Bella Bellas!

The fabrics and the designer-types who picked the colors for these delicious bundles.


Continue reading

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Three weeks…

Twenty-two days.  That’s how much time there is between now – today – and Fall Quilt Market in Houston.

That means new fabric to fondle and ogle, catalogs to prepare, write-ups to write, quilts to make and patterns to write – basically, there’s plenty of “stuff” to do.

So I’m trying to catch up on a few things I’ve meant to share and keep forgetting about.


Continue reading

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Making Piece…

I’ve never been very good with schedules and plans.  There are a dozen reasons for it and I think most of them boil down to being a bit impulsive, meaning it’s a one-size-fits-all explanation that actually fits.

So the plan for today was to finish up with the Favorite Finds but I pretty much did that last week.  Since I didn’t really have a “plan B”, why don’t we have some fun with the new catalog – the Summer 2015 Moda Piece – Issue No. 14.

Summer 2015 Catalog

This catalog was finished just a few weeks ago and the Pre-Market catalog is nearing it’s deadline.  As soon as it’s done, the Market catalog looms.  Which means quilt designs and pattern notes and sewing and… I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s get back to the Summer catalog.

This is one of the few catalogs that isn’t actually printed, it’s only available online.  But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still chock-full of all sorts of really cool stuff – like the Moda Matchmaker.  It will make matching Bella Solids so much easier…


This method is a bit drastic.  And irreversible.  (But I have earned the distinction of having the most “trashed” Bella color card in the office – and in just seven months.)


It’s a bigger, better, easier-to-use swatch-deck, swatch-card, color palette for Bella Solids.  The one pictured is our mock-up, the real one will have all 2,083 colors of Bella Solid.  (There aren’t really that many but I couldn’t exactly use my color card to count.)  The best part is that it will come apart so that the swatches are loose.  But because they’re numbered, it will be easy to put it all back together.

I think I’m going to need two.  One to have sitting pretty on the shelf and one to take apart and actually use.

There are lots of beautiful new collections included in the catalog, these are showing to shops now and will be available late this Fall.


First Crush by Sweetwater30s Playtime 2015 by Chloe’s ClosetOld Cambridge Pike by Barbara BrackmanBasic Mixologie by Studio MDogwood Trail II by Sentimental StudiosHyde Park by Blackbird DesignsPetite Prints Deux by French General.


That’s better.  And don’t you love the new twill tape for the pre-cuts?  It’s been in the works for quite some time but it’s taken this long for it to actually start showing up on the pre-cuts.

Timing.  It’s been one of the oddest things to get used to here, everything we’re working on today won’t be shown for several months.  And it won’t be in shops for several months after that.  For example, back in January, I took pictures of the artwork sent in by Sandy Gervais.  That artwork became Sweetness, a collection debuting in this catalog, a collection that won’t be in stores until November.  (And when it’s ready to ship, we’ll share the process of how that artwork became fabric.

I’d show you the fabric for that but we haven’t received the pre-cuts yet.  Some arrive early, others arrive… when they arrive.  Try planning and scheduling around that – especially when samples are required.


We’ve had the Petite Prints Deux just long enough for Tammy to make this Petite Bateau quilt top for French General.

And for my buddy Judy to make this Catch-All Caddy with Basic Mixologie.


Other collections coming are:

  • Texas Proud and Sundance Trail by Sara Khammash ~ two terrific collections of Sara’s artwork, one is everything-Texas and the other is everything-Western
  • Ever After by Deb Strain ~ a wonderful Valentine-Wedding-True Love kind of collection with hearts, text prints and panels in white, pink, red, gray and black.
  • Cozy Cottage Flannels by Kansas Troubles ~ the wonderful colors and prints you know from Lynne, this time done in a soft, yummy flannel fabric.
  • Bella Solids – 28 new colors


I don’t know what we’re doing with this but I think we need to do something… these are the new colors of Grunge by Basic Grey.  Did you know that these prints can also be used as a solid?  I didn’t – not until Susan mentioned that she knows several ladies who do that.  I think this stack just might have to follow me home so I can do a little experimenting.

And you wonder why I have problems following a plan?  Or staying on a schedule?

Distractions.  They’re related to that whole “impulsive” thing.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn


It’s okay.  I’m used to it – and I really do understand.

