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Part 3: Choosing Fabrics and Colors: Playing in the Mud

Hello again. Here we are in Part 3 of my color journey using Joen Wolfrom’s     3-in-1 Color Tool. If you are new to our blog, you may want to take a few minutes to read Parts 1 and 2.

I spent the past two weeks digging through stacks of fabric and visiting several local quilt shops in search of what I call the “muddy” colors that will play well with the other fabrics I have selected. My goal in adding these tones to my palette is to help diminish the brightness of my original three prints. The tool was helpful in allowing me to narrow down the search and select my favorites.


Looking for good "playmates" in the muddy Fuchsia tones.



Here are a few bolts of muddy Aqua Blue prints.



I look for a variety of prints as I like lots of pattern play.


After going through this process, I have quite a large selection of fabrics (lights, darks, pure colors, and tones) to choose from. I wanted to take you through the process of collecting fabric for a particular color scheme, but unless you are making a very scrappy quilt, which I often do, you will want to narrow down the selection.

I think most quilters start with a pattern and then begin the process of choosing fabrics. I decided to experiment with the Memory Star pattern.



Memory Star block


I like this block not only because it offers many color opportunities, but also because it allows for some interesting secondary designs when the blocks are joined together. You only need to make one block to see these often-unexpected and exciting secondary designs.

To preview the secondary designs that form when multiple blocks in these fabrics are joined together along the sides, simply fold two opposite sides of the block into the center.


Secondary design formed where blocks join on the sides.


For a preview of the secondary designs that form where blocks meet in the corners, simply fold each of the corners into the center of the block and pin.


Secondary design formed where blocks join at the corners.


Auditioning your block this way also gives you an opportunity to make simple changes, perhaps alternating corner fabrics to produce even more interest. Look at the following photos to see how a simple adjustment in fabric placement changes the secondary designs.


Memory Star block in Triadic Color Scheme.



Secondary design when blocks join on the sides.



Secondary design where blocks join in the corners.


Thanks so much for joining me on this color journey. I hope you have found it helpful and that it encourages you to play with the 3-in-1 Color Tool and to experiment with fabrics and colors that you may not have yet explored.

As I mentioned in the first post in this series, if you are interested in a more in-depth study of color, I encourage you to follow Joen Wolfrom on her new blog, Playing with Color. I promise you a wealth of information and inspiration.

Until next time, happy sewing!

P.S. – Before signing off I want to show you just one last sample. This has been a fun process. I think I will be playing more with these fabrics. Be sure to check back to see the full quilts.


Scrappy four-patch blocks set on point.



#3in1ColorTool #choosingfabric #colorschemes #joenwolfrom

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