Hold Tight Petite Sew Along - Cutting and Piecing

Hold Tight Petite Sew Along - Cutting and Piecing

Hold Tight Petite Sew Along W2.jpg

Welcome back to Week #2 of the Hold Tight Petite sew along. 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 the perfect opportunity for Blair and I to collaborate on a project and explore the world of color through fabrics.

August Ruby Ambassador - Sharon Holland

August Ruby Ambassador - Sharon Holland

Blair’s ruby-hued artist’s viewfinder tools the Ruby Ruler™ and Ruby Minder™ where invaluable tools in last week’s study on Color and Value. I blogged about how, as a designer, I go about selecting colors for my fabric collections or a color story for a quilt and how I used the Ruby Minder™ to check my selections. If you missed the first week, read more here. Plus you’ll find additional color theory materials covered on Week #1 and Week #2 of the original Hold Tight sew along as well as in the skill-building demonstration videos. Find these helpful videos on my Sew Along page which are available for viewing any time.

Ruby Minder™ by Blair Stocker of Wise Craft Handmade

Ruby Minder™ by Blair Stocker of Wise Craft Handmade

For more Color and Value study, Blair 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.

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 11 am Pacific on Wednesday, August 14 cutting pieces with templates and curved rulers as well as sewing curves. This workshop-like experience with Blair on Facebook is a huge bonus along with connecting with more than 1,500 other quilter’s via Blairs private Facebook group! Blair will host live sessions to support my sew along blog posts and share with you her expertise. 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!

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This sew along is free to join—no sign up forms—just follow along and have fun. You’ll will need, however, the Hold Tight quit 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.

Week #2 - Cutting and Piecing

Even though I’ve labeled this pattern an intermediate skill level quilt pattern, I firmly believe that even a confident beginner can tackle curved patchwork with ease because you’ve completed the following:

  1. You’ve printed out the PDF instructions and templates to 100% scale (with borders) onto US letter size paper and because you’ve cut your fabrics true to size (see Hold Tight Sew Along Week #2 post).

  2. You’re sewing with an accurate seam allowance. As with any patchwork sewing its imperative to stitch with an accurate 1/4” seam allowance. Take a moment to read the Seam Allowance section on my Perfect Patchwork tutorial.

I’ve prepared bonus video tutorials and you’ll find the Hold Tight Sew Along Week #3 parts 1 and 2 are extremely helpful for pinning, sewing, press, and squaring up your blocks. Find all the Hold Tight Sew Along videos on my Sew Along page.

This week’s blog post is going to be an easy one for me to compose compared to last week’s epic Color and Value post because the information about Cutting and Piecing hasn’t changed from my first sew along. Instead of copying and pasting all that information to this post, I’ll refer you to Week #2 and Week #3 of the first sew along. So, go ahead, take a look at that information and then come back to this post for some additional tips, pretty photos, and information about this week’s giveaway!

Hold Tight Petite Cutting and Piecing.jpg

Learning Live

The beauty of an event like this being co-hosted is you get to experience different perspectives, sewing tricks, and in the case of Blair’s Live Facebook sessions, a new way of viewing information. This week, Blair will be cutting and piecing her blocks and carrying on what I started in my video demonstrations. This is your chance to ask Blair questions and maybe gain a few new tricks to sewing with curved patchwork.

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Sew On

As I briefly talked about last week when looking ahead, I’ll be covering Quilt-As-You-Go (QAYG) as a quilt assembly option in the next post for Week #3. If you’re interested in trying the QAYG finishing method, regardless of what quilt size you’re stitching, resist the urge to start sewing all the blocks together to form the balloon shapes and quilt top. A background square and the A/B block, and B/B/C blocks like you see in the above photo are ALL considered blocks. For this week, concentrate on sewing the blocks and only go so far as to sew the blocks together into horizontal rows. Alternate seam pressing directions on your rows so the rows will nest together when assembling. Example: Even rows press all the seams to the right and odd rows, press all the seams to the left.

Next week on the third and final sew along post I’ll blog about QAYG assembly, hand quilting, and finishing your quilt. If you’re wanting to finish your quilt as a traditional top with batting and backing sandwich to be quilted, you can work ahead. Find tutorials and tips on the Finishing post and videos created during the first sew along. It’s always nice to have options and work at your own pace!

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I’m excited to see what colors Blair selected for her quilt and would love to see your inspiration for your color story, fabric pull, and progress as you sew along. 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!

