Color Inspiration

Do you struggle with color choices for your quilts?  No doubt, some look at my quilts and think I should spend more time struggling with color!  🙂  I use fabrics, designs and colors that I enjoy working with.  There was a time when I spent more time worrying about whether the fabrics “matched” or went together but not so much anymore.

Sometimes I find a print and then coordinate fabrics with that print.  More times than not, the print doesn’t even get used in my quilt, because I have such a hard time using anything other than tone on tone.

Often I’ll find inspiration in nature, especially in spring when flowers are blooming, since fall colors don’t show up so often in my quilts.

While going through some old pictures on a memory stick, I found these photos I had taken while in Louisiana last year.  Often when I see colors I like, no matter if they’re quilt related or not, I’ll take a picture for future reference.

Purple, pink, green and gold — my favorite colors to work with.

Mauve, Green, Aqua and Gold – more colors I love working with.  I’m still sorry I didn’t buy this piece.  I would re-do a room to match this piece.

Where do you find inspiration for the colors you choose for your quilts?  How do you choose the colors to  use?  Do you struggle more than you wish?  Do you feel like your quilts have to match something or do you mostly quilt just to make a quilt, without a whole lot of regard for where it’s going to be used or if it matches something?


  1. 1


    My problem is trying to settle on what pattern to use. I pick my colors by standing in front of the wall of bolts and pick what jumps out at me. Then I work from there.

  2. 2

    Sue in Scottsdale, AZ says

    I always struggle with picking my colors. I try to scan my fabrics and play with my design and colors in EQ but it doesn’t always work. For example, I have this sampler pattern I am making. I spent lots of time choosing fabrics from my stash, scanning them, and colorizing my EQ drawing. I found what I thought was a perfect group of fabrics. Last night I made my first block and I don’t like two of my colors. I don’t have any other fabrics in my stash that will work and I refuse to purchase additional fabrics. I am now trying another color scheme and starting the scanning and coloring again. I hope these fabrics work!

  3. 3


    I don’t match any quilts for interior decorating…I have no talent for that.
    I just use whatever makes me happy at the moment…which sometimes becomes a bit of an eyesore! Oh well…it’s fun!

  4. 4

    Diane says

    I like to find a print and match the colors. Like you sometimes the print never makes it into the quilt.

  5. 5


    If one of my fabrics is a multi print I might pull some colors from there and use lights, mediums and darks. I made a homemade Jinny Beyer portable pallette that I take to the fabric shop and its great for trying to match a color without pulling out my whole stash. I also love using EQ7s random recolor button. Sometimes I’ll design in black white and gray then use the recolor button to get color combos I wouldn’t even think of. If you like a certain fabric line you can delete the default pallette and load your fabric choices and the recolor button will only use those when click the “map to fabrics” button. I also found a website once that picked the colors from an uploaded photo, very cool for seasonal quilts.

  6. 6

    Linda in NE says

    I’ve been making mostly scrappy quilts lately so no color struggle at all….just light and dark. When I did make a three-color quilt for my grand-daughter I wound up buying three different purples before I found the one that looked right. See why I like scrappy??

  7. 9


    I’m a big fan of the color swatches you get at the hardware store. I’m always trying to create a palate of 3-4 colors I’ve never seen before–which isn’t easy! Our guild once used 2 randomly selected crayons for a challenge–you could only use those two colors and their subtle shades or tints with only one background fabric. Some great outcomes!

  8. 11


    I never make a quilt for a special spot, I just make a quilt and it finds a home (or not). I tend to use a lot of blues, I try to use other colors too (and sometimes no blues at all), but somehow the quilts with mostly blues (and greens) in it work best. I dye my own fabric and use the colours I get.

    BTW is it colours or colors????

  9. 12

    Karen says

    I don’t think there’s usually a method to my madness. Sometimes I start with a pattern that I want to make, other times I’ll fall in lust with a particular fabric in a shop and I’ll build a color palette around it.

  10. 13

    pdudgeon says

    most of the time i find the fabric first, and then choose a pattern.
    as for choosing colors, or where they go in a pattern, it depends totally upon the Season at the time. Eventually i want to have made enough quilts so that I can change my quilts each week to suit the Season or the Holiday.

  11. 14

    Evelyn B in MA says

    I tend to fall in love with a focus fabric and then find coordinates based on what’s in the focus fabric. But the coordinates don’t have to come out of the focus fabric’s line. My quilts are usually made just because I like the pattern, not for a particular person or place.

  12. 15


    I think I usually pick out fabrics first. Since I USE TO to set up all my fabrics in “sets” and then when I wasnt using them up so fast, decided that there might be some that I COULD use, so rearranged them by color. Lately, everything I have started has been a scrap quilt, and I need to get those done before I start on anything else. I just make quilts, and dont worry where they are going. Our bedroom is a sage color, and I have found it goes with nearly everything, and if not, who cares? I have a girlfriend who I quilt with, that everything HAS to match AND be seasonal. Drives me crazy! But, to each their own. I don’t think mine look any worse in my bedroom then hers looks better. People mostly look at the quilts, not if they match or not.

  13. 16


    OMG where in the world did you see that Fleur-de-lis cross? I LOVE THAT! I can’t believe you didn’t snatch that thing up! It’s outstanding!