One of my favorite quilt YouTube channels did a segment called, "Shop Your Stash" where the hosts would grab a random - often strange or ugly - focal fabric and pull coordinates from their fabric collection, explaining the process as they went. Sadly, the channel no longer exists (RIP The StitchTV Show - I miss you!). But, I love the idea - and I have TONS of fabric so here's my version.
Ever purchase a piece of fabric because it simply called to you to buy? No plans for it. No need for it. And often not really a budget for it either, BUT you buy it anyway. ...yeah, I know I'm not the only one out there! That's what happened with this gorgeous print by Anna Maria Horner. And if you're in the Albany, NY area you can lots of modern quilting fabric like this at Amelia's Garden in Delmar, NY.
This is Hindsight, manufactured by Free Spirit Fabrics. It's a big floral print. That pink flower is about 8 inches across; and there's a bigger one (not shown) that's nearly a foot across.
At the time, this was purely a spontaneous purchase. But now I've found a purpose for it. I'm currently exploring a big-block series, and these huge flowers will be the perfect focal fabric. And since I'm striving to buy less, and use more, I pulled out the multiple boxes of fabric to search for coordinates.
How to choose coordinates?
There are plenty of quilters out there who have an opinion on choosing coordinating fabrics. This is what I do. The first thing I do is look at the printed selvedge of the fabric. Fabric manufacturers put a color code along the edge showing the different shades used in the fabric. Let's take a closer look:
Thirteen colors in this print. And look at those cute little leaves; no color dots for this line - they got something special! So I start here. I look at all the colors used in the print and use this as a guide when I go to my stash.
Typically I like to pull in a few solid fabrics first. They're the easiest fabrics to pull because the single tone compares well to the color guide on the selvedge. Also, personally I think having a few solid fabrics in the quilt gives the eye some resting space. They're great for small piecing or to use a accents against busy focal or secondary fabrics.
I was really lucky with my selection as I had an exact match for the dark turquoise, medium turquoise, and orange. Both the purple and lavender are a touch darker than the color guide, but when sitting against the fabric they match in color tone. I also pulled a very light turquoise as well, mostly to give some fullness to the spectrum of light-medium-dark fabrics.
On to print coordinates... some think this is where it gets tricky, but I really like to add prints to give the quilt interest. And I try to add tone-on-tone prints along with prints that could be considered secondary focal fabrics. Theme wise, I like to mix it up as much as possible too. So adding polka-dots and strips prints with a big floral focal print is how I keep the eye moving around the quilt. Here's what I pulled from my stash:
There's a few tone-on-tones in the selection, and a couple secondary focal fabrics too. Sadly, no strips. (Good excuse for some shopping if you ask me.)
The first on the left is a tone-on-tone turquoise; and it's pulling two of the solid turquoises from above. The second fabric, a green fabric with a brown feather-floral motif, doesn't match exactly to the focal fabric. But tonal, shade-wise it pulls toward the #2, 6, 7, & 8 color guides so nicely that I decided to keep it. Next is the lovely yellow with pink "dots"; it was an obvious addition as it matched well and gives a little variety to the overall design. The next three fabrics are all tone-on-tone with different patterns. And my visional eye candy is the last piece. Since I had no strips, I threw in some zig-zags to satisfy the geometric urge in my heart. The purple match pretty well, and the light blue and light lavender in this print pairs nicely with the background of the focal fabric.
Let's look at the coordinate pull altogether:
And with the focal fabric:
So now it's your turn! Go shop your stash before you open up that wallet!
I hope you enjoyed my Shop-Your-Stash; check out a few links regarding some of the items I mentioned below.
Until next time - back to the lab!
Anna Maria Horner
Free Spirit Fabrics
The Stitch TV Show - while no longer in production, their YouTube channel still exists; enjoy!