There’s also a wonderful resource of inspiration and a look at all the Hold Tight quilt posted to Instagram if you search the #holdtightquilt and #holdtightsewalong hashtags! If you’re on Pinterest, I have a Hold Tight Sew Along board—you can find and follow me at ShareDesigns (Sharon Holland Designs).

Hold Tight Petite Graphic.jpg

WEEK #2 GIVEAWAY

Our Art Gallery Fabrics sponsor will be giving away an amazing prize of a quilt kit! The kit will include: The Hold Tight PDF pattern (which can be substituted with a different pattern in my SHOP if you already have purchased), fabric to make a Hold Tight Petite quilt top just like the one I created for this sew along, binding, and your choice of any AGF print for the backing!

Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids

Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids

This giveaway and the giveaway rules and details will be announced on Instagram Thursday morning around 9 am eastern. The giveaway will be held on my Instagram account @sharonhollanddesigns and you’ll be prompted for how to enter on that post. Be sure you’re following myself and Blair @blairs and Art Gallery Fabrics @artgalleryfabrics so you don’t miss a thing!

Happy sewing,

Sharon

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #4

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #4

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It’s the fourth and final week of the Hold Tight Sew Along where I’ve been sharing 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 along with the Hold Tight quilt kit. 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 as the blog post for the sew along will remain up to access any time. To get up to speed, take a look at the Week #1 posting dedicated to color selection and working with colors like a designer.

Hold Tight Sew Along Banner web.jpg

The Hold Tight Sew Along tutorials are 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. I’ve added a new video dedicated to hand quilting and adding the “strings” embellishment to this quilted quilt before binding. View video support Weeks #1 through #4 on my Sew Along page. All the videos will stay a permanent feature to resource in the future.

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.

Hold Tight Quilt Top.jpg

Quilting

If you’re a beginner or just in need of a refresher on how to baste your quilt top, machine quilt, and add the binding, check out the Finishing blog post I had written for the Sewcial Bee Sampler quilt. Since I cover the way I put together my quilt sandwich and how I go about machine quilting in the Sewcial Bee Sampler post I won’t go over that identical information here but instead add information specific to the Hold Tight quilt such as batting selection, the machine quilting design I used on both of my Hold Tight quilts, and hand quilting the string embellishment.

Two Hold Tight Quilts.jpg

To help illustrate how different batting lofts look in a finished quilt I decided to use the exact same quilting design on both of my Hold Tight quilts.

The white background quilt on the left has a Hobb’s Tuscany Silk batting inside and the ombré quilt on the right has Hobb’s Tuscany 100% Polyester batting inside. I love both of these battings but they have completely different properties.

Here’s what I love about both of these products:

Both preform beautifully with quilting stitched up to 4” apart.

Both have a beautiful drape, light weight (no heavy quilt to wrestle with when stitching), and easy to handle.

Both are excellent for hand stitching and machine quilting.

There’s no shrinkage with Tuscany Polyester and only 3%-5% with Tuscany Silk (but I’ve noticed very little after laundering).

I’ve had no issues with laundering these battings and set my machine to Delicate Cycle, Cold Water wash and rinse, and low heat (delicate) drying.

The Tuscany Silk is similar to a cotton batting for stitch definition and feel but without the weight. The Tuscany Polyester is a high loft for a puffier look and is light as a feather (great for kids and extra snuggly quilts).

You can read further direct from the source at Hobb’s Batting plus take a look at their handing Quilting Products Batting chart to know what’s the best batting for your needs.

2 Hold Tight Quilts Close.jpg

I decided to do a very simple quilting stitch on these two quilts. The original Hold Tight quilt is filled with Tuscany 100% Polyester batting but has a dense, overall quilt design (see quilt below) so the quilt doesn’t puff as much as with the simple, looser machine quilting (see quilt on the right, above). It just depends on the look and feel you want to achieve.

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To stitch the loose Looping Scallop design you will need to do a little prep work of marking a horizontal line across the middle of the block rows.

Hold Tight Quilting-02.jpg

By dividing the block rows in half horizontally you’re making guides for two Looping Scallop quilting lines per block row. Stagger the two Looping Scallops in alternating rows as seen in the illustration above. I freeform stitched my Looping Scallops and they look in real life about as wonky as they do on my illustrated drawing.

