and relates back to my inspiration photos and brief for this quilt. I’m excited to see what Blair selects for her quilt and would love to see your inspiration for your color story and fabric pull, too! If you’re on Instagram, tag me @sharonhollanddesigns and Blair @blairs use the #holdtightquilt hashtag so we can follow your progress. If you’re sewing with Art Gallery Fabrics be sure to tag #artgalleryfabrics too! Don’t forget that you can join Blair’s Facebook group and meet others working on this quilt along with value and color insights from Blair’s expert knowledge of the subject.

Blair also has a wonderful online class, Make Modern Scrap Quilts Using Color Value which is an evergreen class—you buy its and it’s yours forever, there are no "sessions". Read more about this class on Wise Craft Handmade.

Looking Ahead

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This first week has been all about color and value and making your fabric selections for the size quilt chosen. If you’d like to work ahead and begin cutting out your materials you can reference the Cutting Templates and Fabrics video from the first sew along as well as the additional tutorial information found on the corresponding blog post from the first sew along.

Otherwise on week two I’ll blog about Cutting & Sewing Curves and Blair will being cutting and piecing live on Facebook. We’ll also have a fabulous giveaway from myself and Art Gallery Fabrics of a Hold Tight Petite Quilt Kit consisting of the pattern and the exact Pure Solid colors I used in my Hold Tight Petite quilt along with your choice of any AGF print for the backing! More details on that giveaway next week. Note to anyone winning a Hold Tight quilt pattern on this SAL that’s already purchased the pattern—we can substitute with your choice of a different PDF pattern from my SHOP.

Looking to week 3… I’ll be covering how to finish your quilt in a Quilt-As-You-Go method (QAYG) and talking about the hand quilting I did on my sample. If you’re interested in QAYG —don’t sew all your blocks together if working ahead! We’ll need the blocks as (horizontal) rows for securing to the batting and backing. More about that on the final week.

Hold Tight Petite Quilt-As-You-Go quilt assembly peek

Hold Tight Petite Quilt-As-You-Go quilt assembly peek

Week #1 Giveaway

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Right now, over on Instagram, Blair and I are holding the first giveaway. Visit my IG feed @sharonhollanddesigns and enter to win a Hold Tight quilt pattern and Ruby Minder™ ruler for yourself and a tagged friend! Follow the giveaway rules on the post. Look for the post giveaway image on my feed just like the one above and enter by commenting. Two pairs of friends will be randomly drawn from the comments on around 4 pm Eastern Friday, August 9, 2019 and notified on Instagram.

Both giveaways for this tour will be held on my Instagram account @sharonhollanddesigns. Be sure you’re following myself and Blair @blairs and Art Gallery Fabrics @artgalleryfabrics so you don’t miss a thing!

New Fabric Collection!

New Fabric Collection!

Everlasting Collection.jpg

Spring is an exciting time of year with trees leafing out, flowers blooming, and the weather warming up for spending time outdoors. I’ve been anticipating spring even more than usual because my newest fabric line, Everlasting for Art Gallery Fabrics will be available in May at your local quilt shops and favorite online retailers.

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Everlasting is my seventh collection for Art Gallery Fabrics and it tells the story of love, marriage, and family.

The summertime palette or navy, coral, blush, and teal pull at my heartstrings as I associate this collection with my daughter, Anna. As my only girl, Anna and I have had a special bond. She has a creative mind, is a nurturing mother, is smart, positive, and has a tender soul. Sometimes I see myself in her mixed together with the other important women in my life, my mother and grandmother but mostly she’s her own person and I love her dearly. I’m so proud of the woman she’s become.

Photo credit: Red Tree Photos

Photo credit: Red Tree Photos

Everlasting has a classic elegance to the prints that were inspired by my daughter’s wedding. The colors for her wedding were navy and sunflower yellow. The bridesmaids, groom and groomsmen all wore navy. Anna’s bouquet was simple, ivory roses and the other flowers and colors came from seasonal wildflowers.

