Quilt Color Inspiration is Everywhere

Inspiration can be elusive at times and strike like lightning at others. When planning a quilting project, it is sometimes colors that inspire me or patterns that “jump out” from everyday surroundings.

During my recent stay in Steckborn, Switzerland – home of the BERNINA factory – interesting color stories were everywhere. From figurines in the holiday market to stunning shifts of color as the sun sets over the lake, each of these images provides a starting place for a unique quilt colorway.

Christmas toy figures in bright colors

beautiful colors in a sunset

If you struggle with color, give the following simple exercise a try:

Select an image that draws you in or appeals to you.

From your thread stash, pull out the 5-6 main colors that appears in the image.

Lay the thread spools on a white, grey or black background.


Which background is the most interesting or has the strongest visual pull? You’ve just selected your background fabric main color.

Is there a color within the grouping that seems to stand out or call for attention? Remove that color from the group.

Does this cause the rest of the assortment to lose impact? If so, put it back into the assortment. It should be included in the project, but only in small amounts and an accent color.

Does is improve the look of the assortment? Then eliminate it from your project palette. 

window display - red and green

golden holiday ornaments - hearts and nuts

This is a super-simple and effective way to evaluate your personal preferences, build a library of colorways, and experiment with unusual and/or often overlooked combinations. The figurines above have a whimsical and modern feel in part as a result of the colors mix, but not many of us would audition a red fabric next to lime green and mustard! Not every color mix will appeal to you, but every experiment will be successful as you build color confidence!

Warm wishes for a happy 2014!


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Jennifer Gigas VP Professional Products, BERNINA of America


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