For one horizontal row of Looping Scallops I used the block seam lines as my guide where I would make the loop. On the next row, that seam line was my midway point between loops that I eye-balled to land in the middle of the block.

I worked from the bottom of the quilt up, as I wanted the scallops to give a bit of a cloud illusion and this felt the most natural for me in creating the loops. You can work from the top down if that feels more comfortable to you. If you’re not sure about eye-balling where the loops and scallops are to be stitched, then draw out the machine quilting design or make a little mark at the midpoints for reference so you have more of a guide to follow.

Hold Tight Quilt Quilting.jpg

Once your quilt has been quilted and before you add the binding, you’ll want to add the hand stitching to create strings on the ends of the balloons. I’ve put together a helpful video all about Hand Quilting and you can find it on the Sew Along page with the other Hold Tight Sew Along videos.

I used all 6 strands of 6-ply Aurifil floss for my hand quilting thread.

Hold Tight Art Class Quilt on line.jpg

All of my Hold Tight quilt use Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solids for the top. The white background quilt I’m calling the Art Class color way and you can see the full list of fabrics used on week #1 of the Sew Along. For the backing I had to sneak in a print and used Sporangia Plaid print from my Art Gallery Fabrics Signature collection as the perfect compliment to the colorful front.

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For the Ombré Desert color way I mixed it up a bit and made a gradient background to simulate the sky. Read about the colors that went into making this top along with the color inspiration for the quilt on week #2 of the Sew Along.

Hold Tight Ombré Desert on line.jpg

The backing for the Ombré Desert color way is Destination Aerial from my Tapestry collection for AGF. It was the perfect shades of blues and peaches!

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I lucked out with the perfect (although a bit windy) day for photography and love how the blue of the sky looks with these quilts. The balloons look as if they will fly away!!!

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I can’t wait to see your finished Hold Tight quilts, there’s so many possibilities for coloring and even the finishing options make this quilt look completely unique. Be sure to tag me @sharonhollanddesigns when posting to social media and don’t forget to use the hashtag #holdtightsewalong to be entered into our final giveaway that will be drawn from the Instagram hashtag pool on Monday, April 15 (see below for more details).

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Let’s give a huge shout out of thanks to our fine sponsors and their generous giveaway prizes. I personally love the people behind these companies, their quality products, and their dedication to serving makers like you.

Thank you to our friends at Dritz Sewing, the Fat Quarter Shop, Hobbs Batting, and Omnigrid have generously sponsored the Hold Tight Sew Along.

This Friday, April 12th will be our last Hold Tight Sew Along 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 The Fat Quarter Shop

FQS Giveaway.jpg

You may need to be restocking your solids stash after this sew along so what better way add some color to your fabric cabinet than with a chance to win this giveaway! One lucky IG winner will be sewing with this beautiful 15-piece Art Gallery Fabrics Summer Sun Pure Elements fat quarter bundle generously offered by the Fat Quarter Shop.

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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 #3

Hold Tight Sew Along Week #3

Hold Tight Sew Along 3A Sq cover.jpg

Welcome to Week #3 of the Hold Tight Sew Along where I'll be sharing 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 along with the Hold Tight quilt kit. 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.

Hold Tight Sew Along Banner web.jpg

The Hold Tight Sew Along tutorials are 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.

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.

Hold Tight Piecing.jpg

Even though I’ve labeled this pattern an intermediate skill level quilt pattern, I firmly believe that even a confident beginner can tackle curved patchwork with ease because you’ve completed the following:

  1. You’ve printed out the PDF instructions and templates to 100% scale (not borderless) onto US letter size paper and because you’ve cut your fabrics true to size (see Hold Tight Sew Along Week #2 post).

  2. You’re sewing with an accurate seam allowance. As with any patchwork sewing its imperative to stitch with an accurate 1/4” seam allowance. Take a moment to read the Seam Allowance section on my Perfect Patchwork tutorial.

I’ve prepared bonus videos for this week’s tutorial and you’ll find the Hold Tight Sew Along Week #3 parts 1 and 2 are extremely helpful for pinning, sewing, press, and squaring up your blocks. Find all the Hold Tight Sew Along videos on my Sew Along page.

Sewing Curves

Sewing Curves 1.jpg

First image: To begin, find the center of an A and B shape and finger press a crease. With the largest A shape on the bottom (right side up), pin midpoints with the smaller B shape, right side down, on top.

