Kingfisher Stitch-Along: Color Scheme Ideas

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This post is part of the Kingfisher Stitch-Along series.  This free, portable project combines English paper piecing, applique and traditional piecing.  Get all the details here.

I'm so glad that you love the design of Kingfisher, a collaborative stitch-along hosted by myself and Jodi at Tales of Cloth!  We've heard from lots of you who are making the quilt with EPP flowers that needed a good home.  That's awesome!  And then many others are starting from scratch with choosing colors and fabrics. 

Between the diamond backgrounds, flowers, borders and triangle accents, there are so many fabric choices to make with Kingfisher quilt.  Today I want to highlight some color scheme ideas. 

Even if you have already chosen your colors, read on for tips to keep in mind as you select fabrics your quilt.


for Scrappy Flowers

Got scraps?  Each hexagon flower can stand alone as its own little color scheme.  Unify each flower with color.  Multiple bright pink scraps become a bright pink flower.  Multiple aqua scraps become an aqua flower.  You can go full scrappy, following the whims of your scrap bin, or focus on color families  (ex. brights, pastels or jewel tones) to create a loose theme for your quilt.

Scrap quilts are lively and vibrant, but they can become visually overwhelming.  With all of the different fabrics used in the flowers themselves, it's best not to create a lot of contrast in the background diamonds as well.  With so much color and contrast, the eye won't have anywhere to rest.  Consider drawing attention to your flowers by choosing quiet fabrics for the background diamonds.  

Low Volume Diamonds

Jodi began her Kingfisher quilt earlier this spring.  She's making scrappy flowers and found out by trial and error that low volume works well.

Jodi's process.jpg
I went with low volume after appliqueing about 10 hexies to solid diamonds. I don’t have a huge range of solids, and I think that was my problem. The hexies on them went from looking bright and shiny to dull and messy just like that! I still love the idea of seeing the diamonds in high contrast, but I wonder if that would work better... in a more controlled palette.
— Jodi Godfrey

Monochromatic Diamonds

Are you making scrappy flowers but don't favor low volume?  Consider cutting your diamond fabrics all in one main color.  For example, create a field of lovely green diamonds or a sparkling aqua/blue sea.  No need to use only one shade of green or blue, etc.  Include variations of your focal color, which will create areas of definition in the diamonds.  Still, the overall effect of a monochromatic scheme for your diamond backgrounds will be to bring the flowers to center stage.  

Strategic Flower Centers

You can also bring order to your scrappy flowers with a consistent plan for your flower centers.  For example, all of your fabric centers could be made with black or near-black fabrics.  That's the style of my Flowers for Eleni hexie flower quilt, and I love the effect!  But it doesn't have to be black.  You could use one fabric for all of your fabric centers, be it a solid or print. 

Cutting Fabrics for EPP.jpg

Or, what about using solids for all of your flower centers?  Little touches of unity can make a big impact!


for Curated Flowers

If you're not making a scrap quilt, you are likely creating a curated color scheme.  You'll make flowers in your key colors, perhaps with some fussy cutting to make the most of your prints. 

Because your quilt has a cohesive color palette, it already has a natural order and simplicity.  You could still choose to make quiet diamonds in low volume or a monochromatic scheme.  But, if you'd like to add another layer of interest, consider using multiple colors for your background diamonds.  Using multiple colors will define the edges of the diamond patchwork.  Choose carefully, keeping in mind the balance you hope to achieve between the diamonds and the flowers.

Tiled Diamonds

You could use just two fabrics to create tiled diamonds.  Alternate colors every other diamond, creating a checkerboard style grid.  Black and white would be classic choices, but very high contrast.  Something more subtle, such as two similar colors (i.e. navy and plum), would add interest without stealing the show.

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Mixed Diamonds

Or, consider using lots of different fabrics for your background diamonds, in all the colors of your palette.  If you go this route, look for solids or near solids for these background fabrics, so that the work doesn't become too visually complicated.  Also, pay attention to the value relationships between the flowers and the background fabrics.  A lighter flower looks nice on a darker diamond and vice versa.  

Kingfisher color sheet.jpg

Border Tips

Kingfisher has a total of 3 borders.  Starting at the inside, border 1 is a thin accent border, border 2 is the wide central border and border 3 is the outer border. 

Of course, there are lots of ways to work with the borders. Here's one approach.  Use a strong color for border 1 and the accent triangles.  These elements can serve as a framing flourish around your quilt.  Then, use more subtle fabrics for borders 2-3.  You might even use fabrics for borders 2-3 that somewhat match the background diamonds.   

border fabrics.jpg

My quilt will have mixed diamonds with a curated flower palette as shown above.  The partial diamonds at the edges will be made in the same olive foliage fabric as border 2.  As a result, the thin purple border 1 and triangle accents will seem to float over the olive foliage fabric

A totally different approach is to use the border to contrast as a whole with your diamond/flower center.  For example, if you make scrappy flowers with low volume diamond backgrounds, you might choose a few bold colors from your flowers as inspiration for your border fabric choices.

Whatever you choose, we're excited that you're stitching along with us!  The stitching formally begins next week with some basics on English paper piecing.  Keep tuning into Stitched in Color the blog, or follow Tales of Cloth and Stitched in Color on Instagram to stay in the loop.

Have fun!