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Quilting Happiness: Projects, Inspiration, and Ideas to Make Quilting More Joyful, co-authored by Diane Gilleland and Christina Lane, includes a collection of quilt projects, blended with creative exercises, quizzes, tools and interviews to help you explore how quilting makes you happy.

Published by Potter Craft, this gorgeous book offers twenty projects including lots of beautiful new quilt designs. You can make your own “Plus You” Quilt or explore your favorite parts of making a quilt; the book features all sorts of things– lovely designs, pretty new trends– on our minds lately (plus quilts!, your favorite quilting tasks, etc.)! Don’t miss the Quilting Happiness site for lots of behind-the-scenes looks at the book, free quilting patterns and more.

From the publisher:

    Quilting Happiness is an inspiring collection guaranteed to encourage quilters to enhance and expand their quilting experiences in new and innovative directions. Each step-by-step quilt project is accompanied by a wealth of valuable advice, creative exercises, profiles, and fun sidebar elements.

    Quilting Happiness will motivate all levels of quilters to get more from their craft. Whether you quilt in order to play with patterns, to make art, to craft for others, or to join a growing community, you will discover more meaningful reasons to love quilting.

To celebrate Quilting Happiness: Projects, Inspiration, and Ideas to Make Quilting More Joyful, Christina created a special Forest Path Quilt Pattern just for Sew Mama Sew readers!

In her post below she shares her thoughts on how to select fabrics and colors that work well together in a quilt. Christina has some great resources for you and then you can download her Forest Path Quilt Pattern too!

Comment on today’s post for a chance to win a copy of Quilting Happiness: Projects, Inspiration, and Ideas to Make Quilting More Joyful. What gives you joy when it comes to quilting?

Choosing fabrics in quilts can be a daunting task. For me, it is by far the least favorite part of making a quilt. I know what I like, but translating that into the quilt from my fabric stash is a stressful process. I have been known to use whole lines of fabric to make a quilt, because everything coordinates and it makes my job easy. There are times, though, when I want that scrappier look. Each of the quilts in Quilting Happiness was carefully thought out and agonized over. A lot of the quilts use lines of fabric, for example the Odds & Ends quilt is Miscellany and the Can’t Help Myself quilt is Good Folks, but there are a few quilts that mesh different lines together to get just the right look.

The Time Stands Still quilt is one example of a quilt that I pulled fabrics for from my stash. The fabrics I used were not my first pull of fabrics, and I had to consult with a friend several times to make sure my choices were working well together. Sometimes having that second opinion makes all the difference. We touch only briefly on color in Quilting Happiness, but what we do have to say is something I rely on quite a lot– take a picture of your fabric selections before proceeding. There is something about having a photo of all the fabrics together that has you seeing the stack more clearly. Especially if you have a few variations of that stack you are deciding on.

Aside from having a color-savvy friend and my camera on hand, something I rely on greatly for color choices is my computer. Almost every quilt I render ends up made in the same colorways it was designed in. In Quilting Happiness, along with the photos of the quilts, there is a full color diagram of the completed quilts in solids, and those solids are, for the most part, how I originally designed them. Most of the time I don’t start designing until I have a visual representation of the colors I like. So, if you are like me, I have some tools to share with you for making the job of finding colors easier.

I mostly use the tools on my computer, but the internet has some great resources I turn to from time to time. Kuler is by far the best color picking program I’ve ran across yet, and it’s free! It’s so easy to move the color picker around and choose colors I like all at random, or a collection based around one color I like. I can also upload a photo and have it populate a collection based on their preset themes.

In the above screen shot I used a photo of some succulents that had a great set of colors (found here). I started with the “Neutral” theme and then moved a few of the dots around for a custom color palette I was happy with. Having a set of colors that I feel works well for a quilt, I can now try them out in my quilt block.

Two great programs for plugging colors into shapes is Threadbias’ Quilt Design Tool (which is free to play around with) and Google Drive’s drawing option (under the Create button, choose “Design”). Threadbias makes it easy to add fabrics to your stash, so once you have colors you like you can find fabrics to use, or you can simple plug in the HEX value of colors. (If you “Edit” your saved color theme in Kuler, you will see the HEX and RGB values.) I also utilize the color grid option on retail fabric websites these days, to help me at least narrow down my choices if I’m buying fabric for the project.

Before I settled on the custom pallet, I tried out the other options that Kuler gave me to see what worked best for the block. Even if you don’t choose to use something like Threadbias to help you with coloring, color pencils and graph paper can give you an idea of how your choices will work in a finished block.

Once I have an idea of how the fabrics will work with in a block and a quilt as a whole, I will start selecting my fabrics. I find the best way to approach this is to just start pulling all the prints and solids that are within the range of colors I’ve chosen to render my diagrams with. Usually, once I have them all pulled I start to see how they work together and can eliminate or go forward. Sometimes I make a block and hate it, so I just start again with different fabrics. It’s never a definite thing, there’s a lot of trial and error sometimes.

If you are like me and struggle with color and fabric choices, I recommend you give these tools a try and I have a great block to try your fabrics out on. It’s quick and simple and is a great way to play around with colors.

Enjoy the Forest Path Quilt and don’t be afraid to play with color, especially when you can play with it digitally before cutting into your precious stash of fabrics.