Second image: Align a short, squared end of the B shape to the corner (straight) edge of the A shape and pin. Repeat on the other side.

Sewing Curves 2.jpg

Place the pinned pieces over your knee or a pressing form to help the curved pieces align. Place additional pins at equal distances so the curved edges match.

Sewing Curves 3.jpg

Using an accurate 1/4” seam allowance, stitch with a short (2.4-2.6) stitch length. Slowly sew the seam along the curve with the sewing machine needle in the down position. By having the needle lowered into the fabric when the machine is stopped this allows the presser foot to be raised and holds the fabric in place without loosing the needle position.

Remove pins as you sew. Avoid pulling or pushing the pieces to be sewn so as not to stretch the bias curved edges. Continue to check that the raw edges are matched and lift presser foot to reduce any bulk in fabric before lowering and continuing to stitch.

Sewing Curves 4.jpg

Once two pieces have been sewn together, finger press the seam open. Press block in an up and down motion (not side to side) to avoid distorting the block.

Note: For this quilt I recommend pressing the seams open because it will be easier to assemble the quilt top and avoid bulky seams.

If you’re piecing a B/B/C block where three shapes are sewn to make a block, press the first seam open before proceeding to stitching the second seam. Once a block(s) are pieced, proceed to Squaring the Blocks.

Squaring the Blocks

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Use the Block Trimming Template found in the PDF and make a plastic template. Transfer all markings onto the plastic. See Week #2 blog post. I’ve added in some extra wiggle room into the Hold Tight blocks and they’ll need to be trimmed exactly to size for quilt assembly. Tip: Use rolled Washi tape to hold the plastic template in place while cutting. This also allows the template to easily be rotated when trimming a different side.

First image: For an A/B, align the square edge of the Block Trimming Template to the right angles of the A shape (lower left) as this piece will have the least amount of distortion from sewing.

Use the curve marking of the Block Trimming Template to match template with the curved seam on the block.

Second image: Before trimming the block to size, take a moment and make sure the seam allowance area of the Block Trimming Template is covering fabric on all sides and that the curve(s) of the template and block match and seam allowances are true. Trim sides as necessary to square the block.

Hold Tight Template Trimming 3.jpg

When trimming a B/B/C block, use both curve markings on the Block Trimming Template (see second image where the curved markings have been highlighted in black). Align template to block curves and double check that seam allowance is correct on all sides before trimming.

HoldTightSewAlong Sponsor.jpg

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 Hobbs Batting

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I’m so excited for this week’s giveaway. Our friends at Hobbs Batting are offering batting prizes for two winners. We’re holding a giveaway here on the blog (see entry details below) and another winner drawn from the #holdtightsewalong Instagram hashtag pool.

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The lucky winners will be able to select three, throw-size batts of their choice from the following fine quality Hobb’s Tuscany brand battings. I personally love the Hobb’s Tuscany batting collection and found it to be the best batting for handling, drape, stitch definition, and quality.

Tuscany Poly

Tuscany Unbleached Cotton

Tuscany Bleached Cotton

Tuscany SUPREME Cotton

Tuscany Cotton/Wool

Tuscany Wool

Tuscany Silk


Giveaway now Closed. Congratulations to Margaret Swan!

Note: This giveaway is open to EVERYONE! If you're a "no reply" or anonymous commenter, please remember to include your email address in your comment--you can't win if I can't get a hold of you!

1. Simply leave a comment here under this post! (First comment entry).

2. Follow Hobbs batting on one of their social media platforms *  Blog  *  Instagram  *  Facebook  *  Just let me know that you did by making a separate comment here to record that entry. (Separate comment - second entry). 

3. My followers get a third entry! If you follow via subscribing to my posts, through Bloglovin (or other service), or on Instagram, just let me know by making a separate comment here to record that entry. (Separate comment - third entry). 

4. Help spread the word!! I know that many of you already do, so I thought it would be nice to add that as another way to enter! Spread the word about the Hold Tight Sew Along on YOUR instagram, facebook, tweet, pin, blog post, etc... (separate comment - fourth entry). 

That’s FOUR possible entries! Enter now through Monday, April 8th! The winner will be picked at random around 4 pm Eastern. I will post the name of the winner on this post once they've been notified and responded to my email.

Don't forget the giveaway for this week is also held on Instagram for an additional chance to win and will be randomly drawn on Monday. The winner is 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 and don’t forget to tag me too! 

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.

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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.

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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.