Since I spend a good part of my work day surrounded by fabric and thinking about quilts, it stands to reason that you’d think I’m mostly playing.  I have to confess that today was one of those days as I was trying out – it sounds better than “playing” – with a new diversion.  (That sounds better than “toy.”)

At the top of the page, right under Cutting Table, do you see where it says Palette Builder?  .


It’s a link to a really cool widget – a palette builder.  What makes this one so great is that it’s color-coded to Moda Bella Solids – almost 300 of them!  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Color palettes are everywhere – if you’ve ever been on Pinterest, you’ve seen them by Design-Seeds, Color Palettes and others.


They’re pretty and they’re useful for decorating schemes – and maybe perhaps for finding or jump-starting a color scheme for a quilt.

But what if you want to make a quilt to go with a particular something – a Moda fabric, a piece of vintage or home dec fabric, your kid’s artwork or your grandmother’s hand-painted vase?  That’s where Palette Builder by Play Crafts is genius – and so much fun.  You wanted to be able to find the Bella Solids to go with your fabrics?  Here’s a great starting point.

The first thing to do is take a picture of your fabric – or whatever it is that you’d like to “match”.

Any kind of camera will work – cellphone, tablet, 35mm or point-and-shoots.  But – there’s a caveat.  The better your picture – the more accurate the colors and lighting, the better your results will be.  “Natural light” is best so long as there aren’t any shadows or glare.  And pay attention to what kind of background your fabric has as it can affect the exposure of the camera, thereby altering the accuracy of the color in the image – a light or white background for the fabric or item is usually best.  And no filters!

Upload your image – this is a picture of a fabric from the “coming soon” Aloha Girl collection by Fig Tree Quilts.  And voila!

Aloha Girl - Palette 1

Look closely at the image of the fabric – you should see six small white circles.  Each circle is focusing on a single color – it’s highlighting the color under that  specific point on the fabric.

Now look what happens to the palette when I move those circles…

Aloha Girl - Palette 2

Move the little circles and the colors change – as do the “corresponding” Bella Solids.

What this means is that if you’re trying to “match” colors in your fabric, you’re going to have to use the Palette Builder and a Bella Solids color card to find the best Bella solids for your purpose.

This is how the Bella Solids in the two palettes actually look with the Aloha Girl fabric.  (There are only five fabrics in the palette on the left because the Night Sky blue on the right is in both palettes.)

From the first palette, I like the Cobalt, Light Lime and Peach.  The Flax and Kansas Red… not so much.  In the second palette, I like the Geranium but it’s also a bit bright.  The Chartreuse, Canary, Pink and Snow are all good but I’m not completely sold on the Night Sky – it would depend on my pattern and what I needed this color for.  As for the Snow, it works but with very few exceptions, No. 60 Ivory always works best with Fig Tree fabrics.


Because the colors can vary based on the location of a dot – and the accuracy of the image – this really is a starting point.  It’s a good one but it’s not perfect.  So it’s a terrific tool to help build a color palette of complementary colors, and to help find good coordinating colors for Bella Solids.

Did I mention that the Palette Builder can also match your fabric to colors of Aurifil thread?


There are several things I think important to keep in mind as you start using Palette Builder:

  • While you can take the photos with your cellphone or tablet, moving the little circles works best on a desktop/laptop computer.
  • The palette can be saved to your computer.  Depending on your browser and settings, the file will either download into a default directory – probably Downloads – or open a file browser to let you choose where to save the image.
  • When I saved the palette, it saved it as a PNG. file.  I converted the files to JPEGs in Photoshop because that usually works best for blogging.
  • The saved palette will not show the little white dots – I used a screen-shot/snip to save these images/palettes because I wanted to be able to show you how moving the dots would change the palette.
  • When you save the palette, double-check the image to make sure the entire number is included.  On the image below, the last part of the number for Bella Solids Deep Burgundy had been cropped by Palette Builder.

It’s also fun to play with.

Roses-Palette Builder Snip



For more information about Palette Builder, I recommend visiting the Play Crafts website.  There are patterns, tutorials and other interesting, informative stuff.  You can have fun playing.

Me?  I’m off to take more pictures.

And work.  Right.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn