How to Use a Curated Colour Palette - Ice Cream Soda Quilt

A wonderful way to learn about colour is to borrow a colour palette that someone else has made. You can do this by sticking to one fabric designer in a quilt, or finding a beautiful multi-coloured fabric and drawing prints from your stash that match, or you can find a beautiful palette that someone has created from a photo on Pinterest. For this Ice Cream Soda Quilt, I used a solids bundle from Then Came June, and I'm so happy with the result.

ice cream soda quilt

My Colour Comfort Zone

My comfort zone for colours in quilts is rich, warm, and scrappy. When I'm making quilts like this, I have a kind of internal compass guiding me for my colour choices. I have a very strong sense of the vibe I'm trying to create, and I find it easy to get there. It's where I feel most at home. 

Over the years, I've tended towards scrappy quilts more and more. I enjoy the challenge of matching a fabric collection to a quilt and making it look great, but often I would choose collections that after a while, I didn't actually enjoy working with. It was a fun idea, and fun in actuality for a while, but after a while, I would get decision overload, and I wasn't sure if the finished quilt was going to be worth it. Perhaps it's like overseas travel. It's different and new, and good for the occasional experience, but stay too long, and eventually you want your fully stocked kitchen back, so that you can make dinner without all the hurdles of staying somewhere foreign.

ice cream soda quilt
ice cream soda quilt

Building on a Colour Palette

I was really glad to not experience that kind of homesickness with this blue and green version of my Ice Cream Soda Quilt. I used Then Came June's Revive palette bundle which is a beautiful mix of solids and basics, and had appealed to me for a long time before I bought it. I then laid it out and dug through my stash for florals and other prints that fit inside the palette. I wanted to fill it out partly because I was a little concerned that I would get bored just working with solids, and partly because I loved the idea of these colours with some Rifle Paper Co florals. Most of the florals in the quilt are by Rifle Paper Co and I love how they shine amongst the stripes and solids. I decided to embrace the use of low volume prints in the blocks, rather than just leave them for the joining fabrics, and I love how they make the spread of colourful parts really POP!

ice cream soda quilt
ice cream soda quilt

Make the Colour Decisions Easy

To make the blocks, I used a method I use in most block quilts these days. I batched the blocks by rounds, choosing several prints for the stars first and stitching those, then choosing fabrics for the next round for all of them and then the next. I tend to do this for 10 or 20 blocks to check that I like how the colour spread is working out, and then I make the beginnings of the rest of the blocks and let them catch up. 

I love using this method, rather than making a block at a time, because it puts less pressure on each block to be amazing, and it stops me from worrying that I'm going to get to the end and the whole quilts is going to be too yellow. I'm thinking more about the quilt as a whole. There are some blocks that are just grey and white solids, and there are some that are a stunning mix of gingham and roses. But, all together, the quilt has the light, whimsical, springtime feel I was hoping for.

Ice cream soda quilt blocks in process
ice cream soda quilt top on ironing board

The Benefit of a Limited Palette

One of the things I love most about working with a limited palette or set collection of fabrics is that the boundaries placed on colour and print often make it easier to make decisions. I'm not making a choice for the next round from every print in my stash, but just the 40 or so that I've set aside for this quilt. I read once that the more choices we have, the less satisfied we are with any of them, and the more doubt we experience that we've made the right one. I enjoyed the peace that came from limited decision making, while still having a chance to discover good fabric combinations compared to a 2 or 3 print quilt.

ice cream soda quilt finished

Make your own beautiful Ice Cream Soda Quilt!

If you're new to EPP, and feel a little daunted by the smaller pieces and different fabric choices, using a small bundle that you can add your favourite prints to is a great way to create some comforting colour boundaries, while still making it your own. 

Buy your Ice Cream Soda Quilt bundle below!

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