Photo credit: Red Tree Photos

Photo credit: Red Tree Photos

My daughter wore my mothers 1959 wedding dress and the cut of this dress couldn’t have been any more perfect for my daughter’s classic yet modest style. See more about this collection and the other spring collections in the AGF Fabric Collections | May-August 2019 Look Book.

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Just as it would be hard to image a wedding or springtime without flowers, I can’t image a fabric collection without floral prints. Joyful blooms and fresh picked wildflowers make this collection feel like you’ve stepped into a summer garden party.

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Rather than calling my Everlasting collection a mini collection (because there’s only 10 quilting cotton prints in one color way) I think of this collection as being an intimate gathering. 

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Everlasting has all the things needed for stitching beautiful quilts from the large floral hero print, medium scale prints in coordinate colors, and beloved, low volume blenders. Think of this fabric line as a marriage ceremony with only close loved ones in attendance.

There’s three knits and one rayon prints—perfect for summer garment sewing!

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In just a few short weeks, the Everlasting LookBook will be published for inspiration viewing and quilt shops will have these prints in stock for your next make. Let your local shop know you’d like them to carry Everlasting from Art Gallery Fabrics and as online stores start listing their inventory I’ll be adding links to those shops on my Fabrics page.

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Meanwhile, myself and a bunch of other super talented makers will be busily stitching up beautiful and inspirational projects from Everlasting prints. Here’s a peek at a new quilt pattern I’m working on called, Diamond-Cut. I can’t wait to show you more!

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #2

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #2

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Welcome to Week #2 of the Hold Tight Sew Along! For this blog post, and the following two posts, I'll be share tips and tutorials to bring your quilting skills to a new level. No longer will curved piecing hold you back from stitching a quilt with curves! 

If you don't have the pattern already, you'll want to purchase the Hold Tight PDF pattern from my Shop page or from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop who now carries this pattern as well as Hold Tight quilt kits. These blog posts serve to supplement the instructions but don't provide the detailed pattern information that you'll find in the PDF available for purchase. The Hold Tight pattern will have your material list, cutting requirements, full-size templates, and be fully illustrated. My supplementary blog posts are just that, supplementary and meant to guide you along as you sew and give general patchwork sewing information for anyone sewing curves.

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From March 20 until April 10, 2019 I'll be breaking down the key components of the Hold Tight baby quilt pattern into four manageable tutorial blog posts. These tutorials will be useful to anyone working with fabric and patchwork regardless what quilt is being made. In addition to my written posts, I’ve adding skill-building demonstration videos to further your learning experience. The videos support Weeks #1 through #3 and you’ll find these helpful videos on my Sew Along page. All the videos will be available on Week #1 of the sew along for those wanting to work ahead and will stay a permanent feature to resource in the future.

If you’ve just discovered this blog or only just heard about this sew along, there’s still plenty of time to join in on the fun and take part in the sponsored giveaway prizes for each week of the event. To get up to speed, take a look at the Week #1 posting dedicated to color selection and working with colors like a designer.

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I’ve just finished a top for my third Hold Tight quilt! To give myself a color palette challenge I decided to find a color palette inspiration from Pinterest and let that determine the look of this quilt.

Colour Crush from Love Print Studio Blog

Colour Crush from Love Print Studio Blog

I fell in love with this terra cotta, coral, clay, forest green, and golden palette and knew that Art Gallery Fabrics carried so many Pure Solids in these ranges that coming up with a palette based on this Love Print Studio mood board would be a snap!

Hold Tight - Ombré Desert Color Way.jpg

The morning of my fabric pull I was walking the dog and marveling at the blue sky when it dawned on me that an ombré background would be an awesome addition to this already earthy, southwestern-looking color palette—was I right???!!! My top is all pieced and am waiting for some Hobbs Poly-Down batting to arrive so I can quilt it. I’ve decide to use my Art Gallery Fabrics Destination Aerial print from my Tapestry collection as the backing and it could be any more perfect!

