Tuesday, December 27, 2016

a Color Story {Penny Sampler}

OK, friends, I'm going to take what feels like a big risk.  I'm going to try a dark, low-contrast color story for my Penny Sampler.  I've never made a quilt in dark colors, so I'm short on confidence.  I hope it works out!

Do you ever feel like that?  So tentative about color?  Usually I feel pretty confident about my color choices, but this time is different.  Maybe I'm pushing myself far outside my comfort zone because I am making this quilt for the second time?  I don't know, but I can sense the edge of the cliff.  It's scary out here!

Succulents inspiration
photograph by Miasole

This is the main image that spoke to me when I sat down recently to pin down a color scheme for my Penny Sampler.  After considering the color schemes from the course and my favorite Penny Sampler quilts that I showcased earlier this month, it seems I'm craving something drastically different.  This felt succulent arrangement by Etsy shop Miasole makes such a statement on an expansive dark gray background.  It's colorful, but so dark.  Quite a departure from all the white-white-white that tends to define my favorite color schemes lately.

Inspiration
Starry Forest, Quilt, Sofa, Succulents

Peeking around Pinterest, I collected other images with a similar vibe.  It was especially heartening to find a gorgeous quilt version.  Hurray, proof that dark and low-contrast can work as a quilt!  But can it work for the Penny Sampler?

There's nothing to do but find out, I suppose.  Color story?  Check.  Now to zero in on some specific colors...

Penny Sampler fabrics

Using my manipulative Kona color card (from Color Intensive), I've gathered color swatches spied in the felt succulent image.  Here they are lounging on Kona Charcoal with a small bit of Cosmic Blue from FreeSpirit Designer Solids.

Penny Sampler fabrics

Once I have my colors, I'm ready to pull fabrics.  I spread open a dark gray background and piled on solids and prints that fit.  I find I can include many Anna Maria Horner prints, including Good Folks - my favorite fabric collection of all time.  Using favorite fabrics feels like insurance on a project like this.

Penny Sampler fabrics

After choosing colors and making a large stack of fabric possibilities, the Penny Sampler course instructs students to choose a few key starting fabrics for particular aspects of the quilt.  These starting fabrics provide a skeleton of sorts for the quilt.  I've chosen gray fabrics for many of my borders and that Cosmic Blue for my Penny Candy sashing. 

Freespirit Designer Solids

Next it was time to order fabric!  Of all the inspiration colors, I was short on cool purples and grays.  I've ordered a range of lovely purples, deep blues and lots of Cosmic Blue in FreeSpirit Designer Solids, plus that Skipping Stones dark gray print that could be useful throughout the quilt.  I hope that, combined with my stash fabrics, these give me plenty of ingredients for a dark and dramatic Penny Sampler. 

Fingers Crossed!

p.s.  We haven't started yet!  Now is the perfect time to sign up for the 2017 Penny Sampler.  You'll receive a pdf course book on the first of each month with detailed lessons for learning machine applique, precise traditional piecing and machine paper piecing while making the blocks of the Penny Sampler.  Available as a 6-month or 12-month sampler program.   Register to join us at my Pattern Shop in whichever version of the journey suits you.  Both samplers start sewing in January!


31 comments:

  1. I love your succulent color inspiration and I have no doubt at all that you will pull it off. Your post makes me yearn to sign up but I had already surmised this isn't a good time for me to try this. As it turns out, I was even more correct than I thought. :-(
    Just not the right time for me.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Pat! I'm sorry it's not a good time for you, especially as that sounds stressful. Best wishes for a good New Year regardless!

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  2. Signed up last minute as a Christmas gift to myself. Super excited to start this! Due to my schedule it is extremely difficult for me to make it to local classes. This format is awesome; thank you for doing this!

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  3. I signed up for your 6 month penny sampler course a few weeks ago, and I'm really excited! It's my first quilt-along/course ever, though I would consider myself a pretty experienced quilter. I decided I'm going to make this quilt as a throw for my couches, so I did a fabric pull of fabrics that coordinate. I, too, am going to have a dark grey and black background, but my brighter colours are quite different; apple green, burnt orange, light blue, red, and yellow. I felt a little hesitant about choosing such a dark background because of the colour stories you talked about in the first pre-course book. I tend to gravitate towards darker and brighter colours, though, and don't use a lot of white, and I really like the looks of the fabric pull I did and think the quilt will look really good. I'm glad that someone else will be going with a dark background too, though! (And not just any someone, but the course teacher! Lol).

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    1. The nice thing about dark colors is they tend to wear better with use too! It will be fun to see your quilt develop with a similar color scheme =)

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  4. This is really tempting. Really, really tempting. The succulents picture is gorgeous. This would be so much fun to do. Is there still a limited number allowed? Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

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    1. Hi, Wendy! With this format there is not a limited amount of students. There's still time to join us!

