Monday, January 19, 2015

Looking for Summer

So I'm not starting the new year off with as big a bang as I'd hoped.  I've been sidelined for a week or so with an unidentified cold/flu/plague type illness, and with the rain and gray weather, I'm definitely looking for a lift.  I do have an idea for a summer quilt, but I been having trouble deciding on a summer color palette.

When I think of summer colors, I think of the beach, the garden, and sometimes, the 4th of July.  But each is a very different colorway -- blues/greens/beige for beach, green and every color under the sun for garden, and of course, red, white and blue for the 4th.  And trying to decide on a color palette is just the kind of thing that can stop me in my tracks and leave every surface of my workroom covered with fabric.

So today I decided to try something different -- a color palette generator.  I used Play Crafts' "Palette Builder 2.1."  You can find it at and it's so much fun!  Simply load an image and the palette builder randomly generates a matching color palette.  And the best part for us quilters is that it also generates suggestions for Kona Cotton Solids that match the image.

Here's an example of how the Palette Builder works:

I loaded in this picture that I took in Maine (just a smidge crooked) and the Palette Builder randomly chose the seven colors along the bottom, which are, I think a pretty good representation of the picture.  I wouldn't have seen the greeny-gray at first glance, but I love it with the navy next to it!

And today I discovered that if you're not happy with the colors that the generator selects, you can move the selection circles around on the image to try to capture other colors.  For example, here's an old photo of my son pretending to meditate at the beach along with the palette that the builder turned out.

It's nice, but I noticed that the brim of my son's hat is red and I wondered how a little red would look thrown in the mix.  So I moved one of the selection circles to his hat to capture some red and ended up with this palette:

Here are a couple more examples:

And if you don't have any pictures that approximate the palette you are considering, you can also search for images on-line to upload.

Here's a picture of sunflowers that I took a couple of years ago:

I do like the palette that the builder generated, but I was curious how the sunflower colors would look with a bit of blue.  So I googled "sunflowers" and loaded an image with the colors that I was looking for.  Here's the result:

The gold color really pops with the blue, but I still think I might prefer the more restful palette above.

I'm not sure I found my summer color palette today, but using the Palette Builder 2.1 is definitely the kind of addictive play that gets your creative juices flowing.  Just make sure you eventually get to work!

Before I go... make sure to check back here next week.  Quilters Newsletter magazine is hosting a blog tour to promote their latest special issue, Best Tradition with a Twist Quilts 2015.  They'll have stops at 9 designers' blogs with a chance to win prizes at each.  I'll be one of the designers kicking off the tour on Tuesday, January 27th.  Until then, happy quilting!


  1. What a wonderful tool. I bookmarked that site and already started playing with it. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  2. Thank you for this! I love seeing all of the different examples you give and will definitely be checking this out. How inspiring!


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