Hold Tight - Ombré Desert Color Way List.jpg

As promised, I want to share the fabric selection information with you. Now, be warned that doing an ombré background you’ll need to double the amount of background fabric for this quilt because of the size and odd shapes of the pieces create a lot of waste and left over fabrics. I used six gradient fabrics for horizontal rows of color with the two middle blues being used in two horizontal rows. Altogether you’ll need 25 colors (or 27 if each background row is a different gradient) to make a Hold Tight quilt with an ombré background. The rest of the yardage is unchanged.

Cutting Templates and Fabrics

The Hold Tight PDF pattern comes with the full-size templates which already include the seam allowances. Be sure when printing out your PDF pattern that you set you printer to 100%, no scale. Select a US letter paper size and deselect any borderless option (no borderless). Each template page has a 1” square reference square to check for printing scale accuracy. It’s extremely important you print the templates to true size.

Hold Tight Templates 1.jpg

With a permanent marking tool, trace the shapes onto heavy template plastic. I highly recommend Dritz Heavy Duty Template Plastic. Transfer shape letter information, grain line arrow. When tracing the Block Trimming Template, include the seam allowance and curves onto your template. Cut templates out with household scissors. Learn more about creating templates from the Hold Tight Sew Along Week #2 video found on my Sew Along page.

Hold Tight Templates 2.jpg

Refer to the PDF pattern for strip cutting information and number of pieces to cut. Let template straight edges and grain line marks help you to align the templates onto the fabrics for cutting. A 28 mm rotary cutter is highly suggested for cutting around curves. Use the extra guides of rotary cutter rulers when working on straight edges.

Tip: To help hold the template in place while cutting, roll Washi tape onto itself to make double-sided tape. Adhere the rolled tape onto the back of a template shape in 2-4 places. Fabric can be rotated for cutting ease without disturbing the template position and the taped template can be reused several times before the tape looses it stickiness.

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When cutting the B shape pieces, utilize the straight edge of the strip to cut the first shape then rotate the template to make the second cut which leaves an oval shaped scrap. For more demonstrations on cutting see Week #2 video.

Unfortunately, curved patchwork comes with waste pieces. If you plan to do additional curved sewing like trying your had at my free Orange Peel Table Runner these waste pieces can be cut down into smaller sizes and used. Start a bin of castoff curves for that next project.

Hold Tight Template Cutting 2.jpg

Stitching, pressing, and squaring up of a finished block will be covered next week and also in Week #3 Sew Along video Part 1 and 2 but I put this image here to show the importance that the template markings play in creating the Block Trimming Template.

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A sew along’s a lot more fun with sponsors and giveaways, right!? Our friends at Dritz Sewing, the Fat Quarter Shop, Hobbs Batting, and Omnigrid have generously provided the Hold Tight Sew Along with products I know you’ll love! Every Friday I’ll be posting weekly a giveaway on Instagram. By using the hashtag #HoldTightSewAlong on Instagram every time you post sew along photos to a public account (private account posts don’t show up in hashtag pools) your IG account is automatically entered into the weekly sew along drawings! Ideas for what to share include your sew along progress, the “I’m a maker” sew along badge found HERE, your fabric pull, blocks, and finished quilt. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @sharonhollanddesigns so you never miss a thing!

THIS WEEK'S GIVEAWAY SPONSOR IS from DRITZ Sewing and Omnigrid

HTSA Dritz_Omnigrid Giveaway.jpg
Dritz Shower Rings Repurposed.jpg

If you’re wondering why I selected Dritz Shower Curtain Rings to be part of this giveaway package it’s because I love using everyday object in new ways and find this size shower ring to be so handy for keeping template pieces together, organizing swatch cards, note cards, bobbins, keys, etc. Anytime you can organize your work area is a good day, right?

Please note that this giveaway package is for US residence only (sorry, international friends, due to overseas shipping costs I’m asked by our sponsor to keep this giveaway US only.)

Don't forget the giveaways for this sew along are held on Instagram (not on the blog) and winning names are randomly drawn from the posts in the hashtag pool. By posting images of your Hold Tight color inspiration, fabric pull, blocks, or quilt. Use the official #holdtightsewalong hashtag every time you post your makes (to a public account) and you're automatically entered into the weekly IG drawings! See my Instagram Friday giveaway posts @sharonhollanddesigns for full details. 