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  5. Your inspiration photo is beautiful! I can't wait to see your quilt. I made your Penny Sampler two years ago in white, gray, yellow, aqua, teal and red. I still love it!

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  6. I love the colors you put together here. Soooo soothing. the gray tones and the yellow, and gold and the pink
    I hope that the participants can share their creativity.

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  7. Omg. That picture of succulents is just yummy. Scary, but fabulous!! Can't wait to see do with it. I asked Santa for this, but unfortately it wasn't in my stocking Christmas morning... Now I have to sort it out for myself, and quickly too!!
    E xx

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  8. I instantly smiled when I read about the swatches 'lounging' on Kona Charcoal. Rachel, your color choices never dissapoint! Looking forward to the quilt's progress.

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  9. I like your choice of color quite a lot, Rachel. This Penny Sampler Quilt of yours will look stunning, I'm absolutely sure. I am so waiting for the start of the project.

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement! Best of luck with choosing your colors =)

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  10. I have to tell you I love your color choices even more than I loved the first lot. I think they are totally gorgeous. I am going to sign up again next month for the 12 month course and this time actually do it. My daughter is still okayish and I haven't stitched or sewn anything now for almost 2 years. So enough wallowing I think. Elora is absolutely beautiful and I'm so happy she has brought you all so much joy. Love Patti xxx

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    1. Oh, Patti. It's so hard to be in your spot. Hugs to you. I hope you find your way to be there for her and for yourself too =)

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    2. Thank you so much Rachel. But now I need to start something new. And this 12 month class is going to be it. I know I've taken it before and have everything I need to do it by myself but I think I need you and everyone else doing it to keep me in target. Should the worst happen I'll just have to drop out. But I'm praying that it doesn't. Lots of Love Patti xxx

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  11. I made a dark version of the Penny Sampler when I took your class three years ago. It came out very well if I do say so myself! I'm sure yours will as well. :)

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  12. Oh, this color scheme is fabulous. The green really makes it all pop. I made a quilt with a black background once and I never looked back!

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    1. Really? That's good to know. The green makes me worry sometimes, but green is probably my favorite color! I guess I never do it with gray though... Good to try new things!

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  13. I can't wait to see your progress! I'm drawn to more colorful/dark backgrounds as opposed to white. And purples/blues/greens are 👌🏼 Love it!!

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  14. I like the colors you've pulled a lot although they are a bit too dark for me. What I like in the quilt in your mosaic that there are several dark fabrics and make the whole quilt a bit lighter then a single color dark background (I hope you understand what I wanna say;-)

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  15. Awesome colors. It will be fabulous. I'm going way way way outside of my normal color zone on this one too. So For the first time in my short quilters life I actually sort of planned the color lay out. Or maybe I just wanted to do some "fun ahead colouring" using the happy colouring page in the Prelude.

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  16. Rachel, this sounds super exciting! I love your inspiration photos, fabrics and colours you have picked! I think it's a time for a change to use new colours. I love and need happy colours, white and light but lately I'm also thinking often darker colours on quilts. Have to admit that at the moment I'm out of inspiration and evergy so I have to do something very interesting to cheer myself up. That will be one of my quilt designs from the 30 day challenge. I'm really looking for to follow your quilt grow up and to see more about these 'new' colours! x Teje

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  17. Fabulous fabrics and yes, it will work and look terrific!

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  18. I really love your inspiration photos and the prints you pulled out ! I am hoping to include some Anna maria Horner fabrics too! I signed up for the 12 months but I did not receive any lessons yet. Some of your readers talk about a design sheet and a "prelude" . Did I miss that ?

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  19. Aah tes! I'm going for a dark colourway too, it's so reassuring to see you Do the same! So far i chose navys with red, bright pink and purple, i hope IT Works!

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  20. I love your color scheme. I also decided to do my Penny Sampler with a dark background and dusty blues, pinks and some gold. I might throw in some other colors as I go, but I'm really excited.

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  21. Oh, this is going to be so lovely! I can't wait :)

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  22. Very excited for fabric selections! Love your choices. Should be an interesting quilt. I still have to get my book downloaded...slow Internet in "rural" Las vegas makes for interesting downloads. We just got to upgrade from satellite Internet last year, so I guess that's a bonus haha

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  23. Ooooooh, I can't wait to see what you come up with. Too fun to do something out of the ordinary. Not that you do ordinary, but you know what I mean. A good challenge for you, Rachel! And I feel like we all have enough confidence in you to lift you when you feel lost. You'll figure it out. You always do. Xxo

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  24. I think the colour story wonderful. It will be such a grown up looking quilt once it is finished.

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