A Color Wash with Sunflowers

Posted by Ruth on 28 April 2015 | 0 Comments

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Some quilters like color wash quilts while others prefer applique. I designed a number of quilts that incorporate both these. One is my most popular design "Simply Sunflowers" (available as pattern) which I also present as an online class at the Academyofquilting.com .... and we know every quilt has to have its own unique name right? So for my online workshop edition, I named it "Sunflowers at Dawn".

simply sunflowers the pattern

Simply Sunflower

Sunflowers at dawn - online workshop

Sunflowers at Dawn

Whichever you decide to make, whether its the pattern or the workshop, you'll need to know a few tips on selecting fabrics which is part of the first lesson in the workshop...

To create a color wash effect for the background, you will need a selection of fabrics that range from light to dark. Only small amounts are required, however use at least 20 different fabrics for best results.

Tip: Try to collect as many fabrics as you can (minimum 20), the more the better. You may not use them all, but you will have the option to change and swap the fabrics around creating a better flow of color in the background. Remember, you do not want any fabric to ‘jump out’ at you.

Your fabrics for the background should be soft. Fabrics should not have lots of color change or busyness to them otherwise they will distract from the sunflowers.blue background fabrics from light to dark

green background fabrics from dark to light

applique fabrics for sunflowers and leavesBackground fabrics should be soft and subtle as shown above while the applique shapes should be bright and robust, but remember to use a few pale yellow fabrics in the petals to capture the morning sunlight.

Use a variety of yellow and gold fabrics for the petals.

The greens used for the leaves and stems should stand out well against the background.

When selecting fabrics, try to avoid fabrics that have colors of high contrast. That is, fabrics that have dark and light contrast or different colors, say red and green. Fabrics should be colors of low contrast, in other words, similar colors and shades.

non suitable fabrics for background

non suitable fabrics for background

I hope this helps you select the right fabrics for this or any other color wash quilt you are making. Of course, join my Sunflowers at Dawn class for a whole lot more tips on putting your color wash and applique quilt together. See you there!


About Sunflowers At Dawn: In the first lesson, you select your fabrics and piece the background together including borders to create a window frame effect. In lesson two, you learn how to make bias binding stems for your sunflowers, discover fusible webbing and how to use it correctly, cut and adhere sunflower appliques with ease and learn the art of blanket stitch applique. To finish up, in lesson three you add some shading effects to your stems, discover free-motion techniques and echo quilting, then add hanging tabs and label to complete the project. This is a fun class and one of Ruth's most popular pattern sellers. Read more...

quilting classes available at the Academy of Quilting


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