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #1

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #1

Pure Solids Selection.jpg

Welcome to Week #1 of the Hold Tight Sew Along! For this blog post, and the following three posts, I'll be share tips and tutorials to bring your quilting skills to a new level. No longer will curved piecing hold you back from stitching a quilt with curves! 

If you don't have the pattern already, you'll want to purchase the Hold Tight PDF pattern from my Shop page or from our friends at Fat Quarter Shop who now carries this pattern as well as Hold Tight quilt kits. Please note that the kits from FQS will be ready to ship at or around March 23rd. Use the “Notify Me” function on the kit page to get updates on your order’s shipping date. These blog posts serve to supplement the instructions but don't provide the detailed pattern information that you'll find in the PDF available for purchase. The Hold Tight pattern will have your material list, cutting requirements, full-size templates, and be fully illustrated. My supplementary blog posts are just that, supplementary and meant to guide you along as you sew.

Hold Tight Sew Along Sq.jpg

From now until April 10, 2019 I'll be breaking down the key components of the Hold Tight baby quilt pattern into four manageable tutorial blog posts. These tutorials will be useful to anyone working with fabric and patchwork regardless what quilt is being made. In addition to my written posts, I’ve adding skill-building demonstration videos to further your learning experience. The videos support Weeks #1 through #3 and you’ll find these helpful videos on my Sew Along page. All the videos will be available on Week #1 of the sew along for those wanting to work ahead and will stay a permanent feature to resource in the future.

Color and Transparency Effects

As outlined in last weeks blog post, Hold Tight Sew Along, I'll be covering a new topic each week. This week's lesson is all about selecting colors and working with transparency effects. 

Color is a big subject, but I'll attempt to give you a practical and applicable approach to color as it pertains to selecting fabrics for this quilt. 

Since color is the first thing anyone notices in a quilt—even before the design, we need an entire post just on this subject. The Hold Tight baby quilt offers plenty of opportunity to play with color through the graphic shape of a balloon. But where do you begin when you must decide on a maximum of 20 different solids!!!???

Hold Tight flat.jpg

This quilt is marketed as a baby quilt but its large size also makes it suitable as a throw-size quilt for any age. Maybe there's already a nursery color scheme selected, favorite colors, or some sort of predetermined color inspiration (like from printed fabric or artwork). That's really helpful and gets you halfway to a fabric pull. If you'd like to create a color palette from creating a mood board, take a look back at the Community Sampler Week #1 post on this blog. If you remember, I made my Community Sampler quilt using Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids and my color inspiration came from creating a mood board from images I found on Pinterest. But, if selecting a color palette still seems daunting, read on.

Hold Tight Art Class.jpg

As a textile designer, artist, and newbie to embroidery coming up with color palettes and selecting just the right color for a given project is an ongoing challenge. Rather than focusing just on color relationships and schemes like you'd find on a color wheel (e.g. Complementary, Split Complementary, Diad, Triad, and Tetrad), I'll walk you through color composition instead and how to select hues that work in unity together because of their shade, tint, and/or tone. Once you've discovered how to view a color by what colors it's made from you can always go back and incorporate traditional color wheel schemes into your fabric selection process.

When you start seeing beyond the colors within a given color (hue) you'll be able to successfully mix colors physically like with paint for example or visually, like with fabric transparency effects.

In this tutorial I'll be using the following technical terms:

Shade: Amount of black added to the hue

Tint: Amount of white added to the hue

Tone: Amount of gray added to the hue

Value: Lightness or darkness

Intensity: Brightness or dullness

Before I tackle mixing colors, let's first discuss the easiest way to select colors that achieve the effect of unity and transparency by using a Monochromatic color scheme. For both the Hold Tight pattern sample and the quilt you'll see featured in the sew along tutorials I'm using a combination of monochromatic color trans effects and mixed color transparency effects and sewing with Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids fabrics.

