Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Color Wheel Blenders

Not long ago I put together a blogger's bundle for Brenda from Pink Castle Fabrics. The bundle I chose is a stash-building bundle based on the color wheel.  Brenda kindly sent me my own bundle. (Edit--The color wheel bundle is currently sold out. A couple fabrics shown are out of stock. Brenda will be making a few substitutions and re-listing the bundle soon!)

Source: Pink Castle Fabrics
With all the color wheel swaps and projects I've done, there have been many questions about how I choose fabrics and decide on colors.  First off I like to have some basic reference colors to compare.  I made charm packs for our quilt guild from these Kona colors.  It gives me a good reference point when I'm debating on whether a color is purple or blue-purple.
Kona colors: Tangerine, Orange, Papaya, Canary, Lime, Clover, Jade, Pacific, Lapis, Purple, Cerise, & Red.
I organize my stash based on the 12 colors of the color wheel plus a box for pink.  The large majority of my stash is blenders: tone-on-tone, white-on-tone, dots, and small print fabrics.  I love being able to mix anything together.  When a print doesn't have much going on, it's easy to blend with other fabrics.  Large print fabrics are generally a bad choice for color wheel blenders unless it's white-on-tone or tone-on-tone.  I broke my own rule with the Field Study green print, but it was about the only true green I could find when choosing my bundle.  Green can be hard.

Building a stash based on color takes time.  That's the idea behind this bundle.  Most quilters wouldn't create a project with just these 12 fabrics, but it's a great starting point to begin pulling in other fabrics.  We'll mix up this bundle in the future and hopefully offer a new color wheel bundle in a few months.  When buying for my stash, I rarely buy more than a fat quarter.  When doing a scrappy project based on color, I want to use as many fabrics as possible.  I've found that blue-purple and true green tend to be the hardest fabrics to find.  I have very little of these colors in my stash.  Whenever I come across FQs in these colors I snatch them up.

Here are a few examples of my favorite types of blenders.

White-on-tone or Tone-on-white:
I love these type of prints.  They go with anything and are usually simple designs that blend very well with other fabrics.

I don't have many stripes I consider blenders, but these are a few I dug up from my stash.  The green Heather Bailey stripe is one I have used over and over again.  It's definitely a favorite.

Small prints:
Generally these are small designs with just a few colors.  They still read the color of the background fabric, but the simple patterns offer some variety.

By far this is my favorite type of blender to have in my stash.  They are so versatile and easy to work with.  They are perfect for some of the smaller color wheel projects I've done.
Every quilter needs a good selection of dots in the stash.  They go with anything.

Hope you all have a great weekend, especially those celebrating Thanksgiving!


  1. Thank you for such a detailed and informative post. So much of what you said resonated with me 100%.

  2. Thanks for the info! I have been struggling on how to organize my stash but I like your ideas.

  3. Love your Kona bundle. They are great!

  4. Lovely bundle - and soooo jealous of your stash!

  5. This is a great post about blenders & the color wheel - thanks. Hope it's ok I shared on AQT's fb page.

  6. Lovely post with great pics. Thank you so much.

  7. Lovely and very useful post!

    I have just re-stocked 3 different kinds of the Heather Bailey stripe fabric - at first I did not like it, but when cutting into it and using it, I instantly loved it. Much to my surprise :)

    I like your photo of the Kona colours that I have pinned it!

  8. Thank you so much for all the great tips. I'm new to quilting and I'm still trying to build my stash. I hope one day I have a lovely fabric collection like yours.

  9. I have to say I'm really enjoying Brenda's monthly stash builders, it's forcing me to get blenders that I might skip over normally when looking online. Great post on stash breakdown :o)