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Neutral Palettes: Sophisticated and Sensational!

Black adds drama to a neutral palette.

When I examine my fabric stash, it amazes me to see how many neutrals I’ve accumulated. For someone who’s usually drawn to and inspired by bright colors, it’s odd that neutrals take up more than their fair share of space, and when I do my annual sort through the “too-much-ever to-use-in-a lifetime” stash to make room for the new, I rarely give them up.

The versatile neutrals are especially wonderful for masculine quilts and, depending on the pattern selected, the results can range from traditional to contemporary. Here’s a quilt I made using the Urban Chic pattern for my niece and her husband as a wedding gift. The décor in their home is ultra modern, so I used lots of black, taupe, and cream fabrics with geometric prints.

Neutral palette using Urban Chic pattern.

Mother Nature provides a bounty of neutral inspiration, from stones to beach grass. One of my favorites is high-desert landscape (soft gray-greens and creams)–very yummy!

If you’re interested in a book on neutrals, try Alex Anderson’s Neutral Essentials from C&T Publishing. It’s full of information and includes seven projects using the neutral palette. C&T has generously donated a copy for today’s giveaway!

My blogging sister Darra has a charming little quilt featured in the book. It’s so cute, and very Darra with the buttons and rickrack.

Look for the project instructions in "Neutral Essentials"

Here’s a detail of another neutral quilt I made which favors more of the brown, tan, and gray hues. It was for my favorite nephew Joel and his wife:

Another of my favorites!

Several years ago, I attended Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar, CA, where I took Sylvia Einstein’s Dancing Rings workshop. The pieced-rings design is based on the classical Double Wedding Ring pattern. Sylvia is a phenomenal teacher and it was an inspiring, creative four days; however, I had chosen a neutral palette for my quilt and everyone else in the room was using brilliant, bright colors. I felt like a dandelion in a field of poppies. Once I got it out of the classroom, however, and away from the “colors,” it turned out to be another of my favorite quilts.

My dancing rings "dandelion"

If you haven’t tried working with the neutral palette, you’ve missed something special. Don’t forget to add glorious grays and beautiful blacks. Grays used to be difficult to find, but in the last couple of years they’ve been popping up in lots of fabric lines. Gray adds a modern sophistication to the traditional creams, tans, and browns.

To be entered in the giveaway for Neutral Essentials, post a comment telling me how you might like to explore neutrals. Or, if you’ve used them, let me know what you’ve created. The winner will be randomly chosen from comments received before midnight Friday, February 10th, and announced in my next post, Tuesday, February 14th.

Happy sewing!

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