Monochromatic Schemes.jpg

A Monochromatic color scheme uses one color and the shades and tints of that color. Art Gallery Fabrics has an array of shades and tints available for their Pure Solids and makes it easy to achieve beautiful gradation steps of colors—creating a transparency effect where the balloons overlap.

The four monochromatic color schemes above illustrate color steps arranged from tints (lightest) to shades (darkest) of a hue.

Paintbrush Color Wheel-01.jpg

To illustrate mixing colors I'm going to refer back to the color wheel and start with the Primary Colors which are blue, red, and yellow. These three colors cannot be created by mixing other colors. 

If you mix equal parts blue and red you'll get violet (or also referred to as purple). Mixing red and yellow will create orange and mixing yellow and blue will result in green. These resulting colors are called Secondary Colors because they were made from mixing two different Primary Colors. 

Tertiary Colors are the result of mixing a Primary Color with a Secondary Color. The resulting color name always has the primary color first followed by the secondary color. For example: blue-green, red-violet, red-orange, yellow-orange, and yellow-green.

Crayola Color Wheel

Crayola Color Wheel

As a kid I was fascinated by color and as soon as I could read I was memorizing the names of the crayons. From early on I saw the pattern of this primary color name first followed by secondary color name as a way to distinguish one color from another.

Paint Chip Color Array.jpg

Anyone who's gone to the hardware store to buy a can of white paint knows about the zillions of options there are for “white” paint. Do you want a yellow-white, a pink-white (which has a whisper of red paint added to the can), a cool, blue-white, a white with a warm, green cast...??? You get the idea. Once you understand about Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors you can start to see what makes up a particular hue.

Hold Tight Quilt - Art Class.jpg

I'm remaking a Hold Tight quilt for this sew along to put myself in your shoes of where to start for selecting colors. I had no color scheme in mind, so I got out my watercolor paints. If you don't have watercolors then attempt the same exercise with colored pencils, acrylics, pastels, crayons, markers, colored tissue paper that can be overlapped, or anything that can be mixed, blended, or overlaid and put onto paper for this lesson.

Begin with mixing Primary Colors to make violet, green, and yellow. Try to get as close of a match to a true Secondary hue as possible just to give yourself a clean and bright color sample (see Intensity definition). Next, create your Tertiary Colors. This is your starting point.

Start mixing colors and see what you end up with. I guarantee you'll create a lot of stuff you're pretty meh about but what's happening is you're learning about color and what colors go into to making a new color.

Now it's time to add black to your colors to create shades and darken a hue. A fun outcome of adding black to yellow is you'll create a drab olive green. True story: I never use a pre-mixed black paint when painting. I always create some sort of near-black from the colors already used in the art.

Next, add white to make tints and lighten a hue.

For some real fun try mixing colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel (e.g. Complementary Colors). The results can vary from creating different brown hues to different gray tones depending on what colors make up the resulting hue.

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After this exercise about shades, tints, and tones you'll start to notice how adding black, white, or a Complimentary Color has changed the original color's intensity and value. Intensity and value play a big part in relative contrast and why some colors appear dull and other bright. Using fabrics of the same relative intensity but of varying values is a good rule of thumb to give the overall effect of unity. All bright colors look less bright when placed in the same quilt or piece of art. Likewise if the palette is all muted or duller those colors make sense together because of the relative sameness. Now that's not a hard and fast rule, just an example. Many times in art, mixing intensities of colors can create a focal point where the bright, pure color stands out above the more muted tones. Artists often use colors of different intensities, temperatures (cool or warm), and values to make objects advance or recede in a painting.

Contrast is very similar to Intensity and describes the amount of difference between two or more colors. We know as quilters that contrast plays a big part in how a block reads or a quilt pops. If there’s little or no contrast between touching colors (or prints) then the overall effect is very flat and at a distance may read as one solid mass.

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A great way to make a transparency areas successful is to utilize dark, medium, and light contrasting colors. Dark, medium, and light contrasts can be positioned in any order but I’ve found when a dark color is used on a balloon and a light colored balloon is overlapping it, using a medium (mixed result) color in the transparency area will be most affective for creating a transparency illusion. See the photo below at the transparency overlapping blocks.

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Take a look at the colors you mixed and hopefully, there's some colors and blending that really speaks to you! For my quilt(s) I'm using Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids. Pull out all your solid fabrics or take your paper swatches to your fabric store for reference when purchasing fabrics. You may want to cut out the paint or mixed samples you want to work with. Assign the colors and color combinations you love a fabric that matches as close as possible. Don't feel you need to follow your mixed samples exactly and depending upon your available fabric colors you may need to make adjustments. Implement what you've learned in this mixing exercise and soon you'll be able to confidently make judgements about color mixing in your minds eye. Remember to look closely at the underlying colors that make up the color of the fabrics and select the transparency fabric color that would simulate as closely as possible the “mixed” result if you could mix the fabrics on either side of the transparency shape. Notice in the Monochromatic color scheme examples I’d grouped the colors by yellow-greens, greens, blue-greens, and aquas.

I’m calling my second Hold Tight quilt the Art Class Color Story because the above photo was the AGF color palette I came up with after my paint mixing exercise. Because I still need some print in my life I like adding a fun printed backing to an all solid quilt top. The Sporangia Plaid print from my Art Gallery Fabrics Signature collection was perfect!

The Art Class Color Story quilt uses PE-408 as the background and PE-402, PE-405, PE-410, PE-414, PE-427, PE-450, and PE-466 as the transparency fabrics.

If you have a design wall, pin up some swatches and take a step back. Squint your eyes and see if the colors make sense together. Likewise, taking a photograph of the fabric pull and viewing the photo on a screen can sometimes allow you to see color relationships you didn't notice in person.

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If you’d like a fun read about fascinating and unknown histories of color, add The Secret Lives of Color to your library. Awarded NPR Best Books of 2017. (Amazon Affiliate link).

My fellow Art Gallery Fabrics Designers, Dana Willard, Mathew Boudreaux, and Alexandra Bordallo along with AGF Sewcialite Carolina Moore will also be sewing along with us and making a Hold Tight quilt. I’m excited to see the beautiful colors and looks all of you will make so don’t forget to snap some pretty pictures of your color lesson homework, fabric selection, or color palette process to share with the other Hold Tight Sew Along makers. If posting to Instagram or other social platforms be sure to use the hashtag #holdtightsewalong and tag me @sharonhollanddesigns so I see your beautiful work.

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A sew along is a lot more fun with sponsors and giveaways, right!? Our friends at Dritz Sewing, the Fat Quarter Shop, Hobbs Batting, and Omnigrid have generously provided the Hold Tight Sew Along with products I know you’ll love! Every Friday, beginning on March 22nd through April 12th, 2019 I’ll be posting weekly a giveaway on Instagram. By using the hashtag #HoldTightSewAlong on Instagram every time you post sew along photos to a public account (private account posts don’t show up in hashtag pools) your IG account is automatically entered into the weekly sew along drawings! Ideas for what to share include your sew along progress, the “I’m a maker” sew along badge found HERE, your fabric pull, blocks, and finished quilt. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @sharonhollanddesigns so you never miss a thing!

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Fat Quarter Shop - Woodlands Pure Elements Fat Quarter Bundle

Fat Quarter Shop - Woodlands Pure Elements Fat Quarter Bundle

Fat Quarter Shop - Woodlands Pure Elements Fat Quarter Bundle

Fat Quarter Shop - Woodlands Pure Elements Fat Quarter Bundle

This Friday, March 22, 2019 the giveaway prize will be the beautiful 15-piece Art Gallery Fabrics Woodland Pure Elements fat quarter bundle generously offered by the Fat Quarter Shop.

Don't forget the giveaways for this sew along are held on Instagram (not on the blog) and winning names are randomly drawn from the posts in the hashtag pool. By posting images of your Hold Tight color inspiration, fabric pull, blocks, or quilt. Use the official #holdtightsewalong hashtag every time you post your makes (to a public account) and you're automatically entered into the weekly IG drawings! See my Instagram Friday giveaway posts @sharonhollanddesigns for full details.